Days before the season began, Air Force coach Frank Serratore praised Colorado College junior Nick Halloran after a breakout sophomore season.
“Enjoy him this year, because it’s going to be his last year,” Serratore said to a luncheon crowd, presumably referring to Halloran’s professional ambitions.
Due to unfortunate circumstances, CC fans will likely get to watch him another year. The team announced Thursday that last year’s third-place conference points finisher will miss the rest of the season with a lower-body injury.
“I am excited to return to the team for my senior season and earn my degree from Colorado College,” the team relayed from Halloran on Twitter.
Haviland said the injury is unrelated to the torn labrum and bone spur Halloran had surgery on during the early offseason, and that the Draper, Utah, native had been fighting the injury “for a little bit.”
“Give him a lot of credit, he’s tried to fight though some things,” Haviland said. “Finally we had a chat about getting him into the doctor, and he came back with what nobody wanted to hear.”
Among other honors, Halloran was a first-team all-conference pick and a Hobey Baker nominee after registering 19 goals and 45 points as a sophomore. He was a 2018-19 preseason all-conference selection.
“It’s a huge hit. You’re talking about an All-American,” Haviland said. “He’s tough to replace but certainly you’ve got to have the ‘next man up’ mentality. Guys are going to have to take his minutes.”
Haviland pointed to seniors Trevor Gooch and Westin Michaud and junior Alex Berardinelli as players who have picked up the scoring mantle, with Halloran scoring less and now out.
The vacated role involves major minutes and a starring role on the power play. Chris Wilkie, in his first season with the Tigers after transferring from North Dakota, recently returned after missing 12 games with an upper-body concern, and his hard shot — and willingness to use it — will be welcome on the man advantage.
“Hopefully he can pick up the scoring,” Haviland said of Wilkie. “You’ve gotta look at everybody now. We have the guys who can do it.”
Haviland said he’d talked with Halloran about returning next season.
“He’ll come back and get his degree and have his senior year and start his career,” the coach said. “Let’s get him strong, healthy and 100 percent.”