Hockey: Cey’s play brilliant for Irish
Bobby Griffin | Thursday, February 17, 2005
In a 3-3 deadlock midway through the third period in last Friday night’s game against Ferris State, the Bulldogs controlled the puck in the Irish zone.
A Ferris State forward ripped one at Morgan Cey from the slot – a shot that the Irish senior goalie easily deflected.
The puck deflected off Cey to a player on the left circle, facing the net.
If someone blinked they may have missed the ensuing shot, but Cey reacted perfectly and made an impressive glove save – a play that not only brought the crowd to life, but that epitomized the goalie’s season to date.
When everything else seems lost, Cey has been the one consistency for the Irish all season.
But with that said, it is not easy being the goalie on a 5-21-6-hockey team.
With such a disappointing record – especially for a team coming off their first tournament berth in the school’s history – it would be easy to point fingers, especially after doing everything to keep the team competitive night in and night out.
It would be easy to resign oneself to losing, knowing that pure ability alone is going to warrant a fair share of phone calls from NHL personnel in the coming months.
But Cey, a senior and an undisputed leader on this year’s rebuilding team, does not have that attitude.
The goalie from Wilkie, Saskatchewan, who Irish coach Dave Poulin describes as having a “very dry sense of humor,” is quick to credit the heart of the Irish team whenever his personal accolades are mentioned. He’s even quicker to mention the possibility of what can still be saved from this season.
“We still think that if we make the Joe Louis arena, this season will not be a complete disaster even though our record is disastrous right now,” Cey said. “If we make a little run in the playoffs, it softens the blow a little bit.”
Cey’s statistics are impressive. Going into the weekend series against Michigan, he has a 2.74 goals against average and .911 save percentage.
But his personal demeanor and his team leadership are more impressive than his numbers.
Cey is a warrior, the type of player a coach would want in the goal every night. He is confident when teams attack the net, and when a shot gets by him it is rarely just his fault.
Pretty good for a guy who didn’t play goalie until he was 14 years old.
“He was a big time forward,” Poulin said, with a laugh. “A pesky winger.”
Asked about Cey’s value to the team this season, the Irish coach went a step further and described Cey’s importance to the hockey program throughout his four years at the University.
“He’s come such a long way physically and he’s also come a long way mentally,” Poulin said. “He’s carried the load for us basically through the bulk of his whole career.”
Poulin talked about his goalie arriving as a freshman, when the team was coming off a rebuilding year similar to the season, and having to adjust to playing hockey and going to school at the same time. Cey had been out of hockey for two years.
He also discussed Cey’s future in professional hockey.
“He’ll have an opportunity to play, there is no question. Too many people have seen him play too well over the years,” Poulin said. “He’ll have an opportunity to play professional hockey and then what he does with that will [be up to] him.”
Poulin was not the only member of the Irish hockey program to speak about Cey’s importance to the team.
Senior captain Cory McLean could not say enough about how vital Cey has been, despite the team’s ongoing struggles.
“You’ve got to give him credit because he’s kept us in every game so far this year,” McLean said. “It’s just huge when you’ve got a goalie playing real well. It’s been a tough season for us but he keeps us going, [and he] gives us a chance to win every night.”
The team has time to gain some momentum heading into the CCHA playoffs. With the unique playoff format, every team makes the playoffs, so if the Irish were to get on a run, anything could happen.
It will not be easy with the remaining two series against Michigan and Michigan State, but if there is one person that could be trusted in giving his team the best chance to win, and establish something down the stretch – look no further than Cey.
“I just come to the rink every day and I can’t pay attention to the struggles everyone else is having,” Cey said. “I have to do my part, because this is what I want to do with my life and I have to give the best I can.”
In a season full of disappointment and discouragement, Cey is one thing Irish fans do not have to worry about.