Haula becoming consistent offensive force for Minnesota

By DJ Powers
Photo: Erik Haula(MIN) enjoyed an outstanding sophomore campaign where he led the Golden Gophers with 49 points (20 goals, 29 assists) in 43 games. He was a driving force in guiding Minnesota to their first Frozen Four appearance since 2005. (Photo courtesy of Vincent Muzik/Icon SMI)

Hockey's Future spoke with Erik Haula following Minnesota's 1-6 loss to Boston College in the second National Championship semi-final game on Thursday.

Hockey's Future: This was obviously was a very disappointing way to end the year, but the team also had a great season. What do you feel were some of the things that allowed the team to enjoy the success that it had this year?

Erik Haula: I just feel that we had a great group of guys and some great leaders among them. We definitely had the assets to go all the way, but it's just disappointing that it ended the way it did. We definitely had our chances today, but just couldn't get one by their goalie. So that's basically what it was.

HF: The team was also pretty young this season too. Even though this was a tough loss to take, do you personally feel that what you all have accomplished this year is a sign of some great things to come for next season?

EH: I sure hope so. I hope that most of the (non-graduating) guys will come back. There's obvious going to be some guys that we'll need to replace because they're graduating, especially in goal. We have a lot of talent up front and hopefully those guys will all be coming back, so that we start working on getting back here again next year.

HF: You have had a great season as well. Can you talk a little bit about some of the things that you've been able to do and improve over the course of the season that has helped the team get as far as it did?

EH: I think the biggest thing was my consistency. I've been trying to score or set up as many goals as I can. That's part of my job. I try to work on a lot of different things to help me do that. I think that my feel for the game has also been a big part of it too. This year has been very different from last year for me because I'm more comfortable and the great linemates that I play with have been just the right feel for me. We all have some great tools and we're able to help each other out. So I feel very fortunate.

HF: What are some of the things that you'd like to improve heading into next season?

EH: I think I just want to continue to go out there and work hard for everything that I could get. Obviously there are some areas that can always improve, such as my strength and power. I've just got to keep getting stronger and do all the things that will prepare me for the next levels, whenever I get there. I just want to keep doing the same type of preparation that I was doing before this year started and staying positive.

HF: Have the Wild been keeping tabs on your progress at Minnesota?

EH: Yeah, I've talked to them a bit this year. But the thing that's been great about them is that they've given me my space. They don't interfere with what I'm doing here at Minnesota at all. They just let me play, so I'm really happy about that. I haven't really thought about it (possibly signing with the Wild this off-season), but we'll see what happens in the next few months. I'm just proud to be a Gopher and to be a part of this team, and I want continue to do whatever I can to help the team be successful.