Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- For Joe Basaraba, the transition from his sophomore to junior seasons on the University of Minnesota-Duluth (UMD) men's hockey team also included a bit of a role change.
"We obviously lost a lot of point-getters from last year, and I knew moving into this year's I'd be looked at to score some more goals," Basaraba said. "Hopefully I can continue to do that and keep pushing forward."
A third round selection of the Florida Panthers in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Basaraba has done well with his new responsibilities. He's fourth on the team with seven goals this year, two of those game-winners.
"He's been really good for us, and he's scored a lot of important goals," UMD sophomore forward Adam Krause said. "That's where we've needed him. He stepped into a role he needed to this year, and he's done well."
"The last two years he was more of a physical presence," UMD sophomore forward Justin Crandall said, "but he's got that ability to score goals. It's great to see him get rewarded for his hard work, finally."
Standing 6-foot-3 and weighing nearly 200 pounds, #18 for UMD won't ever be the typical goal scorer --- he still likes to get physical when given the chance.
"He's a big body and creates a lot of havoc in the offensive zone, and when he hits, you know he hits," Bulldogs senior forward Mike Seidel said. "He gets into people real well, and he's solid defensively, as well."
All this success for the UMD junior comes while the Bulldogs' lines are being shuffled almost weekly. Basaraba, though, has proven he can be successful in every situation.
"I've played with some great players, and I've played on a number of different lines as we keep moving them around," Basaraba said. "They seem to get me the puck, and if I can shoot it, that's a good thing."