MOLINE, Ill. – The Quad City Storm will return to the ice tonight for the first time in almost 600 days. The general feeling in the locker room is a return to home, to family. The team is closer than ever, and there’s unfinished business to take care of after the abrupt end to the 2019-20 season.
Coach Dave Pszenyczny, goaltender Peter Di Salvo, and forwards Marcus Ortiz and new team captain Taylor Pryce met with the media on Wednesday to talk about the return to the ice and the upcoming season.
Everyone had been a little stir crazy, as coach Pszenyczny put it, but “the days keep going, they keep ticking, and then all of a sudden you’re back here and you’re still not able to believe that hockey is back. At a certain point, I guess we’ll all feel that until we hit the ice Friday night.”
Pszenyczny added “from the inaugural season to year two I think we closed that gap [between the top and the Storm] pretty quick. Most of those games were one-goal games, overtimes, shootouts. It would’ve been nice to grab the two points in most of those games because it really would’ve benefited us down the road, but when you’re playing the top teams in the league week in and week out it’s a nice measuring stick to see where you stand with the rest of the league.”
New to the Quad Cities, Ortiz spoke on signing with the team after missing last season and what that means to players.
“I believe it makes you more confident as a player, having somebody who believes in you that you know is on your side and trusts you to do your job day in and day out, even on our worst days… As far as the locker room goes, that’s why everyone’s here, and we value that so much that we’re bringing in others as well,” the veteran said.
The end of the 2019-20 season was abrupt and left questions for a lot of people. “I felt like we had so much momentum heading into that final stretch,” Pryce said, “like the impression before about so many games against Peoria a couple bad bounces in a couple games and it tips the scales a lot when you see the same team so many times, but we’ve learned a lot over the years and we’re confident we’ll go far.”
“I guess to sum it up, it’s exciting. Like Taylor said, we’re at home now. Like being in Knoxville last season it was nice to be there and it’s better to be here, and some places it’s just more exciting to be there, and for us it’s the Quad Cities. Playing here is just that much more special, and there’s not much more to say than being excited,” said Di Salvo.
The third-year coach had some words about the symbiosis between the team and fans as well.
“I believe [going back on the ice] is going to be pretty raw, I think we’re going to have to feed off the crowd a lot, which I know that they’ll bring their energy and our team needs to give back that energy on the ice with physicality and just play a pretty simple game,” Pszenyczny said.
Be sure to follow @FPHStorm on Twitter for all the latest news throughout the season.
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