Q. North Dakota is coming off of a bye week. How did you spend your weekend off?
A. The off weekend was nice for the guys. We hung out on Friday night and just had a good time. Then Saturday we went to the Jason Aldean concert in Fargo, so that was a blast. Then I got to go stay at home in Moorhead after that, so it was a good weekend off.
Q. Are you a big country music guy?
A. Yeah, I'm a big fan of country music. It was a lot of fun. I've never seen Jason Aldean before, but I think Morgan Whalen was most fun for me to see. I'm a huge fan of him, so it was fun.
Q. You are a true freshman and the only rookie blueliner on the team. How do you think your first season is going so far?
A. It's been fun. We've had a really good year. We've run into a lot of success, so that's really all you can ask for is to have a fun team full of great guys and to be winning. No complaints about that.
Q. The last time North Dakota played Denver, UND came out with a win and a tie. What are you expecting from the Pioneers this time around?
A. We know they're going to be harder, probably a few more goals scored. But late in the season you see a lot of strong defenses, so we really have to take advantage of our chances. Special teams will be huge, but it will definitely be a challenge.
Q. Last year, you played on the Fargo Force with Denver defenseman Justin Lee. Have you guys talked at all heading into this series?
A. We don't talk much heading into it, but we'll definitely talk after. It's kind of one of those things where you want to stay focused before the game, and dialed in and keep focus on your own team. Then afterwards, not friends on the ice but off the ice, definitely friends.
Q. Is it fun to go up against former teammates at this level?
A. Absolutely. It's a lot of fun. Just kind of chirping them on the ice or saying hi or whatever. On the ice you don't take it easy on anyone no matter if they're a friend or not, but after the game, you can be friends obviously.
Q. Your college finalists were North Dakota, St. Cloud State, Minnesota Duluth and Clarkson. How did you end up picking North Dakota?
A. It was just a perfect fit for me. I came on a visit here and you've seen the place. It's obviously beautiful, so that was one thing. Then the coaching staff. I really connected with them. They're really down to earth people. Being the head of such a prestigious program, it was pretty impressive. Then just being so close to home. It's just an hour away from Moorhead, so it really was the perfect fit for me and my family.
Q. If you didn't go the hockey route, what sport would you be playing?
A: Golf, 100 percent. I'm a huge fan of golf. I always play in the summer. I got a membership here when I came to train in the summer. I love golf. It just didn't work out for me competitively, but I love playing with friends.
Q. Have you gone up against any of your teammates yet?
A. Oh yeah. Pretty much all of them, all the big golfers on the team. I play with (Shane) Pinto a lot. He's my roommate, so we played almost every other day during the summer
Q. Do you think he's your biggest competition on the golf course?
A. Yeah, we're pretty even. We're neck-and-neck. It's just a toss up on who will win, much like ping pong. Him and I are very competitive together, so it's a lot of fun playing against him, whatever it is.
Q. Your dad and uncle played high school hockey at Moorhead. Your two aunts were professional figure skating coaches. Do you think skating is in your blood?
A. I would say yes. I don't know if my dad was the best skater and my mom didn't skate. My close relatives were for sure, but I was very fortunate to grow up with them. My aunts were the first ones to teach me how to skate. Obviously my dad helped me a lot. He's helped me the most probably in my hockey career as far as being a coach and a dad and just training with me. Even my aunt's husband played college hockey as well, so there's hockey all around. A lot of people to talk to hockey about. It's just kind of a fun family tradition.
Q. How old were you when you were first put in skates?
A. I'd say I was probably two when I was skating. Probably didn't have a stick in my hand until three or four. Even then, it wasn't very serious. I just skated with my aunts all the way up until, I mean, I still skate with my aunts in the summer sometimes. Skated from an early age and just grew to love it. Didn't love it at first, but grew to love it over time.
Q. So it wasn't love at first stride?
A. No. I think there was a story earlier this year. I tried to hide my hockey skates before skating lessons with one of my aunts once because I just hated skating and I didn't want to go. So my dad caught me hiding my skates in a storage shelf in the garage and he said I was still going. I tried to play it off like a lost them, but that didn't work out for me.