UND freshman Cooper Moore talks about adapting to the college game and life in the NCHC Pod
The rookie defenseman has seen increased playing time.
OMAHA, Neb. -- UND freshman defenseman Cooper Moore has seen a large jump in playing time since classmates Jake Sanderson and Tyler Kleven left to be with the U.S. World Junior Team. He talked with the Herald after Thursday night's 2-2 tie with Minnesota Duluth.
Q. How does it feel to be getting in your first college games?
A. It’s pretty awesome. It’s something I’ve always looked forward to and dreamed of doing, so it’s pretty cool to kind of start playing my first games. I think the coaches have done a pretty good job of easing me into it and getting me going and getting my confidence. I’m pretty excited to continue going and playing.
Q. Do you feel more confident yet?
A. Obviously, the first couple games, I’m going to be a little nervous. I’m kind of starting to feel the league out. I think as I keep playing, I’m getting a bit more comfortable and gaining confidence. It’s growing and getting better every game. It’s going to be really important for me.
Q. You carried a puck all the way to the goal line and almost scored Thursday against Minnesota Duluth. What happened on that play?
A. I saw Gavin Hain coming up the wall and I thought I could go back door and find a seam. He made a really good play to me. I tried to cut across the crease and go five-hole. The goalie got his stick on it and made a pretty good play.
Q. You scored quite a few goals as a defenseman in juniors and prep. Did you score most of them doing that or with point shots?
A. A couple of them came on the power play last year. I think I get them more with shots than anything in close. I have to do a better job of getting my shot through screens, because that’s mostly how I scored last year.
Q. When the Pod began, were you aware your opportunities were coming up with the World Juniors approaching, knowing UND would lose a couple players?
A. Honestly, I didn’t really know (Tyler) Kleven was going to go. We knew (Jake) Sanderson was going to go. That’s awesome for those two. I wish them the best of luck. I can’t wait to watch them play. Coach (Brad) Berry told me my opportunity was coming soon. You never know when that’s going to happen. I just wanted to be ready. I got my chance and I’m hoping to do the best with what I can.
Q. Did playing a little bit in Sunday’s game against Western Michigan help prepare you for the larger minutes against Denver and Minnesota Duluth?
A. The Western game definitely helped me get my nerves out. Then, Denver and Duluth, especially Duluth, they sent two guys (on the forecheck) and the speed was really high. I think it’s good I’m getting to play these (challenging) games early to get used to the speed. It also helps we play so many games in close proximity here. I get to move on to the next game after I play one.
Q. What areas of your game did you most improve last year in Chilliwack?
A. I think the biggest thing with going to juniors was learning to play more defensively and being more accountable in the D-zone. I thought I did a pretty good job learning that last year. The coaches this year have done a great job going over film with me.
Q. You said you immediately re-watched Thursday’s game in the hotel room after your postgame dinner. Is that common for you?
A. Yes, we have XOS ThunderCloud. We get to watch all of our shifts over again. Most guys go back and watch their shifts over, just to re-think the game and close the page on that game so they can move on. They can see what they did well and what they need to improve on next game.
Q. Have you gone over to Baxter to watch other games at all?
A. Yeah. Most guys have gone over and watched a couple games, just to see who we’re playing in the next couple of days or just to get out of the hotel room.
Q. What else have you been doing during down time in the Pod?
A. We have a pool table downstairs, so we’ve been playing a bit of pool. I’m not the best player. We recently got a foosball table and a gaming machine as well. Adam (Scheel) and I threw the football around the other day. There’s been a lot of Xbox with the guys. We’ve been hanging out. We’re pretty lucky with our hotel. We have a nice downstairs area, where we all get to hang out. It’s really nice.
Q. What do you play on Xbox?
A. We’ve been switching it up. It’s some NHL, but it’s mostly Call of Duty.