The team knew it would open the 2012 campaign without junior midfielder Lucas Flaig (24 goals and five assists in 2011) and sophomore defenseman Zach Burkhardt (27 groundballs and 19 caused turnovers in 2011) due to hip and foot surgeries, respectively.
Asked if he felt like the team was snakebitten, coach Tommy Pearce replied, “It’s hard to think otherwise. You think a couple of injuries are going to happen, but then other than that, we had two freshmen tear their ACLs and another freshman tear his labrum in his shoulder. I don’t know how much those guys would have helped without those injuries because we didn’t really get to see. We lost some starters, but we also lost some guys that might have gotten a chance to play because of those injuries. We had another freshman attackman who probably would have backed up Ryan Serio because he’s a pretty good lefty, but he had lower back muscle strains. So we definitely felt a little snakebitten by injuries, but there were a lot of games that we still felt like we could’ve won and didn’t.”
Still, Pearce tried to downplay the spate of injuries and focused on the benefit of giving some players some much-needed playing time and experience.
“I don’t want to lean on injuries as a crutch because at the end of the day, every team in the country has a few injuries,” he said. “I don’t know if they had as many as we did, but you’ve got to be able to overcome those with what you have on the bench. But we’re excited. The added experience that those guys got because they had to, the guys that we have coming back, and we have a good recruiting class that we’re really excited about. So we think now that if we get a couple injuries in the next season, we feel a little bit better about being able to deal with them with what we have on our roster.”