News not the greatest coming out of Leafville
News from the Good Ship Leaf is not good as the Heritage City franchise continues to fight the injury bug heading into the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League stretch run.
“Unfortunately, we’re not getting any healthier,” said Leaf coach Dave McLellan on the eve of Friday’s 7 p.m. home game against the Creston Valley Thunder Cats at the NDCC Arena.
“And that hurts has in many areas of our game — power play, penalty killing . . .,” McLellan added.
“Hopefully we get them back in a week or two.”
What has been frustrating for the Leaf coaching staff is when one player returns, another goes on the injury list.
“Our original goal was to be up and running and ready for the playoffs,” McLellan confessed.
“But right now it’s hard to assess that when we don’t have our set power play units in place or set concepts because everyone is moving around playing in different roles.”
Who’s in and who’s out? Good Question
On the positive side, McLellan did see the return of defenceman Patrick Croome and forward Blair Andrews during last weekend’s East Kootenay road trip.
However, both players had some considerable rust with their game.
“We had (Patrick) Croome back in the lineup, but he played like he’d been out of the lineup for two months,” said McLellan.
McLellan said forward Dylan Williamson may see limited action this weekend after recovering from a hand injury as well Michael Crawford, who left the team, is now back with the Leafs.
Nelson’s second leading scorer, Matt MacDonald, remains out of the lineup.
MacDonald was definitely missed last weekend as Nelson scored one goal in two games.
Help from the Kootenay Ice
McLellan said defenceman Aigne McGready-Bruce should be in the lineup to bolster the Leafs this weekend as his Ice team is idle in the BC Hockey Major Midget League.
McLellan said he also hopes to give Ice netminder Jason Mailhoit some action before the regular season ends.
Hawks on horizon
Nelson, playing in Spokane Saturday, has a mid-week contest next week as Beaver Valley pays a visit to the NDCC Arena.
The Hawks, holding a nine-point lead on the third-place Leafs in Murdoch standings, are winners of three straight entering weekend action.