When the Kootenay Ice traded a fourth-round draft pick to acquire Cam Hausinger over the summer, they knew that they were getting someone who would provide considerable energy and spark.
Lately, he’s also been putting up a lot of points.
Riding a seven-game point streak in which he has six goals and four assists, the undersized but dynamic forward has developed into one of the team’s most important players.
“For the first two months, we couldn’t find anyone who would go in front of the net and stay in front of the net, when guys were shooting [and] Cam was one of the last guys we tried,” said Ice head coach James Patrick. “He said to the coaches, ‘put me there and I’ll show you how it’s done’.”
Despite only being 5’10, Hausinger has been one of the most reliable physical presences on the Ice and has shone all season as a super-pest. In a single game against the Calgary Hitmen before the Christmas break, he drew four penalties and took opponents off their game left, right and centre.
That night was the only game of the past seven that he hasn’t scored in, but he picked up two assists. While you won’t see too many of his plays on highlight reels, they are the type of work that Patrick is looking for.
“We don’t know if he’s scored a goal from outside of two feet [from the net], but he scores dirty goals,” the coach said. “[He has a great] work ethic, he can be a bit of a disturber to the other team, he can kill penalties, he can block any shot. He has earned every bit of ice time, earned every opportunity, and he’s earning the success he is having now.”
Hausinger’s streak began on the road in Vancouver back on December 9, when he scored in an overtime loss against the Giants. With his individual success leading to team success, the Ice went on to win five straight and while they lost in overtime to the Medicine Hat Tigers last night, he had a goal that helped salvage the single point.
“[I’ve] just [been getting] to the right spots,” Hausinger said of his recent production. “I work a lot with [assistant coach] Gord [Burnett] and he helps me after practices and really shows me a lot of videos.
“Obviously, my linemates [also] contribute a lot [too]. [Brett] Davis has been good for us and Kaeden [Taphorn] as well. Whether it’s Kaeden or [Gilian] Kohler, they both have been [doing] well for us.”
Hausinger has also picked up a few of his points on the power play, which has been steadily improving despite still being statistically at the bottom of the league. Time with the extra-man has helped fellow forwards Davis and Alec Baer heat up lately as well, and both players are on their own five-game point streaks.
According to Baer, point production is an important duty for himself as one of the team’s veterans.
“Being 20, I feel like I should be leading on the ice and in the room. I want to be the guy that if we lose, it’s on me, and if we win, it’s on me,” he said. “Hausinger [and] Davis [have also been doing that]. They’ve been stepping up lately, so it’s been really good for us.”
However, while Baer and Davis have both been offensive leaders in the WHL before, it’s new ground for Hausinger. A 1999-born player, he previously managed 14 points in 78 games with the Saskatoon Blades and 12 points in 41 games with the Red Deer Rebels.
“He’s a competitive guy who can play in all situation [and] he’s an emotional, fiery player,” Patrick said of Hausinger’s rise as an offensive threat. “You don’t score [at this] level of hockey unless you take away the goalie’s eyes. He’s done it better than anyone on the team.”
Hausinger will look to continue his recent point-producing prowess as the team continues a very busy portion of their schedule. After playing at home on Monday, the Ice are in Lethbridge tonight to face the Hurricanes. They then play three more road games in Saskatchewan before returning home on Sunday.
The game against the ‘Canes will be of particular importance for Kootenay as they are neck and neck in the standings. While the Ice are currently in second place in the Central Division, behind only Medicine Hat, Lethbridge is just four points back with two games in hand.
In their last game on Saturday, the Hurricanes lost 3-2 in overtime to the Calgary Hitmen and are 4-4-2-0 in their last ten outings. In the only previous meetings between the two teams, the Ice lost 3-0 at home.
Puck drop is at 7 p.m. tonight at the Enmax Center.