Bulldogs' Basaraba Stepping into Key Role

By KBJR News 1

January 13, 2012 Updated Aug 30, 2012 at 8:42 AM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) --- The Florida Panthers liked what they saw from Joe Basaraba, enough to draft him in the third round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

UMD senior defenseman Scott Kishel, a Virginia native, calls that a smart move.

"You've got to love having him on the ice," Kishel said. "He's a great competitor, he puts the puck in the net, and he's got an unbelievable shot."

Some line shuffling earlier this season put Basaraba on the wing of senior center Jack Connolly on the team's first line, meaning the sophomore's new role is to shoot, and shoot often.

"Every time [Jack] gets me the puck, I've got to be ready to shoot that thing," Basaraba said. "He can dish from just about anywhere, and it's the same with [Seidel.] He can blast the puck, he can make plays, so I think we fit together as a good three-man line."

Connolly, now the nationwide points leader in college hockey, said it's nice having the 6-foot-2 Basaraba on his wing.

"My line mates are great," the Duluth native Connolly said. "I'm starting to have some great chemistry with them. [Joe] is a big power forward that's got some skill."

"They're a great couple guys to play with, and as long as we're winning games, it's fun," Basaraba said. "Jack and [Mike] are great to play with. It's an honor, and we'll hopefully keep rolling here."

Posted by Zach Schneider