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Poganski named new UND men's hockey captain

UND coach Brad Berry drops into Ralph Engelstad Arena at all times, including nights and Sundays when there are no games or practices.

Often times, he'll find Austin Poganski there.

"He's diving into his books, doing work for his academic side," Berry said. "I think he's one guy that leads by example on and off the ice."

That made it an easy choice to elect Poganski as the new captain of the UND men's hockey team.

Poganski takes the reins from the graduating Gage Ausmus, who wore the 'C' in each of the last two seasons, including during UND's run to the 2016 national championship.

Poganski, a senior winger from St. Cloud, will be joined in the leadership group by alternate captains Johnny Simonson, Trevor Olson and Rhett Gardner.

Poganski had an option to turn pro and sign with the St. Louis Blues, who drafted him in the fourth round in 2014, but he elected to come back for one more season.

"He has a very business-like approach," Berry said. "He's very matter of fact. His affiliation and love for our program is second to none. He had options of moving on after this year, but he definitively wanted to come back. That shows his strength and pride of his affiliation to our program here.

"He prepares himself well. He's very attention-to-detail oriented. He'll make a great captain."

On the ice, Poganski is a 6-foot-2, 210-pound power forward, who is hard to contain along the walls. He ranked fifth on the team with 25 points in 40 games as a junior.

Simonson, a senior from Grand Forks, will wear an 'A' for the second year in a row.

Olson, a senior from Duluth, will wear an 'A' for the first time. Olson, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound power forward, had a big ending to last season, tallying nine points in the last seven games. He was the team's leading scorer in March.

Gardner will be the lone junior wearing a letter. The Moose Jaw, Sask., product and Dallas Stars draft pick had 21 points in 38 games last season.

"Now you have three of four guys who are seniors," Berry said. "When we went back to our national championship team, we had Gage Ausmus as captain as a junior, but we had strong leadership from our seniors in Drake Caggiula, Bryn Chyzyk, Colten St. Clair and Coltyn Sanderson.

"These guys have been here three years. They've been a part of a national championship. They've been a part of the daily process of getting to the national tournament, which they've done every year. They know the ins and outs of that process."

Brad Elliott Schlossman

Schlossman is in his 13th year covering college hockey for the Herald. In 2016, he was named the top beat writer in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He has voted in the national college hockey poll since 2007 and has served as a member of the Hobey Baker and Patty Kazmaier Award committees.

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