The team has been playing some of the best hockey they have in years, and it is exciting to be a fan. Thinking about it at the end of last week, I was not sure who I should put under fire, but then Michigan Tech had a player stand out in the sweep of Minnesota-Duluth. He happens to be the man between the pipes, Mr. Cam Ellsworth (CE). He let me (MCH) pick his brain about this years club and the current successes. I want to thank Cam again and wish him and all the Huskies the best of luck this weekend and the rest of the year.
(MCH): Well first off, awesome weekend for you and the team. Nice to get two wins on the road. You played well in net again and received your third Defensive Player of the Week award in five weeks. Do you feel more is expected of you now that you have been playing so well?
(CE): Not really, I just try to go out every night and give the team a chance to win. There are going to be nights when the goalie is going to play well or a forward gets a hat trick. I just go and do what I can.
(MCH): Coach Russell called out the goalies in the first half of the season. That was a point in which the team was not getting much help defensively and were not finding ways to win. You and Bryce were splitting time at that point, too. Did you use that comment as motivation?
(CE): It was tough, I was frustrated, we weren’t winning, the whole team was frustrated. Coach Russell and I sat down and talked about everything. That helped me a lot, having an open forum about the season and myself as a player. It turned out to be a big positive.
(MCH): Since then, you have been in the net every game have something like a .940 save percentage, and right around 2.5 goals against average. What adjustments did you make in your game from that conversation?
(CE): Personally, I did not do much different, we played Denver that next weekend and as a team we played better. That helps me, it makes my job easier when everyone is playing better, and when I am playing well it makes everybody’s job easier, it is such a team game. I did not approach the game differently, we found success as a team, but I prepared the same and gave the same effort. Credit needs to be given to the team, as a whole, we have played better.
(MCH): I have been watching the team a number of years, and I think that Tech is playing some of the best hockey they have in many years, hopefully we can carry that on.
(CE): Yeah, we have an exciting team and a lot of exciting players, when we put it together, I think we have proven that we can beat a lot of very good hockey teams.
(MCH): You get to see all the offensive weapons from the opposing teams, and practice against ours, from what you have seen is there a better line than ours with Chris Conner, Taggart Desmet and Colin Murphy?
(CE): I don’t believe so, I think we have a really balanced team and our number one line, run DMC has a lot going for it. We also have a great power play. We have a bunch of great guys that do their jobs in all facets of the game. Offensively, Murphy, Conner and Desmet see the ice so well and
play well together, it is amazing. It’s a real treat to be a part of it and practice against them, and it makes me and everyone better.
(MCH): The defense has been improving from the beginning of the season, from what you can see, what are the things that they are doing well, and what are some of the things that they can still improve on?
(CE): From game to game we re-evaluate on how everyone is playing different situations, we communicate really well, the defensemen and myself. There are no huge adjustments, just tweaks here and there. The defense is clearing and letting me see the puck. They are working hard in front of the net and limit second and third chances, you can not ask for much more than that.
(MCH): You are seeing the puck well and getting in the right positions. It appears that you make some saves that seem impossible to make. Is there luck involved? What is your secret?
(CE): I am seeing the puck well at this time. I never quit on a play, and I feel that if I never quit, once in a while you knock out a few that maybe you shouldn’t.
(MCH): With winning comes the fans have now been coming out to the games, I think we had 3300 plus last Saturday on the home game, does having a group like the misfits and a full house help you and the team?
(CE): Yeah, they are great. The misfits came down to Duluth, they are very vocal. It is great to have fans that know you, recognize you, and cheer for you. Our band is great as well. When we get people in our house, it is a pretty intimidating place for other teams to come in and play. It gets loud, the fans are right on top of you the band gets going, we get a couple of goals, and it makes for a tough place to play. You can feel the electricity in the building as a player, especially when the fans get behind you. The other thing about our fans is they are smart fans, they cheer at the right times and boo at the right times. They understand the game, that is important, it is nice that they know what is going on, and they react in a way that is beneficial to us.
(MCH): Now that the season is coming to an end, where do you see a realistic ending is for this season?
(CE): Right now, the sky is the limit. The way we are rolling I would not sell us short now, we are playing well and are getting better every game. Sometimes it is not how you start, but how you finish. I think we can still play better hockey and we are peaking at the right time. I would not put it past us to win a number of games in the playoff. Winning is something that you learn how to do, we have beat some pretty good teams in pretty tough situations.
(MCH): With your career here coming to an end, do you have plans to continue playing hockey after this year?
(CE): I would love to keep playing, right now I have more pressing matters at hand. I am planning on sticking around this season for the long haul and go deep with this team. Right now I am not worrying about it. I do want to keep playing hockey and I hope that will continue on for me, as for now, everyone wants to keep going in the right direction and win some hockey games.
(MCH): Is there anything that you would like me to add or anything that you would like to say?
(CE): I just want to thank the town and all the fans, they should be commended on how they support the program. It was great throughout my four years here and hope it will continue with all the others to come.