By MIKE MASTOVICH
The Johnstown Chiefs return from the all-star break rested, but short on bodies.
ECHL All-Star Game starting goaltender Jonathan Boutin was recalled by the AHL’s Springfield Falcons soon after stopping eight of 10 shots Wednesday night in Fresno, Calif.
With defensemen Gerard Dicaire and Mike Egener already in Springfield, as well as forward Adam Henrich, the Chiefs roster has thinned considerably. Defenseman Brady Greco will undergo shoulder surgery and miss the rest of the season, Chiefs coach Frank Anzalone said Thursday.
The Chiefs visit last-place Dayton tonight and first-place Wheeling on Saturday.
Anzalone spent most of Thursday working the phones. Chiefs GM Toby O’Brien was participating in meetings in Tampa with the NHL’s Lightning.
“Springfield is making a trade. They’re trading one of their goalies and they’re short,” Anzalone said. “We’re desperately looking for a guy to back up in Dayton. We have only 14 players right now.”
Complicating matters is that Anzalone doesn’t expect many players to return anytime soon.
“They’re not coming back. Those guys are gone. They’re not call-ups. They’re up-ups,” Anzalone said. “We think Brandon Elliott will play (tonight), but that doesn’t help us on defense.”
Johnstown defenseman Doug Andress was recalled to Omaha in the AHLearlier this week, further depleting the defensive corps.
Boutin was 8-9-2 with a 2.93 goals against average and .920 save percentage with the Chiefs.
In two games with the Falcons this year, Boutin had a 1.93 goals against average with a .945 save percentage.
On Nov. 5 in Hershey, Boutin recorded 50 saves against the Bears, the second highest single-game saves by a Falcons goaltender.
“This is a great opportunity for Boutin,” Anzalone said. “From that end of it, he’s another player that Tampa feels is ready to go. As far as that part goes, we’re doing our job. But we’ve got to keep our heads above water right now. That’s our ambition.”
Mike Mastovich can be reached at 532-5083 or firstname.lastname@example.org.