Have no fear, the calvary is coming.
Short on defensemen because of injuries and tournament commitments, the Tri-City Americans are bringing in affiliate players Brendan O’Reilly, 16, and Jordan Davies, 17, to help fill the void.
“We can’t go with just four defensemen,” said Tri-City general manger Bob Tory of the additions. “We didn’t have a lot of options and we can’t risk anymore injuries.”
Tory said O’Reilly and Davies will arrive in the Tri-Cities on Dec. 26 and will play the maximum of six games before heading back home after the Jan. 7 game against Kamloops.
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“This is a huge step in my career,” O’Reilly said. “When Bob texted me, I told him of course I’d come.”
The Americans, who play at Seattle tonight, are closing in on 100 games lost to injuries. Defensemen Mitch Topping (arm) and Wil Tomchuk (wrist), and forward Parker Bowles (knee) have had surgery for their injuries and are expected back the end of January.
Defenseman Michal Plutnar is at the Czech Republic’s World Junior Camp. If he does not make his country’s team, he will return after Christmas with the rest of the Americans.
Tri-City also will be without forwards Ty Comrie (Team Pacific) and Braden Purtill (Team West), and defenseman Parker Wotherspoon (Team Pacific) when they play in the World U-17 Hockey Challenge from Dec. 29-Jan. 4 in Nova Scotia.
Purtill dropped back to play on the blue line the last eight games and has done an admirable job.
“To play that many minutes as a rookie is amazing,” Tory said. “We couldn’t ask much more of him.”
O’Reilly, from Southlake, Texas, played one exhibition game at the Everett Preseason Tournament, but has not played at Toyota Center.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” said O’Reilly, who classifies himself as a stay-at-home defenseman. “I liked Kennewick when I was there. It’s a great place.”
The 6-foot-3, 185-pound O’Reilly plays for the Dallas Stars Elite U16 team. In 19 games, he has two goals, 11 assists and 40 penalty minutes.
“He was at camp and had a good camp,” Tory said. “We signed him and he was the first player on our depth chart.”Davies, a 6-2, 195-pound native of Sherwood Park, Alberta, plays for the Whitecourt Wolverines of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. He was listed by the Americans two weeks ago.
In 32 games, Davies has four goals, eight assists and a team-high 121 penalty minutes.