Morrissey, IceCaps, Making a RunMay 21, 2014 - 10:04 CST
Prince Albert SK- Prince Albert Raiders' captain Josh Morrissey and the St. John’s Ice Caps are off to the Eastern Conference finals of the 2014 Calder Cup Playoffs.
Morrissey, the Winnipeg Jets first round draft pick, 13th overall, in 2013 was assigned to the AHL affiliate of the Jets in St. John’s following the conclusion of the Raiders season.
After recording one assist in 8 regular season games to finish the AHL regular season, Morrissey has scored twice and added 4 assists in 10 playoff games, including a plus-6 rating, quickly making his mark with the IceCaps.
“As time has gone on, I feel better every day and every time I’m on the ice. As I have gotten more comfortable and felt like one of the guys, my confidence and play has improved as well,” said Morrissey on his quick adjustment to the professional level.”
Playing in a Canadian market is rare in the American Hockey League, but Morrissey feels right at home in a city that has the same passion as Hockey Town North.
“The atmosphere is really great. It is nice to be in Canada still, you have that Canadian feel. The fans are really into hockey and are passionate; it is very similar to PA that’s for sure.”
The Calgary, Alberta product reached a milestone when he scored his first professional career goal in the second round against the Norfolk Admirals on goaltender John Gibson, who was later called up to play for the Anaheim Ducks in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. “No matter which goalie it was on it would have been nice and something I remember forever. The fact that he is a pretty high-end and upcoming young goalie who is highly regarded made it a little more special.”
The IceCaps are currently awaiting the winner of a game 7 between the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and the Providence Bruins. Morrissey may have a slight bias towards the Penguins, so he can face off against his former defence partner Harrison Ruopp.
“Playing against Harrison would be pretty cool. We are good friends, played together for a couple of years and I have known him for a long time. It would be nice to play him and get to see him again.”
Even with a Conference final on the front of his mind, the Raiders captain shared his early excitement for next season in Prince Albert.
“I felt down the stretch our young guys really came out, The play of Nick McBride down stretch, he helped us a lot to make that push and make playoffs. With Guhle, Gennaro and our 17-year-olds, there’s a pretty good group of players. Obviously, with the number of overagers it will be hard to see some of those guys go, but it also means that we will have a really good group for our three 20’s.”
“Down the stretch the team really came together. Anytime you have a new coach, it takes a while to get used to his style and it takes him time to put his stamp on the team,” Morrissey added, emphasizing that the team played their best hockey at the end of the season. “Once we got down the stretch, everyone got used to Cory’s systems and coaching style and coming back there will be some familiarity for a lot of the team. I think it could be a pretty good year.”
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Photo courtesy Colin Peddle/St. John's IceCaps.