By Ryan McCracken on October 11, 2018.
The Medicine Hat Tigers were missing an imposing presence from their lineup over the weekend with Bryan Lockner nursing a lower-body injury, but it won’t keep the 6-foot-3, 193-pound power forward out for long.
Lockner suffered the injury on an awkward hit during Friday’s 3-2 shootout win over the Spokane Chiefs, but says he could be ready to return as early as Friday’s home game against the Prince George Cougars.
“I kind of got hip-checked down low and kind of tweaked something down there. It hasn’t been real strong so I’ve been doing a little recovery here and there, getting it better,” said Lockner. “It’s nothing major so I think it’ll be good by Friday.”
While he suffered the injury in Friday’s win, Lockner still managed to complete the game while contributing with his third goal of the season to help Medicine Hat break a five-game losing spell. The Tigers went on to split the next two games with a shutout win over the Tri-City Americans and a shutout loss to the Kootenay Ice, but Lockner says the skid-snapping victory sparked a positive shift in mentality.
“That was a huge game,” Lockner said of the win over Spokane. “Obviously they’re an elite team and coming into it we knew that. I think we played extremely well to get that win and it kind of fell over into Tri-City. Kootenay was a little bit of a slump, we weren’t playing our best, but I think we turned around here Friday with those wins on the road —they were huge.”
Tigers assistant coach Joe Frazer says the team has been sorely missing Lockner’s presence in front of opposing goaltenders over the past few games, as well as his role as a leader in the room. Despite being just 18 years old, Frazer says Lockner sports the attitude of a veteran.
“He’s kind of a throwback. He’s only 18 but he acts like he’s 30. He brings that older brother presence to the room. He’s been outstanding,” said Frazer. “He brings great leadership. He’s one of the harder players we have, he’s physical and he’s good in front of the net. We definitely miss that net-front presence when he’s out of the lineup.”
The Tigers (3-5-0-1) and Cougars (2-4-0-1) hit the ice at the Canalta Centre Friday for a 7:30 p.m. start.
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