OMAHA, Neb. – UND rookie defender Brent Johnson moved back and forth in the lineup in the first half, but as injuries mounted he played a significant role in the final period. Johnson helped the Fighting Hawks to No. 1 in the National College Hockey Conference. He spoke to the Herald this week.
Q. When you weren’t playing much in the first half of the season, what were you working on to prepare for that opportunity?
A. I think the most important thing for me was my overall defense. I worked a lot with Karl (Goehring, assistant coach) on training videos and I worked with him every day, drawing his brain. Every day in training I focused on those little things.
Q. Were you watching videos of matches or practices?
A. Lots of videos of practices – exercises and repetitions that I received.
Q. Are you able to train and lift weights during the season to build strength or is it quite difficult?
A. It’s tough, but every guy on the team still lifts pretty much every morning. It’s an easy way to maintain muscle mass, which is really easy to lose during the season with our schedule. Thus, Mark (Poolman, sports trainer) takes us to the weight room every day to take a slight lift.
Q. What has changed the most for you between January and today?
A. I just think my confidence has grown a lot. I feel much more comfortable than in January. It’s been a lot of fun progressing and I’m excited to keep moving forward.
Q. What has it been like to play in these big games over time – and play a big role?
A. It’s exciting. This is very fun. I’m starting to learn how to win hockey games and what kind of atmosphere they preach in North Dakota. It’s fun to have a bigger role and be able to contribute and help the team win.
Q. What was the college experience like for you?
A. Overall it was really fun. The first half was a struggle – mentally and physically. As I progressed, it was one of the most fun times I’ve ever had, making memories with my teammates. It was a great experience.
Q. What is your favorite part of Grand Forks?
A. Friday and Saturday nights at Ralph. Nothing really beats that.
Q. What has been your favorite road trip so far?
A. The Hockey Hall of Fame game in Nashville was pretty cool.
Q. What is your favorite restaurant in Grand Forks?
A. I should probably go with Fuji.
Q. What restaurant does Grand Forks need?
Q. What is your favorite type of music?
Q. Who is your favorite musical artist?
A. Eric Church.
Q. What is your favorite movie?
A. I have to go with Miracle. I feel like it’s every hockey player’s favorite.
Q. Who is your favorite actor or actress?
R. Margot Robbie.
Q. If you could choose one destination for your vacation, where would you go?
Q. Have you ever been abroad?
A. No, never.
Q. If you could have dinner with three people – they can be living, dead or fictional people – who would you choose?
A. Wayne Gretzky, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.