Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- For International Falls, Minn. native and University of Minnesota-Duluth (UMD) sophomore defenseman Willie Corrin, the difference a year can make has been simply incredible.
"From last year, it's just a learning experience," Corrin said. "I was out there like a deer in headlights, but now I'm more into the games and preparing better. I'm trying to do all the little things right to keep getting myself in the lineup."
Corrin played just 15 games for the Bulldogs as a freshman, but he, and those around him, are hoping for a larger contribution in his sophomore season.
"He's a big kid who handles the puck well and sees the ice well," head coach Scott Sandelin said. "I think defense is one area we've continually been trying to work with him on since last year. We want him to be a little more physical and use his size, and those are things that are still coming. He's very good with the puck. He can be on the power play, and that's where some of his strengths lie."
Early in the season he's been paired a bit with another Northland guy, that being Duluth, Minn. native and fellow sophomore Andy Welinski.
"I think we're really similar players, actually, in that we're both offensive when we can be," Welinski said. "Obviously playing together more would help us out, but I've had fun playing with him. I do think that we link up pretty well."
"You know he's going to be there to back you up," Corrin said. "He's a fun guy to play with, and if you make a mistake he's always the first guy on the bench to say it's okay and pick you up. He's a calming influence for sure."
So moving forward this year is really about putting it all together for Corrin --- be the offensive guys he likes to be and couple that with the defensive guy his coaches need him to be.
"I like to think I'm an offensive defenseman," Corrin said. "I like to put up a few points, but I'm also working really hard on my defensive game right now. It's about being in the right position, taking away passing lanes, and being more physical. At the same time, I like to put a few points up."