By Jonathan Bombulie
WILKES-BARRE TWP., Pa. – There’s nothing like a summer vacation, two knee surgeries and a difficult rehabilitation process to kill some perfectly good momentum.
That’s what Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins goalie Adam Berkhoel found out this fall.
Because Berkhoel has been out of sight, out of mind for the first two months this season, it’s easy to forget just how important a role he played for the Penguins last year.
In early November, he ran off a team-record streak of three straight shutouts. In May, he took over for a banged-up John Curry and turned in a heroic performance against the Calder Cup champion Hershey Bears, winning Games 3, 4 and 5 of the East Division final, all the while having his knee drained of pints of fluid after every game.
The knee injury required offseason surgery, and when the first procedure didn’t take, Berkhoel had to have another one. The knee continued to be a problem through training camp, so Berkhoel started this season with the ECHL’s Wheeling Nailers on a conditioning assignment of sorts.