Ben Ondrus celebrated return to the Steelheads was derailed before it gathered much steam.
Ondrus, a veteran of more than 500 AHL games and more than 50 NHL games, played just four with Idaho at the beginning of the season before being shelved with a knee injury.
But the 30-year-old forward was back on the ice Friday (a fight at the end of the game) and Saturday (two assists) as the Steelheads closed out a three-game homestand with two victories over the Colorado Eagles.
The first two periods (Friday), I was pretty tired, said Ondrus, who broke in as a pro with the Steelheads in 2003. But by the third, I felt pretty good, and Im hoping it will only get better. Im not getting any younger.
Ondrus had been skating and practicing for more than a week before Friday.
But I hadnt really been too involved in physical play, and thats a big part of my game, he said.
That was evident Friday, as he tried to control the puck as the clock reached the end of the game. As the buzzer was about to sound, Colorado defenseman Jason Beatty charged Ondrus.
Ondrus and Beatty ended up tussling, and both drew fighting penalties. Afterwards, Ondrus skated to the dressing room, where he received about five stitches.
Now that Ondrus is back in the middle of the action, coach Brad Ralph said its a matter of time before he picks up his game.
The injury he had slowed him down, and I think it takes about 10 games to get back on your feet, Ralph said. So I expect to see Ben to just improve as the year goes on.
Chris Langrill: 377-6424