Stingrays’ Morin Hopes To
Be Back In Lineup Friday

By Andrew Miller
The Post and Courier

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. – Despite missing the last two days of practice, South Carolina Stingrays officials were optimistic that ECHL All-Star Travis Morin would play Friday night against Florida in Game 3 of their best-of-seven South Division Final.

Morin, who suffered a wrist injury in Game 1 against the Everblades, missed Game 2 of the series, but was expected to return to practice Wednesday.

“He had some X-rays and an MRI done and they came back negative,” said Stingrays trainer D.J. Church. “We’ll get him on the ice (today), Thursday and Friday for a pre-game skate and hopefully he’ll be ready to go Friday night for Game 3. As long as nothing happens between now and Friday night, I feel pretty good about his chances of playing.

“Nothing is guaranteed, but it looks good. It’ll come down to how much pain Travis can tolerate, but he’s a pretty tough guy, so I think he’ll be out there.”

Church said the most difficult aspect of the game for Morin will be taking faceoffs.

“Most people probably won’t notice a change in the way Travis plays,” Church said. “It’s a sprain, so there is some limited range of motion, but overall it shouldn’t affect the way he plays.”

The Stingrays split the first two games of the series in Estero, Fla., beating the Everblades, 2-1, in overtime in Game 1 and then dropping Game 2, 4-3, on Saturday night.

“Travis is such a big part of our hockey team,” Bednar said. “He logs 30 minutes of ice time and plays in every situation. Not having Travis in the lineup certainly makes our job that much more difficult against what I believe is the best team in the ECHL. If Travis can play (Friday) it’ll be a bonus, and if he can’t, we’ll have to get other guys to step up and fill his spot. One guy is not going to be able to replace Travis. We’ll have to do it by committee.”

Rookie Rob Ricci, one of the Stingrays’ top faceoff centers, took Morin’s spot on the top line with Maxime Lacroix and Keith Johnson.

For the second straight year, Morin led the Stingrays in scoring with 88 points on 26 goals and an ECHL best 62 assists during the regular season. Morin has three goals and seven assists for a team-leading 10 points in the playoffs.

“I haven’t missed many games in high school, college or at the professional level, so sitting in the stands for Game 2 was tough,” Morin said. “If there’s any chance I can play, I’ll be out there.”

Meanwhile, defenseman Josh Godfrey, who hasn’t played for nearly a month with an “upper body” injury, appears to be on the verge of returning to the lineup this weekend.

“I feel like I’m getting better and better each practice,” said Godfrey, who had five goals and 20 assists in 37 games. “My shot still isn’t exactly where I want it to be, but I’ve got a couple of more days to get ready.”

Godfrey has yet to play in the postseason.

“Josh is another guy that logged a ton of ice time during the regular season,” Bednar said. “He’s got a big-time right-handed shot on our power play and its something we’ve been missing the last month.”