By GREGG DRINNAN
Daily News Sports Editor
Austin Madaisky wasn’t aware how badly he was injured until he entered Royal Inland Hospital on Saturday morning.
The Kamloops Blazers defenceman had crumpled to the ice during a game the previous night and he was sore from the check, one that drove him back first into the boards at Interior Savings Centre.
Still, he never expected to be diagnosed with a fractured cervical vertebrae — a C-7 fracture — that has ended his season.
“Yeah, it’s over,” the 18-year-old Madaisky, who is from Surrey, said on Sunday. “It’s over.”
Madaisky admitted that hearing he had a fractured vertebrae was scary but that “you have to stay optimistic.”
As it turned out, his season ended when he was taken hard into the boards by Chilliwack Bruins defenceman Brandon Manning at 8:01 of the third period of what would be a 2-1 Kamloops victory. Manning was assessed a boarding major and game misconduct and has been suspended — length to be determined — by the WHL.
“I knew he was there,” said Madaisky of Manning, who had dumped the puck into the Kamloops zone and then raced in on the forecheck. “I didn’t know really exactly what he was going to do, whether he was going to try to hit me right away or rub me out. I just tried to kind of brace myself, I guess.
“It looked like we just got kind of tangled up and I got thrown backwards into the boards. I can’t even remember how I really went in.”
Madaisky, who had yet to watch a replay of the incident, said he doesn’t know what he could have done differently.
Earlier in that game, the Blazers had lost defenceman Brandon Underwood, a third-year player from Carlsbad, Calif., with a knee injury. He left at 3:30 of the first period, unable to put any weight on his left leg, and didn’t return. Underwood, 18, is believed to have suffered ligament damage and his season, too, may be over.
Thus, the Blazers had only five defencemen in the lineup Saturday when they dropped a 4-3 decision to the Bruins in Chilliwack.
Kamloops forward Bernhard Keil forged a 3-3 tie with his second goal of the season — his first came on Oct. 13 — at 2:30 of the third period. But the Bruins got the winner less than four minutes later when forward Brandon Magee beat goaltender Jeff Bosch for his eighth goal.
Ryan Howse scored twice for Chilliwack, giving him 35, and Roman Horak also scored in support of goaltender Lucas Gore, who turned aside 36 shots in posting his 20th victory of the season. Gore, who is from Kamloops, tied the single-season franchise record that he established last season.
The Blazers had taken a 2-0 lead into the second period on goals by Dylan Willick and Thomas Frazee.
The Blazers remain in sole possession of the 10-team Western Conferenceís eighth and final playoff spot, one point ahead of Chilliwack and two in front of the Seattle Thunderbirds.
Meanwhile, Madaisky expects to be fitted with an Aspen Cervical Collar today, after which he plans on flying home with his father, Pat, who arrived Saturday.
“In terms of a mental state,” Austin said, “I think I’m doing pretty well. It’s going to heal . . . it’s just a matter of time. It’s another broken bone, obviously a little more serious being in the neck, but the doctor said it broke nicely so it should heal just fine.”
Madaisky also said he has been instructed not to “do anything unnecessary.” He also was told that, if all goes well, the injury will be 100 per cent healed in three months.
“So,” he said, “after a month or two I’ll be back doing regular things and will be back in the gym and skating.”
Madaisky, who was acquired from the Calgary Hitmen just over a year ago, was selected by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the fifth round of the NHL’s 2010 draft. He has heard from the Blue Jackets, who “want the doctor here to contact their doctor. Then they’ll decide what they want to do.”
In the meantime, Madaisky plans on following instructions.
“I’ll let it heal and then hit the physio,” he said.
JUST NOTES: Despite some nastiness in their previous two meetings, only eight minor penalties were called Saturday, four to each team. . . . The Blazers continue to be without F Chase Schaber, their captain, who now has missed 14 of the last 16 games with leg injuries. He may return Wednesday against visiting Seattle. . . . G Taran Kozun, 16, flew back to Prince Albert after Saturdayís game and has rejoined the midget AAA Mintos. He backed up Bosch for three games while Cam Lanigan (concussion) was out. Lanigan will undergo tests today to determine whether he will be able to dress for Wednesday’s game.
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