It’s a week Madison Bowey would like to forget. After spending Christmas back home with his family in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the 21-year-old defenseman had issues getting back to Central Pennsylvania with flight issues preventing his return in time for a game against Lehigh Valley on December 26. “Definitely not the way I wanted to start my second half,” said Bowey after Bears practice Wednesday. “I was geared up and ready to go for the Syracuse game, but getting injured there on my third shift was pretty tough.”
Despite wearing kevlar socks and a bunga pad, Syracuse Crunch defenseman Luke Witkowski’s skate sliced the front tendon on Bowey’s left leg in a freak accident. While an injury like that could cause a player to focus more on skate blades, it’s not something Bowey is too worried about. “When I’m playing I’m not thinking about it. I know watching games – past games and games on TV – you notice more skates now and how close they can get to flesh and could cause an injury. But if you’re playing, you can’t really think about it.”
Sitting up above the crowd instead of playing is tough for any player, but when their team is also losing, it’s even tougher knowing there’s nothing you can do to help. That was a situation Bowey was in as Hershey would go on a 10-game skid to start 2017. “You see the moral in the room is a little down, the focus is there but things aren’t happening. It’s tougher to see the guys go into that struggle, but we have a great group in there.
“Getting Tom Gilbert really helped and the boys bounced back. Once we got Tom, it got some confidence in the back end, and I know the guys just went from there.”
The ball is now in Bowey’s court on when he feels ready to jump back into the line-up. “Unfortunately we lost [Tuesday’s practice] with the storm,” head coach Troy Mann said, “and we were trying to get him three full-contact practices and re-evaluate Thursday. It’s in his hands right now in terms of: does he feel ready to play? If he thinks he’s ready to go, he will play this weekend.”
While Bowey won’t play all three of Hershey’s three-in-three this weekend if he’s ready to go, there’s still some excitement in returning to the line-up finally. “I really want to come in and help out the team as much as I can. If that’s being steady defensively and also producing offense, I think we should be good here and hopefully I can help the team out in a good playoff run.”