Brad Elliott Schlossman
UND junior Nick Jones , who was the team’s leading forward scorer when he went down with an injury three weeks ago, will make the trip to Omaha this weekend. Jones is practicing and coach Brad Berry confirmed he’ll be on the trip as the team departs Thursday morning. Berry didn’t commit to playing Jones against Omaha, but the fact that he’s going on the trip is a good sign that he figures to be available again for action sooner rather than later.
There are three weeks left to go in the regular season of the NCHC. Every team in the league has played the same number of games (18) and has the same number left (6). Here’s a quick rundown of what’s left for each team. Who will win the Penrose Cup? Denver or St. Cloud State? Who will wind up getting home ice? For more, click here.
UND is expecting to get top-line center Rhett Gardner back in the lineup for this weekend’s series against Colorado College. “He’s all in,” UND coach Brad Berry said. Gardner missed five games with a lower-body injury sustained on Jan. 12 in a 5-1 win over Bemidji State. In his absence, UND tied three times and lost twice. Gardner has practiced all week.
The NFL will award its Most Valuable Player award on Saturday night, but there might have been a spoiler alert at Thursday’s Super Bowl press conferences in the Twin Cities. An official was spotted carrying an acceptance speech for New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in plain view as Brady wrapped up his 45-minute media session.
Five items of note from Saturday night: 1. East Grand Forks Senior High graduate Taylor Brierley played his first college game Saturday night for Union College — and it happened to be against rival RPI in the Mayor’s Cup game in Albany. Brierley suffered an injury during the offseason, so he missed the first half of the year. Union jumped out to a 4-0 lead and held on to win 4-3.
1. Dartmouth was again the Giant Killers, ending Clarkson’s 15-game unbeaten streak with a 3-2 win in Potsdam, N.Y. Dartmouth started backup Adrian Clark and he won his first game of the season, making 24 saves. After losing 1-0 to Denver in Magness Arena, the Big Green dropped to 2-8-1. Since then, Dartmouth is 6-2-1. Wins have come against Denver, Clarkson, Quinnipiac, New Hampshire, RPI and St. Lawrence and the tie came against Minnesota Duluth. Next weekend, 16-2-1 Cornell goes to Dartmouth. We’ll see if the Big Green can take down yet another giant.
Are we overlooking Western Michigan as a potential candidate to win the Penrose Cup? The Broncos are coming off of an impressive weekend in St. Cloud. Despite being without four forwards — and having two defensemen play forward — they beat the Huskies on Friday night. Then, in the series finale, they played without five forwards (second-leading scorer Colt Conrad was injured Friday), had a sixth forward get hurt early in the game (it happened to be Hobey Baker Award candidate Wade Allison) and still were tied 3-3 with five minutes to go.
Former UND star Brock Boeser was named to the NHL All-Star Game on Wednesday. He is the lone former UND player to be picked. Here’s my story on it .
Five highlights from around the country:
UND coach Brad Berry told his team this week that they’d be playing an opponent full of veterans. That might have actually been an understatement. Omaha is currently the 5th-ranked offense in the nation — and it hasn’t received a single goal from a freshman yet. The Mavericks are the only team in the country who haven’t had a goal by a rookie. Omaha has 24 goals from seniors, which ranks second only to Holy Cross.