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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Lexie Shaw isn't nervous about this weekend. "You kind of get excited for it," UND's senior goalie said. "It's a lot more fun than playing in a game where you're not getting a lot of shots." Shaw will likely be busy this weekend as UND takes on Minnesota Duluth at 3:07 p.m. today and 3:07 p.m. Saturday in AmsOil Arena. The Bulldogs are in the midst of their best season in seven years—in large part thanks to a prolific top line.
The 11,634 seats in Ralph Engelstad Arena are empty Monday mornings. Underneath the soft humming of the lights, there are a few sounds that echo throughout the building: the crack of a hockey stick hitting the ice, the thud of a puck hitting the glass, the ping of the goal post. It's Shane Gersich. Two days a week, before he goes to class, the UND sophomore forward stops at Ralph Engelstad Arena, throws on sweatpants, a practice jersey and his helmet and works on little parts of his game with an assistant coach for a half hour.
Bob Motzko heard about a potential prospect in North Dakota from his assistant coaches. They wanted him to take a closer look. So, the head men's hockey coach at St. Cloud State got in his car and drove up to Grand Forks to catch a high school game. "First time I had ever done that," he said. Motzko's eyes were on No. 17, Jacob Benson. And he liked what he saw.
Colorado College goaltender Alex Leclerc put together a historically good performance Saturday night against UND. Leclerc made 45 saves in posting a shutout victory over the Fighting Hawks. No goalie in the last 30 years—the length of the Herald's online archives—has stopped that many pucks in posting a shutout against UND. Only six other goalies have posted 40-plus save shutouts in the last three decades.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.—Shot attempts were 91-37 UND. But 45 of them were stopped by Colorado College goalie Alex Leclerc, 23 were shot wide, 19 were blocked, four hit the post and not a single one of them ended up in the back of the net as UND only had a 3-0 loss to last-place Colorado College to show for a dominant effort in World Arena on Saturday night. All of the good fortune on this evening belonged to the Tigers, who never beat UND goalie Matt Hrynkiw themselves.
Editor's note: Grand Forks Herald college hockey reporter Brad Elliott Schlossman is in Colorado Springs, Colo., to cover UND's two-game series at Colorado College this weekend. This travel journal is meant to take fans on the road trip to Colorado Springs and give them a sense of what's happening -- on and off the ice.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.—Cam Johnson had to pull up a seat in the World Arena stands and watch Friday night. Although he practiced a day earlier, he was too banged up and was forced to miss the game that would have set a program record for most consecutive starts. But he got to watch Matt Hrynkiw come to the rescue, just like a season ago. Hrynkiw was perfect in the final two periods in relief of Matej Tomek and allowed UND to rally from a two-goal deficit and beat Colorado College 5-2 on Friday night.
There's no goalie controversy at UND. Lexie Shaw is the go-to netminder, coach Brian Idalski said without hesitation. But UND has started phasing in rookie goaltender Kristen Campbell the last two weekends—and the freshman from Manitoba is delivering. Campbell, who had just one start in the first half of the year, has started each of the last two Saturdays. She posted her first-career shutout against MSU-Mankato on Jan. 14 by stopping all 22 shots.
Q. What's your favorite TV show? A. Entourage. Q. What's your favorite movie? A. Good Will Hunting. Q. What's your favorite restaurant in Grand Forks? A. Sky's. Q. What's your order there? A. The filet mignon. Q. What's your favorite restaurant back home in Moose Jaw, Sask.? A. Probably Earl's. Q. Who on the team eats the most? A. I'd say Hayden Shaw or Mike Gornall. Q. Do you have a favorite NCHC road trip?
GRAND FORKS — North Dakota addressed its need for a right-handed defenseman Monday by landing a commitment from Josh Rieger, who plays in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. Rieger, a 20-year-old blue liner for the Estevan Bruins, will come to campus next season. Only two of the eight defensemen on UND's roster are right-handed shots. There's a strong possibility that one of them, junior Tucker Poolman, will turn pro after this season.