DOT Champs: Another Chat with Ryan Duncan

To close the 2017-2018 NHL season, Washington Capitals forward, and star UND Alum T.J Oshie won the Stanley Cup as the Caps defeated the Vegas Golden Knights in five games. This marks a milestone for the famed Duncan-Oshie-Toews line that delighted UND fans in the 2006-2007 season. Everyone who played on that line has one at least one league championship in their professional careers.

Toews and Oshie both have their Stanley Cups(Three for Toews, One for Oshie), while Hobey Baker Award winner Ryan Duncan has four league championships in the Erste Bank Eishockey Liga  (EBEL) , the top pro league in Austria,  with Red Bull Salzburg in Austria along with an IIHF Continental Cup Championship. Duncan’s season kicks off in a few weeks as his side takes part in the Champions Hockey League, a European competition that is a best-on-best tournament for most top leagues in Europe.

Duncan has had some time to reflect on his two linemates, and the unique aspect of all three members of a college hockey line winning a league championship in professional hockey. Below are some questions of mine on his time at UND, and his thoughts on the success of his linemates along with some unique stories about them.

Tell us something about your linemates that people do not know.

1. “It’s tough to think of something that people don’t already know about both Osh and Jon because they’re such big public figures now but I have two stories about them that people might not know. First with Osh, I don’t know if this story has been told yet but I think he wasn’t supposed to come to UND in 2005. I think the original plan for him was to go play a year of junior and then come to UND in 2006. There were a couple guys who left early and signed pro in the summer of 2005 and that opened up a spot for Osh. As soon as he arrived on campus it was pretty evident he was more than ready for the college game and his outstanding freshman season proved that. Kind of a similar story with Jon. Jon had just turned 15 years old and decided to move from Winnipeg to Shattuck-St. Mary’s to further his hockey career. He was very highly touted and expectations were high for him coming in. When he arrived at Shattuck he had an underwhelming tryout to say the least. The Coaches ended up naming him to the Prep team (top team at Shattuck) anyway but I’ll never forget what the Coaches said at our first team meeting. They said they had selected some guys for the Prep team based on what they had done in the past and not necessarily what they had done in tryouts so they would have a lot of proving themselves to do during the season. Needless to say I think Jonny more than proved himself. He ended up leading our team in goals that season.”

What on-ice skills did you learn from your linemates?

2. “I learned a lot from both of them on the ice. Their talent is obviously elite but they did so many little things well. Osh was so strong on his skates and his puck skills were off the charts. The puck seemed to stick to his blade. Jonny was so tenacious and determined on the puck. He wouldn’t be denied. I try my best to mimic some of those characteristics but it’s easier said than done.”

What did it mean to see Toews and Oshie win their respective championships?

3. “To witness Jonny and Osh achieve the success they have had at the highest level of hockey has brought me a huge sense of pride. Whether it be their success Internationally or in the NHL, every time they do something special it reiterates to me how lucky I was to play with such world class players and people. And knowing all of the hard work they have put into obtaining those goals makes me appreciate them even more.”

How often do all three of you stay in touch?

4. “Admittedly, the three of us aren’t in contact as much as we used to be or we would like to be but when we do get to talk or spend time together it’s a real pleasure. We had an undeniable chemistry on the ice that is hard to find and that chemistry definitely extended to off the ice as well. We developed a deep bond during those years and even though we might not talk as much anymore that bond still runs deep.”

Looking back on your time at UND, what was your favorite class here?

5. “I was fortunate to have a lot of enjoyable classes with some great professors during my time at UND. If I have to pick one favorite class I would probably say one of my business management courses taught by Professor Kathy Jones. I’m a business management major so I believe Mrs. Jones taught me a few classes. She left a big impact on a lot of her students including me. She was very encouraging and she created a really fun classroom atmosphere.”

Whenever you retire from playing, do you know what you want to do next?

6. “I’m not sure what I want to do after I’m done playing quite yet. Hopefully I’ll stay involved with the game of hockey in some capacity but I’ve got a young growing family so what’s best for them will be my first priority. But hopefully I have a little more time to figure things out before I cross that bridge.”

 

Three Thoughts on UND Soccer Following the Preseason

(Photo Credit:Russell Hons/UND Athletics)

After the Fighting Hawks held on to win an exhibition victory over the University of South Dakota 2-1, Head Coach Chris Logan noted some things from Saturday’s sun-drenched affair on a scorching summer afternoon in East Grand Forks. Logan’s areas for improvement do not take away from the complete effort given by everyone during the exhibition season.On Saturday, he was impressed with his team’s ability to bounce back and hold on to the lead despite the physical battle against South Dakota.These areas will help provide a guide to what type of team UND will be this year. UND opens up its regular season this Friday against Nicholls State.

  1. This Fighting Hawks team has a lot of speed, especially from its freshman class. Olivia Knox and Cassie Giddings among others have had two superb games up front for the Fighting Hawks. Chris Logan wanted more complimentary pieces to superb senior scorer Katie Moller. It looks like he and his staff have provided those pieces to compliment Moller up front. Look for this superb freshman class to take advantage of the turf surface on UND’s temporary home field in East Grand Forks this season.
  2. Logan has noted UND’s need to win more physical battles. This became more evident in the South Dakota game. While UND won the game, South Dakota generated a lot of chances and won a lot of one on one physical battles. If the Fighting Hawks can get back to winning these key confrontations, they can limit chances generated and utilize their full arsenal of superb attackers to generate high quality chances.
  3. Finally, with the season opening this Friday at Nicholls State, UND needs to focus on what has worked so far this season. Utilize opportunistic chances and speed to get forward to open up the opposing defense. This team generates more chance on offense. The goal for this first weekend swing down south (Nicholls State, Southern) is to build on the offense while getting back to playing a lock down defense to limit opposing offense and using the back four to start counter attacks up to a full roster of forwards that can make plays in space. This Fighting Hawks team has shown consistent resilience and ability to persevere through games over the past two seasons to improve on their result even when the other team may generate more offense. That ability to bounce back will serve them well on this first southern swing this season.

 

 

 

MVSU-UND Preview: An Interview with First Year MVSU Coach Vincent Dancy

In just three weeks, UND Football will open its 2018 campaign against the Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU) Delta Devils at home in front of a raucous Alerus Center. I reached out to first year Head Coach Vincent Dancy for his thoughts on taking the MVSU job, what he is hoping to accomplish this season, and more. Check here for some thoughts from Clarion-Ledger reporter Tyler Cleveland on what to expect from MVSU this season, and what the Delta Devils should focus on as they prepare to make the trek north.

  1. What inspired you to take this job as head coach?
    • “I’ve always dreamed of being a head coach plus the rich tradition that MVSU has had in the past years made this job more appealing.”
  2. What type of style does your team play?
    • “Offensively we play a high tempo ground and pound system with multiple formations. Defensively we are an even front team with multiple coverages in the secondary.”
  3. Long-term, what is your vision of Delta Devils Football?
    • “My vision for Delta Devils Football [involves four areas].
      • For every athlete to complete their degree requirements.
      • To establish the football [team] as a consistent winner.
      • For [the] MVSU Football program to be one of the leaders in FCS attendance.
      • To win the Celebration Bowl.”
  1. What do you look to gain from your trip to Grand Forks?
    • “I look to gain a clear cut identity of who we are heading into the 2018 season.”
  2. Your offense features preseason 1st team all-conference wideout Quinn McElfresh. What do you expect him to bring to this team both on and off the field this year?
    • “Quinn is a special football player and our team knows that but we expect him to be more vocal and lead us on and off the field.”
  3. What does 1st team all- conference linebacker Patrick Harbin bring to the defense?
    • “Experience- Patrick has been in the program 4 years now and has been a contributor 3 of those years. So his knowledge of the game should help us out tremendously.”
  4. Who is one standout freshman fans should keep an eye on this season?
    • “Caleb Johnson, He’s a dynamic RB from Memphis, TN who can do a lot of things very well out of the back field.”
  5. What is your goal for this season?
    • “My goal is to have a first-class team and image in everything we do. Also, to be competitive in conference play and win games we are favored to win.”
  6. What does the program’s legacy mean to you, especially regarding helping 21 players get drafted by NFL teams?
    • “That’s one reason why I wanted this job. The legacy that Coach Archie Cooley, Willie Totten and Jerry Rice established here will forever be remembered. Also Deacon Jones, who invented the term “sack” will always be glorified as long as there is football being played!”
  7. What is the one thing you would tell fans in Grand Fork that they may not know about MVSU Football?
    • “That we’re hungry and ready like never before!”

Three Quick Thoughts on UND Soccer’s Preseason Opener 5-1 Victory:Beyond The Box Score

Last night, the University of North Dakota Soccer team got off to a fast start in their preseason opener against the University of Manitoba Bisons. They won the game 5-1 on a goal eight seconds in from Katie Moller, and a superb showing by freshman playing their first game helped spur the Fighting Hawks to an exhibition win.

  1. When the coaching staff mentioned which recruits that would contribute this year, each of them had a different answer. Head Coach Chris Logan’s answer of Olivia Knox proved very timely yesterday. She had a superb game getting multiple chances and using her speed to keep the offense going. Knox had two goals and an assist. The goals came from her crashing the net on a free kick rebound, and drawing a foul in the box. Knox converted the penalty kick she earned.
  2. Although she did not score a goal, Mimi Eiden, sophomore forward used her speed on the fast turf surface at East Grand Forks to setup numerous chances. The coaching staff was impressed with the winter and spring seasons she had, the 423 fans at last night’s game can understand why. We all knew that Eiden plays fast and uses her speed to generate chances, this turf field could propel her to even greater heights this year as she builds on a solid freshman campaign.
  3. Although Logan was quite happy with the offense, and pace of the game, one thing to watch as UND takes on South Dakota Saturday is its defense. Manitoba scored its only goal on a superb long shot towards the end of the game by utilizing gaps in UND’s defense. If the Fighting Hawks can matchup well against a Summit League squad on Saturday, even in exhibition play, it will be a sign of good things to come this season. The Fighting Hawks showed strong defense last season, if it can figure out the turf field and the offense can build on last night’s performance, good things are in store this season for UND.

UND Football: Coach Freund and The Jets- Izzy Adeoti

Coach Danny Freund is a fixture on regarding all things UND Football. From his playing days a superb quarterback(16-6 in two years as a starter, most accurate QB in UND Football history) for UND to his numerous roles coaching every position group on the offensive side of the ball except offensive line, Danny Freund has been there. Since Bubba Schweigert took over as UND Head Coach in 2014, Freund has been working with wide receivers.

Four years ago, during spring practice, Freund came up with a name for his position group. His wide receivers are referred to as “The Jets”. He and his position group came up with that name shortly into Bubba’s tenure as the group needed an identity. The group of players there and Freund went with that name because jets are ” fast… smooth, but they’re [also] really explosive.” That describes the type of player that Coach Freund looks for in his position group. As he noted, the players went with the nick name and it has stuck through to this season.

One Jet returning for his sophomore season is Izzy Adeoti. The Plano, Illinois native took a unique path to Grand Forks. The staff did not see him at any of their recruiting camps.Most UND recruits are seen by the staff at one of their camps held in the summers before a player has to commit to a school. Freund noted that the staff looked at Izzy’s numbers, especially numbers on his overall speed from other camps. Adeoti’s speed stats first drew UND’s attention to him. The staff stepped up their pursuit of him in October of Izzy’s senior year. Former UND recruiting coordinator and running backs coach Kevin Maurice, Offensive Coordinator Paul Rudolph, and Freund all were involved with recruiting Izzy.

Freund and the staff want Izzy to further utilize his speed to become a consistent deep threat this season. Watching some of Izzy’s high school film and select highlights from last season, along with seeing him in fall camp this year showcase his ability to do just that can be a potential positive harbinger of things to come this season. The staff has been impressed with Izzy’s first few fall practices as he continues and develop like every other football player at UND, day-by-day.

Izzy noted that the coaching staff drew him to UND. Once the Fighting Hawks stepped up their pursuit of Adeoti, they were the most persistent school regarding staying in touch with him and helping him see what the Fighting Hawks were doing on the field. , Adeoti noted how valuable the constant connections the staff made with him were “it really made me feel wanted instead of just like somebody else.”

Since coming to Grand Forks, the staff has instilled the value of constant development and hard work to Adeoti as they have with all Fighting Hawks.Learning the value of ” pure work” regarding football at a division one school is the biggest thing coach Freund and the rest of the staff have taught Izzy. He is a team-first player who enjoys time with his teammates both on and off the field. Spending time with the rest of the team, especially over this summer is one of the main things Adeoti enjoys doing when not on the field.

The Plano, Illinois native is looking to build to this season. He wants to be “that guy” this year. “That guy” is often defined as a reliable player who can contribute in different situations. Coach Freund noted Izzy’s potential to fly past defenses this year. August 30, at the Alerus Center, against the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils will be Izzy’s first chance to take flight with The Jets against another team this season.

UND Football:Getting to Know an Opponent-Mississippi Valley State

In a few weeks, on a Thursday night in Grand Forks, the UND Fighting Hawks will end their fall camp and take on the Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU) Delta Devils in the Alerus Center. Given how little of the Devils’ conference that UND fans have seen come to Grand Forks, it made sense to check in with one of the people who cover this team on a more frequent basis. I had some questions about MVSU, and the town of Itta Bena, MS where the school is located for one of the writers who covers this team for the Clarion Ledger, Tyler Cleveland. Look for more coverage from Seamore of UND Football with insights on the team in the weeks leading up to this game and throughout the season.

The Delta Devils are lead by first year coach, Vincent Dancy. He takes over a team that won two games last year. MVSU finished 2-9 last season including a 1-6 record in the Southwest Athletic Conference (SWAC).

Below are my questions for Tyler with his answers included. For UND fans looking to understand more about the SWAC, give Tyler and the Clarion-Ledger a follow on Twitter and read his and work, he goes into depth into MVSU, Jackson State, and Alcorn State, three SWAC programs filled with tradition in their programs.

Questions 

How long of a rebuild do you expect MVSU to go through?

“I don’t want to put a number of years on it, but let’s just say first-year coach Vincent Dancy has his work cut out for him. There are no magic buttons to push when you take over a program that is 3-30 over the past three years, and Dancy wasn’t on anyone’s short list when Valley started the hiring process. He’s a great communicator and solid X’s and O’s coach, but he doesn’t have the built in recruiting connections the other two in-state SWAC schools have. He’ll need to develop some pipelines of his own, and quick.”

Do you see any similarities in coach Dancy taking over now to when Bubba Schweigert took over in 2014?

“I can see the similarities there. Both of their predecessors had struggled against the big boys in their respective conferences. Valley couldn’t get past Southern and Grambling the same way UND had struggled with Montana and Eastern Washington. Both landed their job by presenting a plan to get over that hump. The most glaring difference, to me, is the age difference. Schweigert took the Dakota job at 55. Dancy is one of the youngest head coaches in the country at 33.”

What do you think went into MVSU having a number of players drafted, and how much exposure to pro scouts do the Delta Devils get.

“From its inception until the early 1990s, MVSU had a great tradition of producing NFL players. Deacon Jones helped redefine the defensive end position in the 1960s, and the 49ers drafted some guy named Jerry Rice out of Itta Bena in 1985. Corner Ashley Ambrose was the last Delta Devil to get drafted in 1992. Thanks to the recruiting services like Rivals and Scout, those kinds of guys are no longer getting overlooked by the Mississippi States and Ole Misses of the world.”

When fans head down south to Itta Benna, MS, what is one area of that town they should see?

“Well don’t blink, or you might miss it. Itta Bena is as small-town Mississippi as it gets, with mosquitoes the size of aircraft carriers. Your best bet for food is probably Capricorn’s Internet Café, or you could treat yourself with a visit to Lusco’s for some seafood in nearby Greenwood.”

Why do you think coach Dancy was elevated to full-time head coach?

“Recruiting to Itta Bena is tough. MVSU has the smallest athletic budget of any school in Division 1 and the Delta Devils have not had any real success on the football field in more than a decade. Rather than go out and hire a more experienced coach, Athletic Director Dianthia Ford-Kee decided to go with the younger, more charismatic Dancy. They are banking on his ability to connect with recruits and raise the talent level.”

What type of offense does MVSU run?

“Dancy wants to run the football. The Delta Devils have been running an old June Jones-style run-and-shoot offense – I guess they call it the air raid now – for the past three seasons with little success. They still want to spread it out, but they’re going to try to use the run and intermediate passing game to set up play action opportunities.”

Based on your January piece from when Coach Dancy was elevated to the head coach role, how creative has coach Dancy been in selling his vision for the Delta Devils given the financial constraints of MVSU.

“The short answer is that he desperately needs to win some games so he has something to sell besides a vision. He’s had to be pretty creative this season in terms of recruiting – taking a hyper-local approach and spending a lot of time at Mississippi’s junior colleges.”

Tell us a bit more about the two preseason all conference players the Delta Devils have, wideout Quinn McElfresh and linebacker Patrick Harbin.

“Well Quinn’s a hard-worker from your neck of the woods, up in Brainerd, Minnesota. He’s not a true deep threat, but he was the guy in former coach Rick Comegy’s pass-happy offense last year because of his route-running ability and good hands. Harbin isn’t physically overwhelming, but he can really run and just seems to be in the pile at the end of every play.”

What are some of coach Dancy’s goals for his first camp as the head coach?

“He wants to change the culture and put his stamp on the program, but those things take time. In terms of camp, he just wants to identify leaders early on, find his best 22 players, then his second-best 22 players and try to find a way to put them in a position to be successful. It really is that simple right now.”

Do you think that Delta Devils bring their marching band north for this game?

“They will if it’s in the contract. And if it is, ya’ll are in for a treat.”

What are MVSU’s biggest concerns that the Fighting Hawks present as well as MVSU’s biggest strengths that the Fighting Hawks could overlook?

“Valley has really struggled to protect its quarterback over the past couple of seasons, and to disastrous results. The Delta Devils averaged around -10 rushing yards a game last season – that’s no typo – and it’s not like they’ve upgraded at all five offensive line positions since then. Pass rushers like Mason Bennett and Jaxson Turner might be able to make a living in MVSU’s backfield, and that’ll make it a long game for the Delta Devils.”

 

 

UND Soccer: Soaring to the Summit

When you think back to UND Sports and the season all of their Big Sky Teams put together, which team had the most improvement in their overall record? Without a doubt it was Women’s Soccer. They improved from two wins in 2016 to eight wins last year, and just narrowly missed the conference tournament due only to tiebreakers.

In 2017, new Head Coach Chris Logan took a team struggling to find an offensive identity, and provided them one built on finishing chances and increasing the pace of play from the previous few seasons. Last year, Logan took the UND Soccer team their best finish in the Big Sky Conference. In the process he garnered himself Big Sky Coach of the Year for his efforts.The team was lead by strong goaltending from Big Sky goalkeeper of the Year Catherine Klein. She returns for her junior season along with Big Sky First Team All-Conference forward Katie Moller returning for her senior campaign.

Going into this year, Logan leads a staff featuring new assistant coach Josh Davis. He was previously at the University of Idaho. When talking with Logan, he noted that his relationship with Davis has been on going in a professional sense for four years. Davis was his first call.The former University of Idaho assistant jumped at the chance to come to work with his friend and mentor this year. New goalkeepers coach Amanda Raso comes on to lead a superb trio of goalies headlined by Klein.

Regarding this recruiting class, Logan focused on adding more attacking players. The majority of his new recruits are focused on scoring goals. This new class will give UND more depth and allow them to not press as much. The staff appreciates all of the incoming class and each of them highlighted different players to watch for.The underlying theme of this is that each of the 10 new recruits coming to campus all have unique traits.

One freshman fans should watch for as she makes her Fighting Hawks debut this season is forward Olivia Knox. From the official annoucement of the recruiting class, Logan said of Knox : “Olivia is a strong, fast forward who is powerful in the air and extremely aggressive. Olivia’s competitive edge will be a massive asset as the program continues to grow and she has a great winning mentality. ”

Logan said of his recruiting class “we’re very blessed with a talented group”.

The Fighting Hawks play a non-conference schedule designed to help them deal with overcoming adversity to prepare them for the Summit League. One key aspect to look at is the two southern trips UND will take early in the season. The Fighting Hawks face Nicholls State, and Southern University in their first southern swing. After that, UND faces Idaho and Montana in Missoula, then returns home to take on Minnesota Duluth and Bemidji State. Following those key games,  the Fighting Hawks return to the south to take on Grambling State and Alcorn State. These southern swings will feature UND playing tough competition on the road, in heat. As the staff noted, while UND does not play any non-conference matchups at an altitude of Denver, these tests should equip UND to deal with challenges in unique scenarios which will benefit them later on this year.

Logan also highlighted one unique game in the non-conference portion the season for his side. He noted the September 21 game against the University of Portland. He expects the Pilots’ style of play to test the Fighting Hawks early on in the season. The Pilots are lead by new head coach Michelle French, a former assistant coach for the US Women’s national team. French got into coaching and player development after a superb four year career (1995-1998) playing for the Pilots. French, a four year starter at defense,  helped the Pilots reach three NCAA Tournament Final Fours (1995-1997), including a trip to the 1995 National Championship along with three West Coast Conference Championships. The unique style the Pilots play will make this matchup a highlight for Fighting Hawks’ fans in the important non-conference schedule.

Look for this team to feature an exciting and up-tempo pace of play just like last season. This season, the team will have more depth up front to compliment their superb goaltending, and defensive play.

This depth, combined with the culture Logan has instilled here, and the talent of returning forwards like Katie Moller and Mimi Eden are some of many good reasons to venture out to East Grand Forks and check out this team as they soar into their first season in the Summit League.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deep Depth: How Minnesota Duluth Won Its Second National Championship

(Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee of Violent Turtle Photography)

 

The University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs won their second national championship on Saturday night with a 2-1 win over Notre Dame. They won with goals from Captain Karson Kuhlman, and Jared Thomas. UMD also got timely goaltending as Hunter Shepard made 19 saves on the evening. Of his 19 saves, three of them were on solid grade-A chances for Notre Dame.

He outlasted 2018 Mike Richter Award (best goalie in college hockey) Winner, Notre Dame goalie Cale Morris. He made 33 saves but was solved early by UMD.

Initially,  Notre Dame did a better job at getting sticks into lanes and making Duluth earn its chances, however it was not enough to stop them from replicating their streak of scoring first in their last three games of this tournament.

Duluth captain Karson Kuhlman capitalized on a Notre Dame turnover. He started the play with the turnover that Jade Miller was able to return to him. Kuhlman then raced in and fired a strike from just outside the right faceoff dot that went off Notre Dame defender Tory Dello and past the glove of Cale Morris to give UMD the first lead of the night 9:06 into the first period.

Notre Dame played Duluth tough the entire first period, but could not convert on any of their chances. They had a few solid chances, but could not solve Shepard.

The lack of scoring for Notre Dame benefited UMD early on as Jared Thomas netted his second goal of the weekend 18:39 into the first. Thomas won a puck battle in the Notre Dame zone, found Kuhlman and returned the puck back to Thomas. He then walked to the side of Morris and banked a shot in off of him.

Notre Dame did get one goal 7:40 into the second on a power play as Cam Morrison found Andrew Oglevie on a nice setup. He then wired a wrist shot through the five-hole of Shepard.

For as much as Notre Dame pressured Duluth the rest of the night, the final margin was set at that point. UMD did a superb job of limiting second and third chances, and did just enough to earn the win. Duluth even prevented Notre Dame from getting a shot on net with the extra attacker for the last part of the game.

QUOTES

UMD’s Karson Kuhlman on the depth of his team, and the play made by Jade Miller to set him up for his goal.

“Obviously those guys have been playing great all year. That’s one thing that we knew
coming into the season that we’d have was real good depth up front. Obviously any single night lines one through four could score and all six [defenseman] can put the puck in the net. And Shep [Hunter Shepard could probably score if he came out, too.”

“But it was a good play. I think Jader got a stick on a puck and I was able to turn in transition quick and sneak one by his glove.”

Jared Thomas on the unsung heroes of UMD

” I think we have a bunch of unsung heroes on our team. There’s a guy sitting down there [ Blake Young] .He’s came such a long way since his freshman year. We had so many guys like that on our team, playing third,fourth line. And we’re never afraid when they were on the ice. We knew that they were going to do their job.And we trusted everyone in our locker room, whether the guys were playing or even the guys that weren’t in the lineup. If we needed them we knew that they’d be ready to step right in. And I think that goes unnoticed sometimes, those depth guys. So I’m so happy for our group and especially for those guys that don’t get a lot of recognition.”

 

Notre Dame Advances to the National Championship 4-3: A Quick Recap Plus First Look at UMD-ND in the Final

(Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee for Violent Turtle Photography)

Coming into game two of the Frozen Four, a couple of things were relevant. Michigan is a young team with a lot of speed and offense with average goaltending. Notre Dame is slightly more experienced trying to avenge its Frozen Four semifinal loss to Denver last year. One team used its speed and puck luck to race out to an early lead. The other came back, regained momentum, and scored a harrowing goal with just under five seconds left to win the game.

Michigan was the first team that raced out to a 2-0 lead on goals from Tony Calderone and Dexter Dancs. Notre Dame was able to answer back with goals from Andrew Oglevie, Jordan Gross, and Cal Burke to take the lead. Michael Pastujov tied things up once again and looked to have the game going to overtime. Jake Evans had other ideas as he took a feed from Cam Morrison and was able to convert the game winner with under four seconds left in the game.

It was impressive to see Notre Dame come back to win its fifth consecutive one goal game.

National Championship First Look 

Minnesota Duluth takes on a talented Notre Dame side that boosts complete goaltending, solid defense, and a talented group of forwards that can score by committee. For UMD to have a chance, they need to find ways to neutralize the team speed of Notre Dame. They did a superb ob canceling the speed of Ohio State and keeping their chances limited. For a team that does not generate goals in bunches, they have to play the sound defense that has got them here to have a chance to win another national championship in St. Paul.

Look for more from today and on the championship later on today.

Duluth Does It Again: How UMD Won Another One Goal Game to Advance to the National Championship

(Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee of Violent Turtle Photography)

(Click here for more of Kelsey’s work, all photos free to use just please credit Kelsey Lee of Violent Turtle Photography)

In the Xcel Energy Center, we knew a few things about Minnesota Duluth and Ohio State coming into this Frozen Four matchup. Both teams showcase a similar structure of defensive integrity, sound goaltending, and opportune goal scoring. The pace of this one early on did not match that. It netted a bunch of chances, problem for Ohio State, was they were all in their own end. 1:53 into the first, Louie Roehl took a feed from fellow defenseman Matt Anderson, walked  in on the right side of the ice, and wired one past Ohio State netminder Sean Romeo from just outside the right faceoff dot.

One minute and eleven seconds later, Jared Thomas took a feed from UMD captain Karson Kuhlman, and then proceeded to race past all five OSU skaters on the way to making it a 2-0 game with a superb backhand to make it a 2-0 game.

The Thomas goal would provide the game winner for UMD but not spare Bulldogs fans a remaining game of close calls and headaches. Ohio State did generate more chances for themselves as the game went on but UMD was able to limit them to 20 shots on net for the evening.

The score remained 2-0 through a physical second period. The second stanza showed OSU’s ability to utilize its speed game to turn things around.. The Buckeyes could not solve Bulldogs netminder Hunter Shepard in the second.

The third period brought some different things to the mix. Ohio State was able to score on a lucky deflection a broken stick  on a power play. Wyatt Ege’s stick broke, and the puck went off of a UMD skate and Dakota Joshua was able to keep the puck in. He sent the puck to Tanner Laczynski who wired an elevating shot to the back of the net.  This lone OSU marker was not enough.

Ohio State had multiple chances in the final few minutes but could not tie things up. Duluth also was unable to convert on an empty net. This lead to a tense final few minutes for the Bulldogs, but they were able to do just enough to set up a national championship with the winner of the Michigan-Notre Dame nightcap.

Ohio State fans of both hockey teams have a lot to look forward to as both teams made the Frozen Four this season. OSU Head Coach Steve Rohlik talked a little about the superb seasons both had.

“To walk away and have both programs in a Frozen Four speaks volumes of where the hockey is at right now [at Ohio State]”. Both head coaches, Rohlik, and Nadine Muzerall for the Women’s Team have lead their programs to the Frozen Four this season. Both have incredibly bright futures in a great hockey market in Columbus.

Head Coach Scott Sandelin talked about how his team’s ability to play well in one goal games helped them tonight. He also noted the superb play of Hunter Shepard (Shep).

“I’d like to think it’s helped us. Obviously, it’s great when you win them… I think the big change for our team, we’ve played much better defense in the last month-and-a-half, two months. Shep has been a big part of that.”