Patience is a virtue, one Colorado College junior Trey Bradley is all too familiar with.
“He doesn’t give up easy, and he’s persevered through a lot of pain, and also just the lows of life,” Tigers co-captain Tanner Ockey said.
Bradley broke his collarbone seven games into the 2016-17 regular season. He said he came off the ice after the hit and a team doctor told him the injury was “as bad as it gets.” For months, the sophomore watched from the stands a team that needed his hard-nosed play.
“You want to be out there so bad,” Bradley said. “It makes you appreciate the game and every time you get to go out there.”
He made his long-awaited return in late January, but it immediately became clear the injury hadn’t healed properly. He was pulled from the lineup and missed the rest of the season.
“He doesn’t actually show his personal emotions as much as the other guys do. But it did have a toll on him last year,” Ockey said. “But it also put some more sticks in the fire for the summer and he trained hard so he could protect himself a little more this year.”
Bradley contributed in his first series back, scoring the third Tigers goal in a 4-3 win at Vermont last weekend with a hard shot from the right circle. It was the only time Colorado College connected on the power play that weekend, and it helped secure a series split.
Bradley also set up Westin Michaud for the night’s first goal.
“I look at it as, it’s like getting a whole new player we didn’t have last year,” coach Mike Haviland said.
The Tigers will need Bradley’s ferocity and his scoring touch - he is second on the team in career goals, assists and points (10g, 14a,) in spite of the nearly lost season - as they play their first home series Friday and Saturday at The Broadmoor World Arena, taking on Alaska-Anchorage.
The Seawolves gave then-No. 7 North Dakota all it could handle last weekend, skating to a 1-1 tie and a 3-2 loss in overtime. Senior goaltender Olivier Mantha made 74 saves against North Dakota and was named the Western Collegiate Hockey Association’s Goalie of the Week.
“They're a good team. They play a very structured game, and they've got a real good goaltender,” Haviland said. “We have to be disciplined, and be good on the power play.”
The power play will benefit from a new, old player. Bradley is listed as six pounds heavier, and he’s ready to make up for lost time.
“He’s not the heaviest guy, but he knocks guys over in the corner, in the slot, he’s in the dirty places,” Ockey said. “We need more of that on the team.”
Air Force (1-0-1) will host independent Arizona State in its first home series of the season Friday and Saturday nights at Cadet Ice Arena. The teams split a two-game series in Arizona last October.
Matt Koch and Brady Tomlak paced the Falcons with two points each in their season-opening series at Alaska-Fairbanks last weekend while Billy Christopoulos settled into the starting goaltender role (1.44 GAA, .950 save percentage).