As captain Colton Sissons makes his long-awaited return to the lineup this weekend, the Kelowna Rockets are optimistic injuries to a pair of defenceman will have only short-term consequences.
Rearguards Myles Bell and Madison Bowey were both hurt during Wednesday night’s WHL game at Prospera Place against Everett and didn’t return.
Bell suffered a leg injury after crashing into the boards on a check in the first period, while Bowey injured his shoulder after being hit by Everett’s Cody Fowlie—which resulted in a charging penalty—in the second period.
Head coach Ryan Huska expects both players to be back in the not-too-distant future.
“We think they’re going to be OK, they’re day-to-day right now,” said Huska. “Both of them are already feeling better today (Thursday) than they were, so that’s a good sign. Hopefully they’re both good-to-go for the playoffs.”
The club is already without veteran Mitchell Chapman who will be sidelined until playoff time with an upper-body injury.
With their defensive corps depleted on Wednesday against the ‘Tips, Tanner Moar dropped back to assist the other four remaining blue liners and, as a group, drew praise for their effort from the head coach.
“I thought the guys did a great job under the circumstances,” said Huska, whose club ended a two-game slide wih a 4-2 win. “Our defense has been one part of our club that continues to get better.”
Until the Rockets get some bodies back, 2011 bantam draft pick Riley Stadel will be available to log some minutes on the back end. The Surrey native played defense this season at Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton.
Meanwhile, Sissons, out since Feb. 11 with concussion-like symptoms, is expected to play Friday night in Vancouver against the Giants.
The Rockets will close out the regular season at home to Vancouver on Saturday night.
Kelowna will meet either Tri-City or Portland in the opening round of the playoffs