The Kootenay Ice are benefitting from the return of rookies Collin Shirley and Luke Philp, who are back in the lineup after recovering from injuries.
Shirley, who’s been back for the last four games, sustained an upper-body injury and missed five games, while Philp had appendicitis and needed surgery.
Shirley and Philp each added a goal and an assist to their stats sheets this past weekend during the series with the Brandon Wheat Kings.
Phip is the rookie points leader on the team, with eight, and Shirley is one behind, however, the latter is the Ice’s third-leading goal scorer.
Shirley missed his five-game stretch to make sure his injury symptoms went away before making a return to the ice.
“It was good to take the time I needed to be 100 per cent to get back,” Shirley said. “I think that’s really important because I feel really good now and it’s good to be back.”
He’s been productive and dangerous, spending some time on first line with Sam Reinhart and Brock Montgomery. Shirley scored in the first period on Friday, and assisted Reinhart’s second goal on Saturday.
Philp was a force out on the ice as well, assisting Kyle O’Connor’s goal in the first game, before scoring one of his own in the second.
The young 17-year-old was out for three weeks after having his appendix surgically removed.
He said he woke up in the middle of the night with bad stomach cramps after playing the Swift Current Broncos near the end of October.
“I couldn’t go back to sleep so I went to the hospital and they said I had appendicitis,” said Philp. “They did surgery that day so it all happened pretty quick.”
He missed five games before returning for the weekend series against Brandon.
“I’m feeling better every shift, almost, and I felt good,” said Philp, after Saturday’s 4-0 victory. “I had about a week of working out, so I feel good out there.”
First period leads were the key to both wins, according to Philp.
“Yesterday [Friday] we didn’t have too great of a third, but our first and second [periods] made up for it,” Philp said. “It’s nice to come out and get a good start because that builds your confidence for the rest of the game.
“It’s nicer playing with the lead rather than chasing the whole game.”
Though Shirley and Philp have just made it off the injury list, other players have put themselves on it.
Brock Montgomery and Spencer Wand will be out of the lineup for a week or two with upper body injures.