1-on-1 With Austin Poganski

Roadrunners Forward Austin Poganski joined Adrian Denny, Kim Cota-Robles, and Jonathon Schaffer who filled in for Arizona Daily Star Sports Editor Brett Fera this week on Roadrunners Happy Hour. Catch Happy Hour every Tuesday at 5 p.m. on Fox Sports 1450 AM and the complete conversation in the Roadrunners Happy Hour Podcast on the iHeartRadio app.

Listen to “Who Likes Eggnog?” on Spreaker.

Q: Did you feel that Colorado was a good test for the team this past weekend?

They’re one of the top teams in our conference every year. From top to bottom, their goaltending is really good. Then, they have a couple experienced of older defensemen with Brad Hunt and a couple other players that kind of get their team going every night; and then their forwards are very good. They have a lot of guys that are up and down from the Colorado Avalanche and then back down to the Eagles. It was a big test for us. I’m already looking forward to the next time we play them (April 12, 13 at Tucson Arena) because I think they bring the best out of our team, and I think we do the same for them. So that’s going to be a good a couple games that we have later in this season. I think they’re going to come down to just playing the right way, getting pucks in, I think that’s kind of our MO here with the Roadrunners too. That is doing the little things like the fundamentals that Coach Potvin always talks about. He says hammer the fundamentals. When we’re doing that, we’re having good success and we’re winning games.

Q: Do you have any past relationships on the team from teams that you have played for in the past? You’ve played for quite a few.

Funny you say that, my first couple games after my senior year of college at North Dakota, I came and played for San Antonio and Travis Barron was there. Also, Zach Sanford (Sanford was recalled to the Coyotes on Tuesday). I’ve played with him on a of couple different teams: San Antonio there for a year or two, St. Louis for a year, and then we just barely crossed paths in Winnipeg two years ago. Me and him have kind of grown a nice relationship over the years. Besides that, it’s a lot of new faces, but man, we have quite a fun group here. We have a lot of younger guys, but it’s a lot of fun. They kind of keep me a little bit younger too, which I appreciate for sure.

Q: It looks like a lot of the guys that move from college to the AHL are Business majors, does that translate to anything on the ice?

Looking back at different college players that are now playing here, I would say a lot of them are business majors, like you said, and there’s also a good group that are communications majors as well. I think in hockey have to be able to communicate with different teammates whether they’re from the United States or overseas like Slovakia and Czech Republic. Being able to communicate, being on the same game plan, I think that’s really important. The business aspect; being creative, being able to develop in a different system, whether it’s on the ice like our job here or off of the ice.  With business there’s different ways to be able to kind of grow as a group. I think the business major and the communications major are common ones for college guys.

Q: Do you and your wife have a favorite spot in Tucson for dinners?

North Italia. That’s one of our favorite spots. Flower Child too. It’s very healthy, I think, the ingredients and all the food that they have is very clean and fresh, so we really like that place. We’re trying to find some new places. There are so many good options around here, it’s just finding the ones that you can get to. The one we just went to a couple nights ago was Michelangelo I think. Very good.

Q: When someone gets kicked from the faceoff circle, how do you decide who’s coming in to take it?

So usually, the center will take the original draw depending on how he’s doing. I don’t want to get too technical, but depending on what side, and who you’re going against You want to put a righty on the right side because it’s easier to win that puck to the corner instead of towards your net. We want it going towards the boards. That’s one take, like you want to have a right-handed on the right side and a left-hander on the left side. It also depends on the other team, who their sentiment is, is he is a left-handed, is he right-handed, because that also goes into percentages because a righty on a righty is harder than a righty on a lefty. There is a lot that kind of goes into it. Some guys just don’t take draws in general, like Josh Doan doesn’t really take draws. He’s more of a just stay on the wing guy, but some guys really like to get in there and kind of grind the puck back. We’re actually really lucky to have some really good centers on our team with Travis Baron, Justin Kirkland and Nathan Smith for example; we have a lot of guys that are good on the dot. It’s fun.

Q: Have you ever score a Teddy Bear Toss goal with the game coming up Saturday?

I have not. That’s actually on my bucket list. That’s a fun goal to score because you can kind of go wild and get a nice celebration and see how the teddy bears are flying but I’ve been a part of a lot of teddy bear games. They are a lot of fun. That’s always one of our favorite games and I think the fans enjoy that too because you get to bring your favorite teddy bear and throw it as hard as you can on the ice after we score that first goal. So yeah, we’re looking forward to that.