With the Gophers off until the end of December, we're bringing back our Freshman Faceoff series. Get to know each of this year's newcomers including this week's featured freshman -- goaltender Ryan Coyne.
Ryan Coyne finished a standout career at Maple Grove High School in 2010-2011. His senior season he posted a 1.72 goals against average and a .923 save percentage collecting a 20-4-2 record. He spent last season playing in the North American Hockey League where he was challenged because of a set of injuries. We caught up with Coyne earlier this season for this week's Freshman Faceoff.
What does it feel like to be a Golden Gopher?
"It is a great feeling to know I am playing for a team that I have looked up to. I have been a Gopher fan my entire life. Ever since I was a kid, I dreamed of playing for this team. It is a good feeling to say I accomplished that."
Since you have been a lifelong fan of the Gophers, what is your best childhood memory?
"I remember when they won both national championships in the early 2000s. I was watching on TV. I remember running around at my buddy's house and screaming with them. It was a lot of fun."
What do like best about being a goalie?
"I like playing goalie because, even though hockey is a team sport, you are kind of on your own back there. You control what you and the team do. I like having that responsibility and pressure."
How have you developed since finishing a very successful career at Maple Grove in 2010-11?
"I learned a lot of life lessons. I learned you need to do what needs to be done if you want to get where you want to be. I learned a lot when it comes to work ethic and competitiveness. You really have to love what you do and do everything in your power to get better at it."
What do you think is the biggest asset you have when you are in between the pipes?
"My size and my mobility. I play very positional to get in the right spots to make the save. I also use my size to cut down angles."
Is there an NHL goalie you like to model your game after?
"I have been watching Niklas Backstrom a lot because I have been going to a lot of Wild games. I get some inspiration watching him play."
What is your favorite activity when you need to get away from the rink?
"I like to spend a lot of time with my buddies playing NHL 12 (videogame) waiting to get NHL 13. All of my buddies are in to baseball, so I will occasionally go and toss a ball around with them. I also love to golf. I have been a big golfer my whole life and it is something my family likes to do together."
How has the adjustment to taking college classes gone for you?
"It has been going pretty well. I took a couple classes last year, so I was a little used to the routine. Since the semester started, I am doing fine in making the adjustment."