Recently, I had a chance to sit down with freshman goalie Cam Johnson. Being a backup to UND goalie, Zane McIntyre isn’t easy. The backup goalie isn’t going to see a lot of ice time.
So far this season, Johnson has played 43:20 minutes, giving up four goals on 17 shots. Johnson has compiled a record of (0-0-0, 5.54 GAA, .765 SV%).
During two seasons in the USHL, Johnson compiled a record of (27-23-10, 2.87 GAA and a .915 SV%).
Johnson is best known for his playoff performance during the 2013 USHL playoffs, when he led the Fargo Force to the Clark Cup Finals and went (4-3, 2.40 GAA and a .931 SV%).
Because he doesn’t get a lot of time in the spotlight, I thought it would be interesting to talk with Johnson and share his thoughts.
Eric Burton, the Hockey Writers: Is it tough playing behind Zane McIntyre?
Cam Johnson: Yeah, it’s tough, because he’s great. He’s a good goalie. I don’t play as much as I would like to. He’s a good partner to have. He’s been a good mentor, showing me the ropes.
Just talking with the coaches, they said keep your confidence. Keep working hard in practice. That’s what I have been doing. I still prepare like I am going to play. I haven’t played as much as I would like to. I am not upset about it. We’ve been doing well and he’s been playing well, so it’s been good.
EB: Did you play with Zane McIntyre when you were at Fargo?
CJ: He left before I got there. I followed him.
EB: What’s a kid from Troy Michigan doing in Grand Forks and Fargo?
CJ: Originally, I made Green Bay in the USHL. I also I tried out for Fargo, before I tried out for Green Bay. Fargo invited me back to their final camp, but Green Bay guaranteed me a spot on their final roster. That’s when I decided to take the safe route and take the final spot there. Plus, I had a couple of good buddies on the team. I ended up making Green Bay and after the Fall Classic, they traded me over to Fargo.
The ironic part of it, we played Fargo in the Fall Classic and I shut them out. Then they traded me over there. That’s how I ended up over there. Then, after the season, I was fortunate that I had played well enough in the playoffs I started talking to North Dakota.
EB: Was it fun playing in Fargo?
CJ: Yeah, I liked it. We had a good crowd at most of our games, because we had a pretty good team that year. So, it was a lot of fun. We had a good group of guys, it was an enjoyable year. I think going into the playoffs, no one expected us to do as well as we did. I think we kind of shocked a lot of people. I enjoyed my time there. They have a good program there and good people there.
EB: North Dakota hosts a regional at the Scheels Arena, how big is that?
CJ: That’s going to be cool. I know there will be a ton of Force and North Dakota fans there. It will be cool seeing everyone there again. It’s so close to home here so I am sure we’ll have a good turnout there. Yeah, that will be cool; it will be interesting playing in my home arena.
EB: Favorite NHL team?
CJ: I have to go with the Red Wings, the hometown boys. I grew up with season tickets and went to a ton of games. So I have always been a Red Wings fan
EB: Did you have a chance to go to Major Juniors?
CJ: I didn’t. I think maybe if I wanted to, I could have tried out with the Plymouth Whalers. But I always want to go the college route, so I never thought about going Major Juniors.
EB: Growing up in Michigan, which school were you a fan of?
CJ: I was always a bigger fan of Michigan growing up. My dream school, when I was younger was Michigan. As I got older, North Dakota was always in the talk for the top team in the nation. They always do well in the national tournament. So, when I started talking to UND, I thought it was would be unreal to go here. As I got older leaned more towards UND.
Eric is a 1996, 1999 graduate of the University of North Dakota. Eric covers the University of North Dakota Hockey and Division I college hockey. Eric is the Contributing Editor for Inside Hockey.