After struggling with a vast assortment of injuries during his junior year, Colgate senior defenseman Joey Mormina has rebounded this season, both as a player and as a team leader, on and off the ice.
“He wasn’t able to do a whole lot last summer,” recalled Colgate head coach Don Vaughan. “He was dealing with some post-concussion syndrome and couldn’t work out at all. I came to him at Ferris State, the night before we opened our first game [this season].
“We got off the plane at the airport, and I looked at him because I knew we were a little thin [on the blue line]. I asked him if he could go, just give me one game. He was the best defenseman on the ice for us in that first game, and I convinced him to play the next night. He hasn’t looked back.”
A 2002 sixth-round NHL draft pick of the Philadelphia Flyers, the 6-foot-5 senior from Montreal has played in every game of his senior season, accumulating eight goals and eight assists this year. Perhaps more significantly, he sees about 30 minutes of ice time per game, routinely shutting down the best offensive players in the ECACHL.
“What people really underestimate is how many minutes he logs a game,” said Vaughan. “I’m not taking anything away from the other defensemen [in the ECACHL], but I know Joey Mormina plays more minutes than any defenseman in this league.”
This weekend in Albany, N.Y., Mormina played in the final ECACHL games of his career. And he made the most of them. In the semifinal loss to Harvard and the consolation win over Vermont, Mormina tallied a total of three goals and one assist.
Against Harvard, the Raiders found themselves trailing on two separate occasions in the final five minutes of the game. On each occasion, it was the hard work and pure determination of Mormina that led to the tying score.
“For him to be able to come out and play the way he did this weekend, he’s just a tremendous inspiration in that locker room,” said Vaughan. “He’s a tremendous leader. He’s got a calming effect on our team and on our coaching staff.”
Saturday, Mormina’s second-period power-play goal against Vermont proved to be the game-winner, and now he will look to help lead the Raiders into the NCAA tournament next weekend.
“Last year was a tough season,” said Mormina. “It kind of put things in perspective — you never know when it can all be over. I definitely approached this year with [the attitude] of, ‘Play every game like it’s your last and enjoy yourself.'”