By Nick Patterson Herald Writer
The Tri-City Americans have a long history of producing quality goaltenders. Their current No. 1, Eric Comrie, is considered perhaps the best young goaltender in the league.
However, the Americans are going to have to live without Comrie for the remainder of the season.
Comrie is slated to undergo season-ending hip surgery, throwing a monkey wrench not only into Comrie’s NHL draft stock, but also the Americans’ season.
“It sucks right now,” Comrie told the Tri-City Herald. “It is better to do it (surgery) while it is minor. The doctors say I will be more flexible, have better range of motion and be pain free.”
The 17-year-old Comrie is one of the league’s brightest prospects, being slated to follow in the footsteps of previous Tri-City goaltending standouts like Olaf Kolzig, Carey Price and Chet Pickard. He was ranked second among North American goaltenders in the NHL Central Scouting Service’s midterm rankings for this year’s NHL draft, and he’s been Tri-City’s workhorse in goal, going 20-14-1-2 with a 2.62 goals against average and .915 save percentage.
Comrie told the Tri-City Herald he’d been experiencing pain for a while, but that it intensified in November. He recently spent some time sidelined, then underwent an MRI on Jan. 14, which revealed damage. He will undergo surgery on Feb. 5, and the recovery is expected to last three-to-four months.
“This is a devastating blow to our team, but we will get through this,” Tri-City general manager Bob Tory told the Tri-City Herald. “We have to look after the athlete first and the team second. We have to do the right thing by him. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. I feel worse for Eric, it’s his draft year. He’s learning the ups and downs of sports at a young age.”
Despite the injury, Comrie’s draft stock is not expected to take too big a hit.
With Comrie out, the Americans will turn to 19-year-old Luke Lee-Knight, who joined the team in November. Eighteen-year-old Troy Trombley, who spent training camp and preseason with the Everett Silvertips, was called up to serve as the backup.
Around the WHL
Red Deer remains without star defenseman Mathew Dumba. Dumba made the season-opening roster for the NHL’s Minnesota Wild. He’s still expected to be returned to the Rebels after a brief stint with the Wild. All other WHLers who attended NHL training camps have been returned. The WHL’s two longest streaks came to an end over the weekend. Portland’s 14-game winning streak, which tied with Kamloops’ 14-gamer from earlier in the season, came to an end Friday in a 5-4 shootout loss to Lethbridge. Then Seattle’s 15-game losing streak ended Saturday with a 4-3 victory over Portland. Kelowna set a new franchise record for consecutive home victories when the Rockets beat Vancouver 5-3 Saturday for their 19th straight win at Prospera Place. Judy Seher was given the 2012-13 WHL Distinguished Service Award. Seher has been the Red Deer billet coordinator since the team began play in 1992. Victoria’s Alex Gogolev was named the WHL Player of the Week. The 20-year-old winger had three goals and nine assists as the Royals went 4-0.
Points — Nicolas Petan (Portland) 80; goals — Petan, Adam Lowry (Swift Current) 31; assists — Petan 49; penalty minutes — Carter Proft (Spokane) 140; wins — Jordon Cooke (Kelowna), Luke Siemens (Prince Albert), Chris Dreidger (Calgary) 25; goals against average — Tristan Jarry (Edmonton) 1.70; save percentage — Mac Carruth (Portland) .936.
Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.