Today we had the chance to talk with this year’s captain Gage Ausmus. He is an East Grand Forks native that was drafted 151st overall in 2013 by the San Jose Sharks. Last season, Ausmus had 11 assists.
Why did you decide to come back for one more season?
“There are many reasons, Number one is I just simply did not want to leave this place. I love this place and everything about it.I felt it was best for my career to come back before taking that next step. Getting a degree is really important to me. I think it is a great thing to have in your back pocket. You know you only go to college once. So I figured, I might as well stay here for four years”
What do you want to accomplish on and off the ice?
“Obviously, I just want to win games. That’s the goal every night. That’s that only goal all season. Then the next game we want to win that game. That’s all we look forward too. Being successful on the ice, obviously I want to be the best I can be to help my team win those games. Off the ice, I just want to be a leader in the locker room and grow my personality, I have learned so many different things in these last three years and how to approach people and how to handle different situations. You get a college degree and if hockey doesn’t work out get a good job.”
What are somethings you have learned at the Sharks development camps?
“I would have to bring out my book that I write when I am down there because they teach so many things. What is really important for the next level, foot speed, puck handling, how quick you have to make decisions. I was playing hockey before I went to my first camp for 16 or 17 years and they told me I didn’t know how to pass the puck correctly. Everything the critique is all for the best and I learn so many things every year I go there. It’s just a good place to go in the middle of the summer to refine my game.”
Which goalie is the toughest to score on (opposing team)?
“Charlie Lindgren (St. Cloud), Kasimir Kaskisuo (Duluth), Tanner Jaillet (Denver). I think everyone is just seeing this now, the goalies are just getting better and better every year and you’re just trying to find new ways to score. It’s just getting tougher each year. Especially for me, you know I had zero goals last year. So, I really have to do my studying this year.”
Which goalie is the toughest to score on (UND)?
“You know what, they are all great goalies, but obviously, Cam Johnson. I find it a challenge to score on him every time I come down on him. It’s just a mental game with myself that I usually come out unsuccessful. I have been in the shooting room just trying to work on that to be a little more successful on Cammer. He’s really tough to score on.
What part of Johnson’s play style makes him so hard to score against?
“The thing is, he is just so athletic and so competitive. He doesn’t give up on plays. You see some of the saves he makes in games, you should see him in practice There will be a 2 on 0 and the rebound will go to the back door, he’ll just dive for it and make a save. It happens at least once a practice. He is just so athletic and so competitive that he just doesn’t want to let the puck go and get behind him. I think that is what makes him so great!”
Describe your play style for a fan that has never seen you play before
“I think I am a first pass defenseman, well obviously defense first and then if I can jump up in the play and help on the offensive side I will help do that. I try to play a physical game and try to shut down the other team’s top line.”
What are some things you want to improve on the ice this year?
“I want to prove that I can chip in on the offensive side, I have the skills to do it. I really want to help my team on the offensive side. I think my defensive abilities are good and I should really work on my offence. I just want to show the fans that I can do that offensive side too.”