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Faust a Fast Fit

Friday, October 7th
Faust a Fast Fit

Already sporting the first shiner of training camp, new Steelheads defenseman Joe Faust glided off the ice smiling following the second practice of training camp. Faust had caught an elbow to the face late in Thursday's practice, leaving a scrape and a dark bruise just under his left eye. It’s all part of a day’s work in Faust’s new office.

“There’s no holding back and the coaching staff stressed that the first day. They want us to go hard and to battle,” laughed Faust. “I can’t get upset when that stuff happens because I’m sure it’s going to happen again.”

Faust has no problem with the rough stuff, a sound physical defenseman who was brought in this summer largely because of his steady play in his own zone. Faust has played 34 AHL games with Albany over the last two years and also spent 38 games last year in the ECHL with Adirondack. He’s already showing his experience as a steady presence in his own end.

“He’s going to be huge for us, I can already tell. He’s in good shape physically and he’s already taken on a leadership role for this team,” said Steelheads Head Coach Neil Graham, who is already getting a good long look at Faust skating alongside another stalwart defender in Corbin Baldwin.

Faust describes himself as ‘defense first’, a player who will jump into the play when he can but is at his best shutting down the other team’s top players. That fits in just fine with the Steelheads’ scheme, but Faust also has raw skills that can certainly produce some offense this year.

“I think first and foremost, the job of our defenders is to keep pucks out of our net. But with his skating and with the shot he has, there’s definitely reason to believe he will contribute offensively as well,” said Graham. “We expect him to be a leader on this team and as the season goes on, he’ll get opportunities in different areas.”

One of those areas will likely be on the penalty kill, one of the Steelheads greatest strengths last season when it was ranked second in the league. Faust is already getting a chance to build some chemistry with one of Idaho’s best penalty killers last year in Baldwin.

With the team just starting to dive in the meat of the systems work, Faust already knows his style of game is a good fit in Idaho. Yet that’s not the only reason why he is in a Steelheads sweater today. Another Steelhead chipped in with a key assist during the summer.

“What got it started was talking to Jefferson,” said Faust. Jefferson Dahl was Faust’s teammate at the University of Wisconsin for four seasons, and his roommate for three.

“I was looking for somewhere to play and explored some options and he said a lot of good things about this organization. I got in touch with Coach Graham and after talking with him I could hear his passion and excitement. It was something I wanted to be a part of. “

Dahl knows firsthand that Faust will be a calming presence on the back end who can help Idaho’s transition game.

"He works hard every night and makes simple plays. He does everything the right way,” said Dahl. “He plays a solid defensive game and he brings some toughness. He’s going to win battles in the corners and make that good first pass.”

The Steelheads first two practices of camp have focused on tempo and given some attention to the details in the defensive zone, where Faust has already stood out. Ready to begin his third pro season, Faust said he already feels more comfortable and confident than in any of his previous training camps.

“I love it so far,” said Faust. “Our game is about possessing the puck, playing with speed and as a team. There’s a focus on good character and I think that’s why they’ve built the team the way they have.”

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