This Q&A ran in the Buckeye gameday program for the Bowling Green series Jan. 8-9
Junior goalie Dustin Carlson, from Forest Lake, Minn., took over as the team’s starter last season, earning national player of the month accolades in November and posting 21 wins, the fourth-highest win total in program history. He talks break, food, and how he became a goalie – and a Buckeye.
The team is coming off a long time away from Columbus. What did you do over break?
For the most part I slept in a lot, trying to catch up on sleep. I got to spend a lot of time with my family. The holidays put a real damper on my wallet so I actually got to spend a lot of time at home. I was able to go out and see a few of my old buddies and also hung out with (Buckeye freshmen and fellow Minnesota natives) (Brandon) Martell and (Alex) Carlson a bunch. It was a good time – I hung out, slept a lot and ate good food. It was good to get out of Columbus for a bit.
What’s the best holiday food?
Anything my mom makes. Whatever dinner she decides it’s going to be delicious. She’s the best cook I’ve ever run into in my life.
Hockey is different than most sports and takes a midseason break. Does the long break help?
The break is a huge benefit. By the time you hit midseason everyone just wants to get out of there for a bit. Whether it was a good first half and you want to celebrate it a little or a rough first half like ours it’s good to get out of here and recharge the batteries. It helps to get away from the sport and the intensity for a while.
What does the team need to do in the second half of the season?
We need to find consistency. We would have one really good game and a bad game each series. We need to be able to put two good games together every weekend from here on out. We can’t afford too many more games if we want a shot of getting a bid into a tournament and getting a run into the playoffs. We need to find some scoring and our power play needs to step up. On my end the goalie is supposed to be the best penalty killer and we’re at 70 percent or something so that’s not saying a lot.
How did you become a goalie?
Right when I started playing hockey. It was my first team practice when I was a mite, after I finished skating lessons. Going into practice my mom said I could play any position except goalie. But, the coach asked if anyone wanted to play goalie and I said I would. I don’t know why, but it worked out.
What’s your favorite part of playing goalie?
The pressure. If we lose it’s kind of on me but if we win it’s sometimes on me too. There’s a lot of pressure back there. They have to get through five guys to get a shot on net – I’m the last line of defense. If you mess up everyone knows about it and if you make a big save everyone knows about it.
What’s the hardest part of being a goalie?
The pressure – just being able to handle it. To get to this level every goalie has found a way to deal with it. At this point it’s just about being consistent.
How did you end up at Ohio State?
In my last year of juniors I didn’t have much interest from Division I teams. In March our old assistant coach Jason Lammers came to watch somebody else on my team play and I pulled out a good game. He came to watch me play one more time. I didn’t have many other offers heading my way, so I said “Sign me up.”
How’d it work out for you? Are you happy with the decision?
It’s worked out great for me. Freshman year was a little rough with the season we had. Last year I had a great season and our team had a phenomenal season. In return I had a great season. It’s a little rough this year so far but it’s still fun.