Massachusetts hockey coach John Micheletto confirmed before practice on Tuesday that junior forward Troy Power is going to miss extensive time for a leg injury he suffered in Friday’s 1-0 loss to Northeastern after taking a knee-to-knee blow from the Huskies’ John Manson.
Power was seen wearing a full leg brace before practice Tuesday afternoon, which had his entire leg locked. The injury is suspected to involve the knee, although it is not expected to be season-ending.
“Troy will be out for a while,” Micheletto said.
Filling in for Power on the second line with Michael Pereira and Branden Gracel in Saturday’s 6-3 win at Northeastern was freshman forward K.J. Tiefenwerth, who responded with a goal and two assists in the win, earning him Hockey East Rookie of the Week honors.
Based on what he saw on Saturday, Micheletto plans on keeping Tiefenwerth out on the ice with Pereira and Gracel when the Minutemen host Colgate on Friday.
“I liked the way they played,” Micheletto said of the combination. “I think K.J. upped his tempo a little bit on the smaller rink surface. He was very good with that line and I thought they were effective as a unit, so I wouldn’t anticipate that we shake things up right now.”
While being promoted to the second line was a boost to Tiefenwerth’s confidence, it certainly didn’t hurt his game playing on the same line as Pereira, whom he was also linemates with at Avon Old Farms Prep School in Connecticut.
“I think we play well together, we know each other’s game,” Tiefenwerth said. “(Pereira’s) more of a shooter, I’m more of a passer, so we complement each other’s game well.”
Tiefenwerth expects to see more ice time with his old prep school teammate based on their success last time out.
“Last weekend I think we had a good performance,” he said. “So I think we’re gonna play together until the guys that are injured come back, or we don’t play our game, but I expect to play with him.”
Rowe, Mastalerz recovering
Power was not the only UMass player to leave the game with an injury during Friday’s loss.
Senior defenseman Darren Rowe left in the first period Friday night after suffering what appeared to be an upper body injury.
Micheletto called Rowe’s injury a combination of the neck, shoulder and back, and he has yet to practice, although his status for this weekend “is possible but not probable,” he said.
Rowe’s “been doing conditioning off the ice with (trainer Jeff) Smith,” Micheletto said. “We’ll continue to address his progress and availability for the weekend.”
Sophomore goaltender Steve Mastalerz, on the other hand, was spotted out on the ice before practice on Tuesday doing some individual light stretching and Micheletto said he’s working his way back to full recovery from what is considered a lower body injury, although he’s uncertain of when that will be.
“He’s been hurt and on the shelf here, hasn’t practiced,” Micheletto said. “He skated with us for the first time (Monday) for the beginning part of practice. He’s been on the ice doing individual stuff and taking light shots on his own for several days proceeding that, so when he’s back to full-go I don’t know.”
Mastalerz hasn’t been in the lineup since Nov. 18 when the Minutemen lost to UMass Lowell 8-2, which is when he was believed to have suffered the injury.
Nick Canelas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter @NickCanelas.