Cloquet, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Minnesota Wilderness goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo has stood out this 2013-14 season mainly because of his play on the ice, but there is one other really good way to distinguish Kaskisuo from his teammates -- he's originally from Europe.
"We have a guy from Germany and a guy from Slovakia too, so I'm mixed in with the Euros," Kaskisuo said. "They make fun of us a bit because of our accents."
The playful taunts continue when you consider Kaskisuo's position -- goaltenders have long been considered some of the quirkiest on a hockey team.
"We like to think we're a little weird," he said. "I think that too, but I take some pride in that. It's a team game, but it's an individual sport for every guy on the team."
"I think he's got a fantastic goaltending demeanor," head coach Corey Millen said. "He's pretty calm and pretty relaxed. He's a witty, fun-loving guy. I think he's got a perfect goaltending demeanor, to be honest with you."
That demeanor has translated to success this season for Kaskisuo.
He's among the league leaders in ever major statistical category, with most of his numbers best termed as downright outrageous.
"It's been a lot of fun so far being able to be consistent day in and day out," he said of playing with the Wilderness. "Guys are working hard and making it easy on me."
"He's been really solid in the net for us and given us a lot of chances to win games," defenseman Terry Leabo said. "It's nice to know we have a goaltender there to support us and helps us win big games."
And it's winning games with the Wilderness that's one of the biggest keys for Kaskisuo and his future, which hopefully lies with a Division I college program here in the States.
"I certainly see him playing college hockey. He's getting a ton of attention right now, and that's good for him and the rest of our boys," Millen said "We're seeing a lot of Division I guys coming into our building and watching us play, and that's a great thing to see."
But for now, it's more about continuing to play well and having some fun for Kaskisuo, who says Cloquet, Minn. has provided him a small taste of his home in Finland.
"The weather here is basically the same as in Finland," he said, laughing, "so it's not a big change."