Team recovers from multiple injuries


Drew Richter, Luke Forfar and Stephen Quinn celebrate a goal against Robert Morris at the Ice Arena on Nov. 2. The Illini shut out the team 6-0.

By Jared Farmer, Staff writer

The injury bug has hit the Illini club hockey team.

“It’s pretty tough. We haven’t been able to field a full roster for most of the season,” said head coach Nick Fabbrini. “We’ve had guys out who are key contributors out with injuries. They happen all the time in hockey, so we certainly don’t want to use injuries as an excuse, but it’s tough when you don’t have guys available to consistently count on due to injuries.”

Most of the Illini have had to sit out for long periods of time due to injury. But most recently, Jon Moskaluk went down in Illinois’ game against Robert Morris and is not expected to play this weekend against University of Nebraska, Las Vegas, and Rhode Island.

“It sucks,” said senior Mike Turek. “Having to watch all the guys from the stands was a little bit of a process, but I’m glad to be back and hopefully remain healthy for the rest of the year.”

Turek has been out with a broken elbow since the first game of the season.

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    While several players have been in and out of the lineup, the team has made use of more unique lineups. A lot of forwards on the team have adapted to play the center and wing positions.

    “If anything, I think it speeds along the gelling process,” Fabbrini said. “Guys who may not have played as big of a role early into the season were thrust into those situations. We’ve had to learn and adjust on the fly, and I think for the most part, we’ve done a pretty good job.”

    The ensuing fatigue of playing extra minutes showed, especially in their match against one of the best teams in the ACHA: Lindenwood. The Illini have made it a priority to hold one another accountable and make sure everyone is in good shape.

    “Again, we’re not looking at injuries as an excuse. If anything, it’s going to prepare us during the stretch run,” Fabbrini said. “It’s tested our depth, and it’s helped us learn about ourselves early in the season, which is a good thing.”

    For Turek and the other injured Illini who missed game action, it’s been a process. Being forced to watch from the sidelines as they recover has been hard, but it’s just as hard to come back and get into shape.

    “I started practicing a couple weeks ago before last weekend’s match, so I feel like by the time I started playing, I was most of the way back,” Turek said. “But it’s still an ongoing process of trying to get back to that 100 percent. It’s gone well for me, and same thing goes with a couple of the other guys. It takes a while to get back, and you can’t just get back into the game flow right away, but it’s coming.”

    But there are silver linings, and for the Illini, it’s been about succeeding while missing pieces get healthier. Regardless of the opponent, Fabbrini believes the team knows how it needs to play to win night in and night out. He also said some of the injury troubles will allow for more competition in practice, forcing everyone to be ready to check into the game at any time.

    The weekend’s series marked the first game since the season opener the team had a full lineup dressed and ready to play. This doesn’t guarantee complete health, but the Illini are confident the plague of injuries are over, and the team is ready to move forward.

    “We get into a groove when everyone’s healthy, so injuries, that really messes up our rhythm,” Turek said. “It’s nice that we have guys on our team that can fill in their roles, but when we have everyone healthy, that’s when we play our best. As we start getting back together, we should be able get back to the level we know we can play at.”

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