Editor's Note: This feature originally appeared in the September 11 edition of the Daily Mining Gazette.
HOUGHTON, Mich. – With the losses of six defensemen in the past two seasons, the Michigan Tech Huskies are in need of reinforcements along the blue line. Interestingly, that's where incoming freshman Eric Gotz fits in. A smart righthanded defender with a simple game, Gotz, who spent his last two seasons with the North American Hockey League's (NAHL) Minnesota Wilderness, put up 56 total points in 157 games over two seasons.
"I would describe myself as a smart (and) simple two-way defenseman (who) shuts down teams in the defensive zone," said Gotz. "Then (I like to) take opportunities in the defensive zone and just work on getting pucks to the forwards, allowing them to make plays and be there to help if they need it."
His offensive numbers last season with the Wilderness were impressive. He had 39 assists and 47 points in 60 games, Gotz believes in the same philosophy, when it comes to his own end of the rink, that Huskies head coach Joe Shawhan does, play a 200-foot game.
"(I) just (play) a simple, two-way, smart game," he said. "I think my hockey IQ is pretty top-notch. I think I've got a pretty good sense of the game with my brain. I just like to use that to hopefully out think someone or get an edge."
When asked what drives him, Gotz suggested that he has a high internal motivation to advance his gameplay. He felt that Michigan Tech, which has won two straight WCHA playoff titles, was the right place to push himself to be better.
"A lot of it's internal motivation," said Gotz. "There's also some external (motivation) with being in this program. It's such a rich program with a lot of history, especially recently with the WCHA championships."