It’s been more than a month since Eric Comrie stopped a puck for the Tri-City Americans.
The starting goaltender at the beginning of the season, Comrie was 20-14-1-2 in 37 games, with a 2.62 goals-against average, a .915 save percentage, and two shutouts before he was shelved for the season Jan. 18.
After two hip surgeries, Comrie, 17, is on the mend in his hometown of Newport Beach, Calif.
“I’m doing much better than before,” Comrie said in a telephone interview. “There’s a lot of rehab — 6 hours a day. The thing about rehab is you feel it every day. It’s easy to do and it feels so much better. I’m really happy with how it’s gone.”
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Comrie had minor surgery on his left hip Feb. 5 in Vail, Colo., then had the right side done six days later.
“I was walking within six days on my left with crutches,” Comrie said. “I’m still on crutches for the right side. My left side got better faster. The great thing is I do my rehab in the pool so I don’t have to put any weight on it. I have been doing jumps and running in the pool.”
At the time of his surgery, Comrie was the No. 2-ranked draft-eligible goaltender in North America in Central Scouting’s midseason rankings — tops in the Western Hockey League.
Comrie is expected to make a full recovery and return to the ice in 3 to 4 months.
But just because he can’t play doesn’t mean he hasn’t been keeping tabs on the Americans.
“I’ve been watching all the games,” he said. “It’s not as fun, you really miss it. I really miss all the guys. We are really a family there. You can tell by the way they are playing now. There is a special bond. You can’t describe how much it means until you are gone. I miss them so much I can’t even describe it. I hope I can come back when I can walk.”
When Comrie left, Luke Lee-Knight was in charge of the net with rotating backup goalies. Over the last two weeks, Troy Trombley has moved to the forefront and has won his first six starts.
“I met Troy before I left,” Comrie said. “He’s having a great year. He’s been playing unbelievable. He’s got something you can’t teach and that’s size. He is fun to watch.”
The Americans went through a bit of a slide when Comrie left, but at present they are on a six-game win streak and everyone is contributing.
“They are doing unbelievable,” Comrie said. “That has been great to watch. We have had a lot of injuries and we have been strong through all of it. (Justin) Feser has been absolutely unbelievable the last two weeks. Every time the game’s on the line he steps it up. (Jesse) Mychan complements that and goes to the net hard. He has a great hands and a good shot. It’s fun to see them battle. Give a lot of credit to (coaches) Jim (Hiller) and Dan (Price), they have been monumental in that success with how much confidence they have in us.”
NotesFeser was named CHL Player of the Week for Feb. 24 after recording 13 points in three games, including six goals and seven assists, along with a plus-7 rating. Feser ranks fifth in WHL scoring with 93 points. ... The Portland Winterhawks fell to second in this week’s CHL poll. The Halifax Mooseheads took over the top spot. The Edmonton Oil Kings came in at No. 4, while the Kelowna Rockets are fifth and the Kamloops Blazers 10th.