Reed Morison knows there are jobs available and he knows he has a shot at cracking the Kootenay Ice.
If Wednesday’s performance is any indication as to what the 6-foot-2, 202-pound forward can do, he may have already solidified his role for the upcoming 2016-17 Western Hockey League campaign.
Morison, an 18-year-old native of Calgary, registered a hat trick Wednesday night to fuel Team Black at the 18th annual Kootenay Ice United Way Intrasquad Game. Despite his best efforts, it wasn’t enough as Team White skated to an 8-6 victory, but the loss didn’t make Morison’s performance any less spectacular.
“It felt pretty good actually,” Morison said Wednesday. “Teammates were finding me in the slot and pucks seemed to follow me.
“On a personal point, it was nice, but I kind of wish we had won.”
Morison is in his first camp with the Ice after coming to Cranbrook via a November 2015 trade with the Portland Winterhawks.
He skated hard, drove the net and was tough to knock off the puck Wednesday night, nearly single-handedly willing his team to victory.
“Obviously the goal is to make the team,” Morison said, “and hopefully get the opportunity to show the coaches what I can do.
“I thought I was moving my feet and competing hard on pucks. Overall, I thought I had a pretty decent game.”
Morison helped Team Black stake out a 5-4 lead through 40 minutes, but the Taphorn twins — 16-year-olds Kaeden and Keenan — struck for back-to-back markers midway through the third period to give White a 7-5 lead.
Cody Shepheard added another to get Team Black back within one, but sophomore defenceman Jason Wenzel found an empty net with less than five seconds to play, icing the 8-6 triumph for Team White.
“That’s the first time I’ve seen, in at least four or maybe five years, a little bit of comeptitiveness in the intrasquad game with some feistiness,” said Garnet Kazuik, director of scouting for the Ice, on Wednesday. “It was good to see.
“I think you’re going to see some guys compete fairly hard through exhibition.”
For Team White, Jared Legien chipped in with two goals and three points, while Noah Philp also added a goal and three points
Between the pipes, 15-year-old Jesse Makaj split duties with 17-year-old Jakob Walter for Team Black, while 18-year-old Declan Hobbs and 15-year-old Carter Woodside handled the crease for Team White.