by Tim Kolehmainen, Editor of The BREAKDOWN
The Moorhead Spuds began the season with a great 5-0-1 streak, surging up in the Class AA rankings in the process. The high point was a 5-0 victory at Section 8AA rival Roseau, in which the Spuds completely stymied the Rams' offense throughout. Rougher times have hit in recent weeks, as Moorhead has struggled to score during a six-game losing streak, although many of the games have come against the top-ranked teams in Class AA. The Spuds try to get back track on Saturday night at Minnetonka and will have to receive a full effort from their offense and defensive corps.
One of the key members of that defense, senior captain Jason Strand, recently did a Q and A with the Breakdown to discuss his hockey history, the best part of playing high school hockey and his Spuds.
The Breakdown: How did you get started playing hockey? Do you have older siblings/parents who have also played? And what is your favorite moment playing hockey?
Strand: One of my buddies got me into the sport. He was actually a year ahead of me in hockey, and I saw how much fun he was having so I decided to give it a try. There is no one in my family that I have ever heard that has played hockey, so I think I’m the first. My favorite moment playing hockey was at Pee Wee A Regionals. We lost to Duluth East 9-1 earlier in the year, and we played them in the Region finals. We won 3-2. I was so excited, I can’t even describe the feeling.
The Breakdown: What kind of training do you do for hockey, both in- and off-season?
Strand: I go four days a week to Noonan Strength Systems off-season, along with skating five days a week during Blueline Hockey School. During the season, it’s kind of hectic with games on different days, but as a team we usually lift weights and do plyometrics two or three times a week.
The Breakdown: Give me a short scouting report on yourself as a player. What are your strengths?
Strand: I’m a pretty big guy out there. I am going to work as hard as I possibly can every shift, and I am a team player.
The Breakdown:This is the cliche question, but what player did you grow up following for perhaps style of play?
Strand: I never really styled my play after anyone, but my favorite player was Joe Sakic. He knows how to put the puck in the net.
The Breakdown: What's the best part of playing high school hockey and why?
Strand: Definitely, the camaraderie. I get to hang out with my friends and play hockey at the same time. What could be better?
The Breakdown: You guys got off to a great start this year but have stumbled in recent weeks with scoring. Does that change the mindset on defense at all? What do you go into a game trying to accomplish on defense?
Strand: When the offense struggles, I do feel like the defense needs to step up and play better. I also trust the fact that if our defense struggles, our offense will step up, too. As a team we take pride in our defensive game, it also helps that we all have confidence in our goalie.
The Breakdown: Tell me about your defensive mates...what kind of skills and such do each bring to the ice?
Strand: They all bring their own skill set to the table. I’m not always good, but I can count on whoever I play with to pick up the slack for me.
The Breakdown: What is it like putting on the jersey for a program with a history like Moorhead? Is there a sense of pride? Responsibility? Nervousness?
Strand: It’s awesome! Unless you’ve done it yourself, you will never know what it feels like. There’s a huge amount of pride and responsibility that comes from being a Spud. The first time I dressed as a sophomore was the most nervous I have ever been, but I would honestly not want to play for any other team!
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