Brad Elliott Schlossman
Schlossman is in his 12th 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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FARGO—The UND men's hockey team lost five players to early signings last summer—and the early departures are expected to start soon. Brock Boeser will sign with the Vancouver Canucks soon according to a source—and he could make his NHL debut as soon as tonight. Vancouver plays at the Minnesota Wild tonight and at the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday. Boeser is a first-round draft pick of the Canucks, who also have former UND defensemen Troy Stecher.
FARGO—FARGO—Boston University defeated UND 4-3 in double overtime on Friday afternoon to end the Fighting Hawks' quest for a second straight national title. Charlie McAvoy scored the game-winner at 11:48 of the second overtime. Boston U now play the winner of the Duluth-Ohio State game on Saturday for the West Regional championship and a berth in the Frozen Four in Chicago. UND had a goal waved off in the first overtime. Dixon Bowen's goal was negated after a lengthy officials' review determined UND was offsides on the play.
FARGO—The season started in October with a celebration. UND invited members of all eight NCAA national championship teams to help raise the 2016 title banner in Ralph Engelstad Arena. The entire team was on the ice watching the ceremony, many of whom were part of the squad that beat Denver and Quinnipiac in Tampa to win the NCAA national championship. If there's one advantage UND has this weekend, it is experience. This Fighting Hawks team knows what it takes—not only reach the NCAA Frozen Four, but also to win it.
ESPN and The Hockey News both came out with their lists of the top 50 hockey prospects in the world this week. They both had the same name at the top: Clayton Keller, Boston University. The Terrier freshman passed Phil Kessel and Patrick Kane last season as the top all-time scorer at USA Hockey's National Team Development Program, which oversees the U.S. Under-17 and Under-18 teams. Keller is the face of a young-but-extremely-talented Boston University hockey roster.
FARGO—Minnesota Duluth doesn't have a Hobey Baker Award finalist up front and won't have the Mike Richter Award winner in goal. But the Bulldogs have held down the nation's No. 1 ranking for much of the season because they have perhaps the deepest and most complete team in college hockey. Are they a veteran team? Check. The only team in the NCAA tournament with more points from seniors is Harvard. The Bulldogs' seven seniors have racked up 144 points this season. Are they good up front? Check. Minnesota Duluth is potent on three lines.
FARGO—Ohio State hasn't been in the NCAA tournament in eight years. It hasn't won an NCAA tournament game in 19 years. But there's one area of the game that could make the Buckeyes a big threat to reach the NCAA Frozen Four this season: special teams and the power play. Ohio State has the nation's best power play at 32.5 percent. It is the best power play of any team in college hockey since online statistics began being stored 16 years ago.
FARGO—At this time last year, Tyson Jost and Dante Fabbro may have been watching The Bachelor together in the basement of a house in Penticton, British Columbia. Maybe they were playing a heated game of ping pong. Or perhaps they invited friends over and were playing a full blown mini hockey game. All three were common occurrences in the home of Dale and Wendy Woods, where Jost and Fabbro lived together in the basement for the last two years while playing junior hockey.
North Dakota Seed: 3. Record: 21-15-3. Conference: NCHC (fourth). Recent NCAA history: UND has reached the NCAA tournament 15 years in a row—the second-longest stretch in college hockey history, only behind Michigan's 22-year run. UND is the defending national champ. National championships: 8 (2016, 2000, 1997, 1987, 1982, 1980, 1963, 1959). Scoring offense: 3.18 (16th). Scoring defense: 2.56 (19th). Power play: 19.2 (24th). Penalty kill: 83.6 (19th).
FARGO—UND star defenseman Tucker Poolman practiced Thursday afternoon at Scheels Arena, but his status for this weekend's NCAA West Regional is still in doubt. The junior defender, who was injured last Saturday on a check from behind into the boards during the National Collegiate Hockey Conference championship game, was able to move around but played most of his shifts with Danys Chartrand, who will be the extra defenseman. He also had frequent conversations with his father, Mark, the team's athletic trainer.
All of the teams arrived in Fargo on Wednesday — even UND. Although the Fighting Hawks easily could travel down before practice on Thursday, they stuck to their normal NCAA regional routine. They took a bus just before dinner time. They’ll practice from 12:45 to 1:45 p.m. That practice will be OPEN to the public. It will be the team’s regular Thursday practice, so there will be the weekly shootout near the end. For the whole story, click here .