First impressions leave lasting ones, especially in the sports world. If that were the case for freshman Gabe Bast, the lasting impression for me is that Bast a speedy defenseman who’s willing to take risks and get involved offensively, while not letting getting too out of position in his own end. After seeing his first action in five months, Bast took every opportunity to show off for his new team after three seasons in Junior A with the Pentiction Vees.
“I felt pretty good for the first time playing a game in five months,” Bast said post-game Friday. “My timing was pretty good and as it went on I got more comfortable.”
While he wasn’t noticeable at first, the Red Deer, Alberta native did get more comfortable and was able to get the trust of the coaches to put him out in more situations. As the game went on, UND put Bast out during power play situations and was out there for the only UND goal on Friday night, as well as putting him out there during the final seconds of a one-goal game. Bast took the last shot, but got blocked off the ankle of Minnesota’s Jack Ramsey to end the game. Despite that, Bast’s impression on the UND fateful was a positive one his first time out.
“Bast comes with a good resume playing in Junior,” said head coach Brad Berry. “He has experience, he’s been through a lot of games, and he’s won. We’re going to lean on him down the stretch”
The one question mark is durability. During his last two seasons in Pentiction, Bast missed 94 of a possible 116 games from 2015 until 2017, though he did come back late in the season for the Vees, helping win the BCHL title in 2017– his second with the team, the first coming in his rookie year in 2015. With the shoulder surgery that took him out of the first four games, coupled with the extremely freak Osteitis pubis (or inflammation of the pelvic muscles); Bast has plenty to make up for in missing his junior career due to it.
His size and skill will lead many to compare him to Boston’s Torey Krug– a small defenseman, who has plenty of offensive upside and not afraid to throw the body every once in a while. However, knowing that he’s the new guy on the block, Bast knows that it’s all about trust with UND.
“Any college game is tough the first time,” Bast mentioned. “I liked getting power play time. The coaches are using me and trusting me right now. I just gotta keep building and earn their trust more.”