Morrissey’s Musings: Josh Morrissey checks in from the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship in Russia
Friday, April 19:
After a tough loss to the Americans, a new day began with no time to waste. With such little time before the tournament we had to use every second to get as prepared as possible. We had a study session to accomplish after breakfast, which we have on every non-game day for two hours, before we made our way to the arena for practice.
Practice was hard, with the message being that we needed a higher sense of urgency. We worked hard with a lot of tough drills for just over an hour before closing out the practice. After practice comes our usual cool down, where we are taking through a number of stretching and rolling out drills before a 10-minute ride on the stationary bikes to flush out our legs. That, accompanied by our recovery compression socks, heart rate monitors and protein shakes help us to be ready for the next game or practice.
The next day we played the Czech Republic in another exhibition game. The game was close all the way through and we were down 4-2 in the third but with a strong push we managed to get back in and tie the game. After 60 minutes, the game was headed to overtime! We both exchanged some chances in the extra frame but a shoot out eventually was needed. As our shooters shot and scored and Austin Lotz made "Lotz" of huge saves, we were thrilled to be skating off the bench to congratulate our goalie on a big comeback win. It was a great show of character for our group right before the tournament and definitely brought us closer together.
The next day, unfortunately, saw some really good guys going home as some more players came available with their teams exiting the CHL playoffs. Four underage players – Clark Bishop, Brayden Point, Joe Hicketts and Alexis Pépin – as well as Dylan Labbé, due to an unfortunate injury, all were headed home after working extremely hard with the team the last two weeks. It was sad to see them go, but we were excited to have the new players join our team.
The next day saw the arrival of Madison Bowey and Nick Baptiste. Practice wasn't as long, as the tournament began the next day and it was going to be a grind. After our day was somewhat finished we had a few hours to spend hanging around the hotel, and we set up an NHL13 tournament on the Xbox set up in our players’ lounge. The boys were getting pretty intense in a few games, especially when Nick Baptiste and I went into overtime against Roland McKeown, my roommate, and Sam Morin. Thankfully Nick and I won, otherwise I probably wouldn't have brought it up.
Next was our tournament opener against Slovakia, and we had the remainder of our new players arrive just before the game. Chris Bigras, Zach Nastasiuk and Carter Verhaeghe all arrived in time for the bus over to the rink. The game against the Slovaks was more intense than the exhibition was, and the score was tied 1-1 until Connor McDavid scored an unbelievable goal off the rush, splitting the ‘d’ and scoring five hole. The game then seemed to stay at that score for an eternity until we scored two quick goals in the third period to make it 4-1, which would be the eventual final. A big first win for the boys!
Next, a practice day before our tilt with the Germans, which will be especially interesting for me as I take on one of my best friends from my club team back in P.A., Leon Draisaitl!