Just as the Coquitlam Express began the season without centre Alexander Kerfoot, they'll now have to close out the rest of the schedule without him.
Coquitlam coach/general manager announced Thursday that his star pivot is gone for the year, requiring surgery after injuring his shoulder three weeks ago in Kelowna.
"There's no chance he's coming back," Calvano said. "He's going to require surgery, then rehab and all that fun stuff. It should be a four-to-six month situation, in which he'll then be off to Harvard."
The 18-year-old sniper, who was the Coastal Conference's Rookie of the Year last season, suffered the injury while skating wide to create a scoring chance, when a Kelowna defender crosschecked him into the boards.
Coming off a debut where he posted 25 goals and 44 assists over 51 games, Kerfoot was the centerpiece to the Express 2012-13 offence. As an assistant captain, he was also a player who contributed more than just goals. Many anticipated him challenging for a scoring title.
"That was our feeling, he was a top-five, top-10 kind-of-guy. Those were our expectations and I know those where his, too. What makes him a special player is that he is one of those guys who is always competing hard, challenging for the puck, challenging for space. Alexander was defensively attentive and he blocked shots - that's why he missed those two games at the start of the season."
He also missed seven games in November to represent Canada West at the Canada Junior Challenge tournament for a second straight year. During that span, the Express went 3-4.
On paper, Calvano believes he has the players to orchestrate the offence necessary to put up a winning record over the final 24 games. Recent results, however, especially against Mainland Division rivals, have not equalled that optimism.
"We need more improved contributions from all over, we can't keep expecting to win with two guys doing most of the scoring," Calvano said, referring to snipers John Siemer and Philip Zielonka. "We've got three, four guys who haven't taken the next step that we anticipated, and it's pretty astonishing how we really struggle in games in our own division."
The club's record against the likes of Langley, Chilliwack, Prince George and Surrey is 3-11-1 - and a tepid 6-7 at home.
"I don't think any team is an easy win in this division. We play Langley three times and Surrey once before the New Year," he noted. "If we can take six or all eight points, that will be a good statement to build on."
The Express visit Langley tonight, and host Powell River on Saturday, 7 p.m. at the Poirier Sports Centre before breaking for Christmas.