MOLINE, Ill. — The Quad City Storm hosted media day on Thursday, and anticipation from the players, coaches, and staff was evident in the room during interviews. Final cuts were announced on Wednesday, dropping the roster down to nineteen players — ten forwards, six defensemen, two goalies, and one two-way player. The season starts on the road Saturday in Peoria, and the team is confident about this season.
Some people might wonder why, after an 18-33-5 inaugural season, coach Dave Pszenyczny would bring back 13 players from last season’s roster. Isn’t repeating the same mistakes over and over again is the definition of insanity? Bringing back a core isn’t a mistake, however. As Pszenyczny said, “If I had cleaned house and brought in new guys, I’d be starting from scratch again, and I didn’t necessarily want to do that. I wanted to build around what we had at the end of last season.”
For this season, however, one thing will be different from last: discipline. Pszenyczny said that one thing he learned from last season was interacting with referees. The coach’s behavior sets a precedent for the players. “We’ll probably be the most disciplined team this season,” said Pszenyczny.
The in-state rivalry between Peoria and Quad City will renew itself on Saturday, and it’s a match-up that Pszenyczny is looking forward to playing. The team based in Peoria will be much different than the one fans saw on Saturday in the preseason, as there has been a lot of roster turnover since then. Pszenyczny feels confident about his team’s ability against the new faces, however. “If we’re disciplined right and we don’t let our emotions get out of control, it’s their home opener, right, so let them make the mistakes. We don’t have to put on a show, we just play the way we know how to play, and go from there.”
The Storm have two rookies this season. One, Joshua Victor, decided to come to the Quad Cities after talking with former teammates of Pszenyczny and players from last season. The blueliner who last season finished his collegiate career with Fitchburg State College said that he heard “Raving reviews, and I heard really good things about Coach, and I’m excited to be a part of the organization.”
Protecting the house ranks high in Victor’s priorities, as well as his defensive play. “I like to play fast, like to play physical, a good 200-foot game. I like to get up in the game occasionally, but you know always gotta protect the house. I pride myself on plus/minus and my defensive game, so protecting the house, playing hard in my own zone, and I want to be a guy on the ice that the other team doesn’t want to play against.” Victor was paired with the other rookie on the team, Mathias Ahman, in the preseason game on Saturday.
Former Fayetteville Marksmen player Taylor Pryce says, “My playing style is fast and aggressive. I like to get in on the forecheck, and that creates a lot of offense, and my linemates feed off that, and if I play with some skilled guys, I think I can get them lots of goals.”
Kristaps Nimanis is excited about the new season and to be able to prove himself to Pszenyczny and the fans. After suffering from a lower-body injury at the beginning of the season, Nimanis sat out most of the season before returning for the last seven games. “I didn’t have any second doubts [about returning] because I didn’t play a lot last year and Coach told me that he wanted me to come back, and I said yeah of course, because I need to prove that I can play.”
“Year two is looking good for us,” said head coach Pszenyczny at the start of the press conference. “Expectations are very high, boys are chomping at the bit, and I just want to get the season going and let the Quad Cities know they have something really good and special going on right here.”
The full roster for the Storm can be found here.
Stay tuned to @SinBinStorm for live updates and the latest news about the Storm throughout the season.