Reign forward and Kings prospect Michael Mersch left Saturday’s game late in the first period against Bakersfield due to a lower-body injury suffered while on the receiving end of a check. Head coach Mike Stothers spoke on the severity of the injury after the game and said, “it doesn’t look good.”
“Anything I can tell you about Merschy, it’s not going to be good,” Stothers said. “He’ll be reevaluated but it doesn’t look good.
“We’re not talking day-to-day.”
Mersch got tangled up during an awkward hit and subsequent fall by Condors forward Kyle Platzer while chasing the puck as it came up the boards along near wall in the Bakersfield zone. The Ontario left winger went down with Platzer and took his time getting to the bench. Below is video of the play:
Here's video of the Mersch injury. pic.twitter.com/1O780dHf2r
— Lindsay Czarnecki (@ReignInsider) January 15, 2017
From there, Mersch stood on the bench mostly while being attended to by head trainer Mike Muir. The 6-foot-1, 225-pound Mersch was seen making one-legged squat-like movements under Muir’s observation. As Bakersfield went on the man advantage soon after, Mersch did not take the ice in his usual penalty kill role and eventually went to the tunnel.
The Reign leave Sunday for games on Monday and Wednesday against Tucson and Stothers said, “there’s no chance he’s traveling.”
Ontario went on to win the game, 3-2, without Mersch’s services for the final two periods, but it could be a long road ahead without their star forward, who came into the contest leading the team with 10 goals and has 21 points in 31 games.
“We got through it tonight but looking forward and going ahead, it’s not the ideal situation. You don’t replace a Michael Mersch,” Stothers said. “So, it’s going to be a challenge for us. Again, it’s through nobody’s fault. Mike plays hard, he gets hurt.”
Mersch, a fourth-round pick by the Kings in 2011, was a late cut in training camp after appearing in 17 NHL games last season.
The 24-year-old recently missed one game due to a lower-body injury suffered in late December. He was hurt on Dec. 30 against Stockton and played through the rest of the game. He missed the contest the following day and a few practices the following week before returning to play in last Saturday’s Outdoor Classic against the Condors.
“This is something completely different,” Stothers said. “This is another lower-body injury, but it’s different than the other one.”