Photo courtesy of www.fortfranceshockey.com)
Freshman Joe Basaraba (FLA) hasn’t posted many points this season (three goals and two assists in 35 games to date), but he has added some energy and depth to a very good Minnesota-Duluth team that is one step away from potentially winning their first-ever National Championship.
Hockey’s Future spoke with Basaraba following Minnesota-Duluth’s 4-3 win over Notre Dame in the first semi-final game on Thursday afternoon at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN.
Hockey’s Future: How does it feel to be playing for a National Championship come Saturday night?
Joe Basaraba: It’s really exciting and a big 60-minute win here for our team. All the guys are excited, but we all know that we have another game on Saturday to play. We can use this win to motivate us for Saturday and hopefully get another big win.
HF: What’s it like being a Canadian kid playing on US college hockey’s biggest stage?
JB: I think it’s pretty cool. Some of the kids in my hometown (Fort Frances, ONT) went the Major Junior route, but I opted to go the US college route. Many of my family and friends back home are keeping a close eye on me and will be watching me. So I think it’s great for everyone back home to get a chance to see me play in the Frozen Four and just see what US college hockey has to offer.
HF: So you did have the opportunity to play Major Junior?
HF: Any regrets in choosing the US college route?
JB: Absolutely not. It’s been all good.
HF: What are some of the greatest things that Coach Sandelin and his staff have taught you that have made you a better player this year?
JB: They help with you with all of the little things. For me, it was a stepping stone because I came right from preparatory high school (Shattuck St. Mary’s), so it was definitely a jump to come right into college. The coaches and everyone on the team have just been real helpful in making the adjustment easier for me and guiding me in the right direction.
HF: What were some of the specific areas that they (coaches) were able to work with you on that has helped you?
JB: I think just giving me the confidence to play my game and getting me in the game. They allow me to just play, make mistakes and learn from them. They also allow me to progress so that I can become an asset to the team as well.
HF: Can you describe the type of player that you are?
JB: Well, I’m playing on a line with two great players in Jake Hendrickson and Mike Seidel. I’m the big body on the line that can skate, move the puck and make plays with the puck. I like crashing the net to look for rebounds and working the corners to make plays with the puck. I think I’m also strong in the defensive end too.
HF: In watching your line play, particularly in the East Regional, this season, you guys have built some great chemistry together as the season as progressed. Can you talk a little about that?
JB: Jake and Mike are great players and I think they compliment me really well. I think as a whole, we can all compliment each other with our styles of play. Jake is a hard worker. He’s going to get in there and get us the puck. Seidel is a skilled forward. So with me being the big body in there, we’re able to get some pucks on the net and get a few in.
HF: Is one of the areas that you are continuing to work on elevating your offensive game?
JB: Yes. The coaches have been working with me on that throughout the year. It’s a part of my game. I have a good shot that I could use more often, but I’m also learning how to get it off more quickly as well. If I do that, hopefully that’ll get me a few more goals.
HF: Did you go to the Panthers Prospects camp last summer?
JB: No, I did not because I had already to committed to coming here (Minnesota-Duluth) since school was about to start.
HF: Are you planning to go this summer.
JB: Yes, I’m planning on it.