Tuesday was Part I of our interview with now-former Force captain Brian Cooper (Nebraska-Omaha).
Cooper talked about the NHL Combine, the interviews he had with specific teams and how he managed to get it all done so he could return to Fargo for his high school graduation a day later.
In Part II, Cooper discusses the way the season went and what exactly went wrong in the Force’s playoff run which ended in the second round to the Lincoln Stars.
Q: Looking back, how would you describe the season?
Cooper: It was a good run. I was sitting with the coaches when they were chatting and Marksy said Lincoln was a worse match-up for us and Waterloo was a worse match up for Lincoln. We came together and played well and you cannot beat a team like Lincoln with a line-and-a half. That’s playoff hockey but look who showed up.The Guertler-Iafallo-Gust Line did really well and and surprisingly the Arentz-Brodzinski-Goff line did well. Then Zane, you knew he was going to show up. With the defense, myself, Wade, T-Bone, Willie, Roc all played hard and put in a lot of minutes. Fleming, who is a Swiss Army knife, did everything. We put him up at forward and then he went back to defense. We just didn’t have enough firepower. Lincoln has huge meatstick defensemen and they have a good goalie, two good lines who could put the puck in the net and there was not enough team toughness where as Waterloo, three lines, a good defensemen and on home ice can beat anyone wide. The guys who showed up held there own.
Q: What is your favorite memory from this past season?
A: I think we had a lot of laughs. Maybe (Cooper’s favorite moment was) just the life of the team when were on a nine-game winning streak, Coach was happy, we were happy and were just coming together and it was finally going well for us. Just the atmosphere. We had short, quick practices and everyone was having fun. Just seeing everyone together and no one was getting mad or fighting with each other and as a team, we were just happy and having fun playing hockey. Its what makes you want to play the sport. Going through rough patches and then having a winning streak. It was a relief off everyone’s shoulders and we were playing the way Marks, Byron and Jesse wanted us to play.
Q: Finally, what else have you been up to lately? Plus, where will you be during the NHL Draft and do you have anything special planned?
A: I went down to visit Omaha a couple weeks ago. It was whenever Nickelback was at the Fargodome. I got classes organized and visited the medical center and got everything down with my major, what route and I am still putting some pieces together. I think I’ll be in Fargo when draft is going on. I’ve thought about playing golf while it’s going on. I’ve told a few people I was probably going to have my phone off during the draft but my adviser told me it wasn’t a good idea in case a team wanted to call me and say they were drafting me.