UND sophomore Ethan Frisch, a defenseman from Moorhead, chatted with the Herald about the start of the season. The Fighting Hawks head to Colorado Springs to play Colorado College at 8 p.m. Sunday and Monday.
Q. For starters, what did you think of the NCHC Pod?
A. I thought that Baxter Arena and all the staff and everything did a great job hosting us. We had a fun time with all the guys. It did get old at the end, but being with all the guys was a good bonding experience. I thought it was beneficial for our team and chemistry overall.
Q. After not playing for a full nine months, then jumping right back into intense conference games, what was that like?
A. It was the weirdest thing. You can practice and train as much as you want, but nothing compares to a real game. After nine months of no real competitive games, it was good to get back on the ice. It definitely took a few shifts and periods to get into it. Once we were into it, we got right back to where we left off.
Q. You missed two-and-a-half games with an injury, but managed to come back for the final two games of the Pod. How did you feel both before and after the injury?
A. I felt like I was just getting into the swing of things when I got hurt. The injury was unfortunate. It was good being able to bounce back so quick, even though I wasn’t 100 percent the last two games. I was just trying to help out the D-core and get shifts in for those guys. I felt I did a little job for the team. It was good to be back out there.
Q. Are you feeling better now?
A. The break was huge for my injury. Just being able to be home and do some workouts as well as have some time off. I didn’t really have any time in the bubble just to relax or let the injury sit and take the tension off. I am feeling much better now on the ice.
Q. You scored two goals on one-timers from the top of the circle. Is that something you worked on in the offseason?
A. I put a lot of time into my shot this offseason, just shooting pucks in the garage. I’m sure my neighbors hate me by now. I have a tarp in the garage, where I shoot with my brothers. I’ve done it my whole life. I’ve never really had a shooting coach. It’s just northern Minnesota boys ripping pucks at a tarp.
Q. How do you feel about the team’s play in the Pod?
A. It’s good to kind of have a good start points-wise. We’ve been doing a lot of good things early in the season.
Q. What did you think of the games where you were out?
A. As coach (Brad) Berry says, it’s next-man up mentality. We’re all ready to do a job for the team. We do whatever we need to do to succeed. When I was out, coach sat down the D-core and said to play simple. ‘Get pucks up, get pucks out and do a job for the team and try to get these wins. You’ve got to play with a sense of discipline and do what you need to do.’
Q. You were NHL draft eligible for the second summer in a row, but didn’t get picked. Did you think you had a shot to be picked this year or did you assume it wasn’t going to happen?
A. After my first year, it was obviously disappointing not getting drafted. After playing one year of college hockey, leading up to the draft, it’s not something I thought about at all. I almost forgot I was still eligible. It’s not something I was focused on. You have to be a really good hockey player three years from now. As long as I do everything I can, I trust things will fall into place if it’s meant to be. It’s not something I’m focused on whatsoever.
Q. Matt Kiersted also was passed over three times in the NHL Draft. He’s now one of college hockey’s most coveted free agents. Is that a path you could follow?
A. Absolutely, he’s definitely someone I look up to and a great leader on our team. We have a lot of players that are highly touted all the way through their careers -- the (Shane) Pintos, the JBDs (Jacob Bernard-Docker), the (Jake) Sandersons -- who are drafted really high. It’s well deserved. They are incredible players. Being able to practice with them makes you better. Then, you look at (undrafted) guys like (Matt) Kiersted and (Jordan) Kawaguchi who really grinded out everything they have. They deserve every bit of success they have had. It’s good to look up to them and to know it’s possible.