Jerry Freismuth has always set high expectations for himself and his teammates, and this year is no exception.
After helping the Alexandria Blizzard to its first Robertson Cup Championship Tournament appearance a year ago, the third-year forward wants nothing more than another crack at an NAHL title.
“We definitely want to get back really bad, because we thought we underachieved there last year,” said Freismuth, whose team was winless at the tournament, which was hosted and won by St. Louis. “It was a great experience and we wish we could have done better, but that’s over with.
“Now that the season has started, we have our eyes focused on getting back and we really want it more this year, because we know what it’s like to face adversity and we to get back there and take it.”
And Freismuth is leading the charge early on, sitting atop the NAHL’s scoring chart three weeks into the season. The reigning Central Division Player of the Week has three goals to go along with 12 assists in eight games for the Central Division-leading Blizzard.
“We’re off to good start, the team’s playing with confidence and I’ve had some good players around me helping me out, so I have to give a lot of credit to my teammates,” said Freismuth, who did his offensive damage last weekend on a line with Garrett Grimstad and Joe Knoepke.
After his final year of Midgets with Little Caesars in Detroit, Freismuth, who calls Grosse Point Woods, Mich., home, ventured out to Minnesota where he began his junior career with the Minnesota Junior League’s Minnesota Ice Hawks.
Halfway into that 2006-07 season, he was summoned to Alexandria where he put away four goals for 23 points in team’s final 34 games. He more than doubled that point total last year and finished at a plus-32.
“My first year I was lucky enough to play with some good players - some older players - so they really helped turn me into the player I am now. They helped me out coming into the league, and gave me some more confidence and that’s huge for younger guys,” said Freismuth. “Now I’m the older guy helping out the younger guys, so it’s kind of come full circle.”
Freismuth, who turns 20 on Oct. 28, stayed in Minnesota for the first part of the summer before returning home to Michigan in July to spend time with friends and family. Wherever he was, off-season conditioning was a priority for the 5-foot-10, 170-pounder.
“We have a really good training program in the summer and I did that every day,” he said. “I worked out as hard as I could every day, skated as much as I could, dryland, all that good stuff.”
Freismuth is high on the potential of this year’s team. From the returning vets to the promising newcomers, he’s confident the Blizzard has the all the ingredients to make another charge at the Robertson Cup.
“I said this in the locker room, that out of my three years here, this is the most talented team I’ve been on, right up from our new, young guys to our older guys… very talented, very talented group of guys.”
And Freismuth, a Division I hopeful, is counting on the team’s success to generate college interest for not just himself, but for his teammates as well.
“I have confidence in my coach (Brad Willner) that he’s going to work hard to move myself and other players (to college),” said Freismuth, who spoke with a few schools at last month’s NAHL Showcase Tournament. “I just look at it like the better we do as a team, the better opportunity we’ll have to go to a school that we want to go to.”