Boeser opted for surgery to get healthy and 'take a run' at another title
Brock Boeser may have missed out on winning a gold medal with Team USA at the World Junior Championship.
But he had good reason for it.
Boeser said he opted to have minor wrist surgery on Dec. 14 with the second half of UND's season in mind.
"It was definitely tough (to miss the World Juniors)," Boeser said. "But it was nagging me in the first half. I wanted to get healthy and take a run, with all the guys here, at another national championship. It's a sacrifice I had to make."
The standout winger returned to the lineup Friday after missing nearly two months due to his ailing wrist. He made an immediate impact.
Boeser had three goals, two assists and five points in the two-game sweep of Omaha. UND scored 16 goals on the weekend—the most it had scored in a two-game series since 2011.
Boeser said he can already tell a difference in his wrist.
"I wouldn't say it's fully, 100 percent just yet, but it's getting there," he said. "My shot feels better than it did in the first half."
Boeser has practiced all week in preparation for this weekend's National Collegiate Hockey Conference series against Miami.
Tyson Jost, meanwhile, finally got to rest.
Jost was told to stay home from practice on Monday and Tuesday to try to recover from his grueling week.
The UND freshman forward played five games in six days last week, including four nights in a row. He played Monday, Wednesday and Thursday in Montreal at the World Juniors. Then, he flew into Omaha and played on Friday and Saturday for UND.
"We wanted to make sure he gets enough rest to recharge his batteries to get going," UND coach Brad Berry said. "The fear we have going forward is making sure our batteries don't run down so sickness creeps into our group here. We want to make sure we stay healthy, because we know how important it is to stay healthy in the second half.
"We've tried to manage our guys the right way. With Tyson, we need him to get his energy level back to where it was before."
While Jost didn't have his normal energy by the end of the stretch, he still managed to score two goals against Omaha on Saturday night—his fourth game in four nights.
"I had the last two days off here," said Jost, who returned to practice Wednesday. "I laid low. Caught up on sleep. It's nice to be back here in Grand Forks and at The Ralph."
The Omaha series was the first time that UND played a game with both Boeser and Jost in the lineup since a November series at St. Cloud.
They haven't played a game together in Ralph Engelstad Arena since Nov. 12.
"It was obviously hard not being able to help the team out," Boeser said. "But I'm excited to get back here and play at The Ralph."
Miami coming to town
Miami will come to The Ralph (7:37 p.m. Friday and 7:07 p.m. Saturday) with the country's fourth-longest unbeaten streak (five games).
The key for Miami has been getting healthy.
It played six games in November without its top defenseman, Minnesota Wild draft pick Louie Belpedio. Miami went 0-4-2 and gave up 4.3 goals per game.
With Belpedio in the lineup, the RedHawks are 7-4-3 and are allowing just 2.1 goals per game.
Freshman forward Carson Meyer, who is averaging more than a point per game, also missed four games while Belpedio was out.
With a full lineup, Miami swept St. Cloud State last weekend.
"That's a big momentum-building weekend for them," Berry said. "We expect a team with a lot of confidence. We need to build from our last weekend in Omaha, too."
While the RedHawks have split goalie starts in recent seasons, they have a new formula this year. Freshman Ryan Larkin, the cousin of Detroit Red Wings star Dylan Larkin, has provided steadiness (.914 save percentage, 2.48 goals-against average) and has played 88.5 percent of the team's minutes.
The last Miami goalie to play more than 65 percent of the team's minutes was Jeff Zatkoff, now of the Los Angeles Kings, nine years ago.
Berry warned his players that offense won't always come as easily as last weekend's outburst.
"Those weekends don't come along every weekend," Berry said. "We know that. You have to work for everything you get."