After battling a stubborn illness for more than three weeks, losing 10 pounds in the process and missing several games, Wichita Thunder goaltender Tim Boron says he is still only at 85 to 90 percent.
Coach Brent Bilodeau will take it.
Even in a weakened state, Boron remains capable of controlling a game, evidenced by his victory at Mississippi on Sunday.
"He may not be completely healthy, but he's still pretty good," Bilodeau said.
Boron, who says he is starting to feel better every day, is expected to start when the Thunder opens a two-game home series against winless Missouri tonight at the Kansas Coliseum.
When game time arrives, Boron expects adrenaline and competitiveness to solve his main problem: lack of energy. Such is the way it worked on Sunday, when Boron carried a shutout into the last two minutes of the game before Mississippi put a scare into the Thunder with three extra attacker goals.
Wichita held on 4-3 for Boron's first win of the season. He made 34 saves and helped kill all five Missouri power plays.
"It was a big win for our team; we hadn't won there in a while," Boron said. "It definitely gives me a lot more motivation and excitement to get back to playing this weekend."
Boron, a third-year pro from Winnipeg, Manitoba, spent much of the off-season rehabbing from surgeries on both hips. He says his hips feel better now than they have in years, and he entered the season enthusiastic because he was finally pain free.
Then the illness arrived about Oct. 5, bringing fever and chills. It lingered, and lingered.
"Yeah, it was frustrating, but as you get older you realize those are the breaks, and you deal with them," Boron said.
Last season, Boron proved capable of winning games nearly single handedly. He was only 6-11-1, but his other numbers (2.59 GAA and a team record .926 SP) were impressive for a goalie playing for a poor team.
Bilodeau said that Boron is close to regaining that form.
"I think he played well last game," Bilodeau said. "He can be better; he knows that.
"Obviously, when you take that much time off, you're not gonna be at your best right away. It's gonna come."
Notes _ Kyle Bruce has been in town, but he will not play tonight, Bilodeau said.... Veteran forwards Glenn Detulleo and Jason Duda have scored in four straight games.... The Thunder is 20 for its last 20 on the penalty kill.... Expansion Missouri has been outscored 25-9.... Tyler Fleck, a player Thunder fans loved to hate when he played for Oklahoma City, has one assist and 11 penalty minutes for Missouri.