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UND goalie Cam Johnson changes diet to prepare for heavy workload

Cam Johnson left Grand Forks this summer to return home to Michigan with one goal in mind.

He wanted to trim his body fat and get in much better shape before the start of the season.

As the only goalie on the roster who has played in a college game, Johnson knows that he’s going to be expected to play big minutes this season and that he needs to get his body ready for that grind.

“I went home for a bit, but I didn’t take my foot off the gas at all,” Johnson said. “If anything, I was pretty inspired this summer to really come back in better shape than I left. That’s something I was able to do.”

How did Johnson do that?

He increased cardio workouts, but more important, he changed his diet.

“We’re fortunate enough to have a nutritionist, who comes in here, and I was keeping in contact with him and getting on various meal plans and figuring out what to eat and what not to eat,” Johnson said. “It was a new experience for me. At times, it stunk, but it paid off for sure.”

Johnson said he still ate a lot of Chipotle -- and usually got double meat in his burritos because it takes longer to digest -- but made a lot of changes to the times when he eats.

“I cut out snacking at night,” Johnson said. “I figured out that if I did need to have a snack, I had yogurt or an apple instead of crushing a bag of chips. It was just really growing up and getting mature and figuring out the healthy snacks and healthy aspects of things.”

UND coach Brad Berry said he’s noticed a difference in Johnson.

“I’ve seen a focus,” Berry said. “I’ve seen an attention to detail. He’s very competitive. Obviously, he was very influential in winning that national championship two years ago. I think he and the rest of us feel we had a good opportunity last year that we didn’t follow through with in winning. You see that competitiveness of him trying to replicate what he did two years ago in his last season here.

“There’s a focus. Physically, he’s in the best shape he’s ever been in. And that tells me he’s ready to get after it.”

Johnson’s workload has progressed each season at UND.

As a freshman, he played 43 minutes, 19 seconds. As a sophomore, he played 1,918 minutes, 19 seconds. As a junior, he played 2,211 minutes, 59 seconds.

If he stays healthy, he could eclipse that as a senior.

“I obviously have an opportunity to play a lot of minutes,” Johnson said. “I want to do it. So, it’s something I wanted to prepare to do.”

Johnson attended development camp with the Tampa Bay Lightning this summer and has had opportunities to turn pro in each of the last two offseasons.

“He’s a guy who probably could have left, especially when you see all the other goaltenders who have left after their junior years or sophomore years,” Berry said. “UND is a big deal for him as far as his education and as far as his team. I think he’s coming back for all the right reasons.”

Johnson said it has started to set in that this will be his final year in Grand Forks.

“It’s a bit of a bittersweet feeling,” Johnson said. “Four years really flies by. It’s something that the seniors always tell you as a freshman coming in: ‘Enjoy it because before you know it, it’s over.’ And before you know it, you’re a senior. Here I am now, one of those guys preaching it to the young guys.”

Brad Elliott Schlossman

Schlossman is in his 13th year covering college hockey for the Herald. In 2016, he was named the top beat writer in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He has voted in the national college hockey poll since 2007 and has served as a member of the Hobey Baker and Patty Kazmaier Award committees.

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