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— Hockey players have a well-earned reputation for playing with pain.
Ryan Donato demonstrated that yet again last week when a puck in the mouth during a Providence Bruins practice cost him five teeth and 27 stitches. He didn’t miss a beat, finishing practice before heading off for a five-hour stint in the dentist’s chair, then playing 24 hours later in Hartford.
And then there is junior Spenser Young of Providence College, one of the top defensemen in Hockey East. He’s been toughing it out through practices and games for the last week while passing a kidney stone.
His ordeal started when he woke up with excruciating pain in his side at 4 a.m. on Thanksgiving in the team’s hotel in Denver.
“I was on the floor. Worst pain I’ve ever had. I’d always thought that my shoulder (popping out was), but this was 10 times worse. It was insane,″ Young said before PC’s practice on Thursday afternoon.
He waited over 30 minutes hoping the pain would subside before finally calling team athletic trainer Stephen Basiel, who took him to a hospital.
“I had two nurses and a woman doctor. At first sight, they said you have a kidney stone. They were all, ’This is exactly what it felt like to have my first kid,‴ Young said. X-rays revealed a six-millimeter stone above Young’s bladder.
He was given pain medication and was able to have Thanksiving dinner with his teammates at the home of goalie Hayden Hawkey not far from Denver. “I kind of stayed stationary the whole time,″ Young said.
The next day he played in PC’s 3-1 loss to seventh-ranked Denver, as well as the 4-4 tie on Saturday.
Not a big deal, according to Young.
“It was kind of a dull pain near the kidney (on Friday). It was really more sore at the beginning. With the altitude and the adrenalin, I was more focused on my breathing. By the second or third period, I wasn’t really focused on (the kidney stone), but definitely in the first it was pretty sore,″ he said.
“Played all weekend with it. How tough is that kid?″ coach Nate Leaman said in admiration.
Back at school, Young thought he was out of the woods until mid-week.
“I was fine Monday-Tuesday and then I woke up (Wednesday) with really bad pain below the belt. Didn’t really know what it was because I thought I’d passed (the kidney stone). So I’ve been drinking a lot of fluids and trying to get rid of it,″ he said.
The Friars have a home and home with New Hampshire Friday and Saturday. No matter what, Young will be good to go.
“It’s not going to keep me out,″ he said.
— The lows were low and the highs were high during the rollercoaster ride that was the first quarter of the American Hockey League season for the Providence Bruins.
Coach Jay Leach couldn’t help but crack a smile the other day when asked to sum up what he and his young team had been through in the first 19 games of their 76-game schedule.
“We were .500 (0-0-0) to start the season. It took us seven weeks to get back here,″ he said. “It’s been a wild ride.″
The P-Bruins’ record is 8-8-3, which isn’t half bad, all things considered. They won just one of their first six games, but they are 5-1-2 in their last eight after sweeping Lehigh Valley and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on the road last weekend.
Besides being hit with injuries of their own, Providence has lost key players to the Boston Bruins, who have been crushed by injuries to Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara and others. Six P-Bruins players are currently on recall with the parent club.
That’s left Providence with a paper-thin lineup at times. When the North Division-leading Rochester Americans came to town a couple of weekends ago, Leach had no choice but to go with a defense corps of four callups from the ECHL, one first-year pro and one second-year pro. The P-Bruins won on an overtime goal by Donato, who was recalled by Boston on Wednesday. That was one of the highs.
“Lots of comings and goings. I’m encouraged, for the most part, by the play of the team, with all the holes we’ve had,″ Leach said. “We’re also encouraged by a lot of our younger players’ production and with the opportunities they’ve been given up top, as well.″
Goaltending has been a sore spot. Dan Vladar has a save percentage of .893 and Zane McIntyre is at .858. Not good.
“I’m sure they both would like their save percentages to be a lot higher and (their goals-against averages) to be lower, but it is the hardest position and they’re battling through it. Both goalies have had histories of being successful, so the only thing we can really rest on is that they’ll find their way,″ Leach said.
For all the strides the P-Bruins have made recently, it won’t get any easier.
“I’d like to tell you we’re out of the weeds, but we’re not. It’s going to be a complete battle. All these teams — starting with (Charlotte and Bridgeport) this weekend — they’re really good. Every night is going to be a real challenge for us, but you could argue that’s pretty good for a lot of our kids to go through, learn how to win under tough situations,″ Leach said.
Click here to view original web page at Mark Divver: Pain can’t stop PC’s Young; assessing P-Bruins’ first quarter