Crunch's Erne Doesn't Miss a Beat in Return From Injury

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Adam Erne looks like he hasn’t missed a beat.

The Syracuse Crunch forward missed a little more than a month with a lower body injury, but was able to return to the lineup last weekend. Erne recorded three points in a 5-2 win over Rochester Saturday, and added a goal in Sunday’s 3-2 victory in Utica.

Erne is focused on consistency as he pushes for a spot in the NHL.

“It’s just a matter of getting back in a game and getting used to the speed and whatnot,” Erne said of his return. “Luckily, it didn’t take too long. Now it’s just a matter of doing it night in and night out.”

Erne is on pace to easily surpass his production last year as a rookie. The 21-year-old has registered 11 goals and 11 assists in 33 games with Syracuse this season.

“I know that it’s been great to have him back,” Crunch assistant coach Trent Cull said. “I say that because he’s a big, strong guy playing the wing. Just talking about his production this weekend, I thought he did a great job at the net-front. It’s nice to have that big body back there again. He’s a power forward, and you watch him use his speed and strength with how he drives the net.”

Erne finished with 29 points in 59 games last season. The Tampa Bay Lightning’s second round pick in 2013 missed six weeks early in the season with a hand injury.

Erne used the time in the stands to study the game.

“It always helps to watch a couple games and get a different perspective of the game,” Erne said. “I got to do that last year when I was coming back from a hand injury. Things have been going well. It’s just a matter of keeping it consistent.”

Erne’s play this season earned him his first call-up. The North Branford, Connecticut native made his NHL debut on Jan. 3, against Winnipeg and played four games before being sent down.

“It was unbelievable,” Erne said of playing in the NHL. “It’s something I’ve dreamed about since I was a little kid. It was really exciting, and obviously I want to get back there as soon as I can.”

Erne was injured after blocking a shot against Pittsbugh on Jan. 8, but an X-Ray didn’t show a break and he was reassigned to the Crunch. An MRI in Syracuse confirmed a fracture in his foot, and the transaction was voided.

Once he was healthy, Erne was officially sent to Syracuse Saturday.’

Now Erne is working his way to get back up to the NHL.

“I think there’s always things to improve on,” Erne said. “Obviously, just being one of the top players night in and night out is something you have to do if you want to be in the NHL full time. You can’t take any games off. That’s what I’m working on.”

Pictured: Crunch forward Adam Erne rushes the puck up the ice against the Americans at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.