One reason for optimism in the preseason for McDaniel was the return of four of the team’s top six scorers. For now, however, the leader of that pack is shelved for an extended period of time.
Sophomore midfielder Jason Lawrence, a Fallston graduate who led the offense in both assists (20) and points (38) in 2013, suffered a broken rib the day before the team’s eventual 13-7 loss to No. 18 York on March 1 and has sat out the past three games. Coach Matt Hatton said last week that Lawrence could return for Saturday’s home contest against Ferrum (1-6), but there is still a high degree of uncertainty.
“There is a chance he could be healthy and released to play Saturday, but at the same time, that’s a situation where we cannot afford to rush that prematurely and get him in any more trouble than he already is,” Hatton said. “I think we’ll know by Friday. He’s going back to the doctor on Thursday to look at some things, but we’re not going to rush to get him back out there until we know for sure that it’s not going to compound the issues that he already has.”
This is the second year in a row that an attackman for the Green Terror (2-3) has sustained broken ribs. Pat Bivons suffered two broken ribs in the fifth game of 2013 as a sophomore, but finished with 21 goals and 16 assists.
Like Bivons, Lawrence could wear a protective pad to shield the rib, but Hatton said it is not an absolute remedy.
“I think it’s a different rib,” Hatton said. “It’s lower, and they’re more concerned that if he took a hit even with the pad, it could really get worse. That’s certainly a possibility, but until they say that he’s at a point where he’s not in jeopardy of getting it worse, I’m not really that worried about the pad. The doctor won’t release him until he knows that it’s not going to compound the issue. He’s progressing along with the things that he can do. He’s running and stuff like that and he’s running with no pain. So we’re hoping that we have some positive news about him.”
Freshman Troy Becker has filled in for Lawrence and recorded three goals and one assist in a pair of McDaniel wins last week. Becker is not the only rookie assuming a starting role as freshmen Will Kroppe and Alex Hanna (Arundel) are starting defenseman and Zach Bicho is the primary faceoff specialist (65.7 percent on 44-of-67 and 25 ground balls).
While Hatton would prefer to have veterans at his disposal, he said the baptism by fire for the freshmen could benefit the team in the long run.
“We’re relatively young, and I think that’s probably what a lot of people deal with now,” he said. “But our young guys are getting better, and they’re talented. So we’re happy about that, and we’re happy that we have them, that’s for sure.”