College hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune covering the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs men's and women's teams, as well as the NCAA Division III programs at St. Scholastica and Wisconsin-Superior.
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DULUTH—As Minnesota Duluth's run to the 2017-18 national championship showed, the program is well equipped to deal with the early departures of underclassmen. The team lost three last offseason to the NHL after falling in the NCAA title game to Denver, so it stands to reason the Bulldogs will lose one or more this spring and summer after beating Notre Dame for the crown on Saturday. But how prepared is head coach Scott Sandelin to possibly replace his coaching staff?
INSIDE UMD captain Karson Kuhlman signs with NHL's Bruins, B3 ST. PAUL—Hunter Shepard sat in his locker stall Saturday, April 7, at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul grinning ear-to-ear. The former Grand Rapids goaltender just backstopped the University of Minnesota Duluth to its second NCAA championship in program history, stopping 19 of the 20 shots Notre Dame had sent his way.
ST. PAUL — A number of Bulldogs played with heavy hearts Saturday, April 7, during their NCAA championship victory over Notre Dame at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. That was especially true for Minnesota Duluth's junior assistant captain, Parker Mackay, whose friend and former teammate, Conner Lukan, was one of 15 Humboldt Broncos killed Friday in a bus crash.
ST. PAUL — For Minnesota Duluth, X marks the spot. Again. The Bulldogs won their second national championship on Saturday night on the same ice they won their first title back in 2011, beating Notre Dame 2-1 in the final of the 2018 NCAA Frozen Four at Xcel Energy Center before a raucous pro-UMD crowd of 18,303. Just 365 days ago, UMD lost in the national championship game, 3-2 to Denver, at United Center in Chicago. As painful as that day was for players such as Karson Kuhlman and Jared Thomas, both said they'd gladly re-live it.
ST. PAUL — At the beginning of the season, statistical workers in the Amsoil Arena press box took guesses at how many goals Minnesota Duluth senior center Jared Thomas would score in 2017-18. The most any one of them was willing to give Thomas was six. The low was two.
ST. PAUL — No one frowns on gambling quite like the NCAA. So when Ohio State coach Steve Rohlik said Wednesday during a pre-Frozen Four news conference, "I'll take my chances" against a Minnesota Duluth squad his Buckeyes could have eliminated weeks ago, Rohlik should have known better. We all should have known better. The Bulldogs continue to prove their doubters wrong and make those who gamble against the program look ridiculous, this time with a 2-1 victory over Ohio State on Thursday night in an NCAA Frozen Four semifinal at Xcel Energy Center.
ST. PAUL — Making their first NCAA tournament appearance in eight years, Ohio State was poised to pull a major upset last year in Fargo. The fourth-seeded Buckeyes had rallied in the third period from a 2-0 deficit to force overtime against Minnesota Duluth, which was not only the West Regional's top seed, but the second overall seed in the 16-team NCAA field.
DULUTH, Minn.—For Hermantown native Dylan Samberg, the 2018 World Junior Championship tournament in Buffalo, N.Y., was a turning point in his first season at Minnesota Duluth. Until then, the Bulldogs freshman defenseman was experiencing an up-and-down season one might expect from a player who was making the jump straight from high school to college. He had just four assists and a minus-5 rating in his first 19 games.
DULUTH—Minnesota Duluth assistant coach Brett Larson doesn't need to have his eyes on the ice to know when senior captain Karson Kuhlman has hit the turbo button. All he has to do is take a look down at the Bulldogs bench. "You can see it when it's happening for sure and what you can see is the body language on the bench," Larson said. "You can see the shoulders come up, the heads come up and I'll tell you what. If I'm a guy on the bench and I see my captain playing that way, there's no excuse for me to go out there and give anything less."
DULUTH, Minn.—Minnesota Duluth sophomore goaltender Hunter Shepard has put together a stellar season in 2017-18, his first as the Bulldogs starter. But in the moments following a second consecutive NCAA West Regional title, the Cohasset, Minn., native was kicking himself for the one goal he let in that night, a fluke puck that bounced in off his skate. "The last couple months I've only had to make 3-4 decent saves," Shepard said. "Personally the last two weekends, I haven't been my best."