Miller has been with the Grand Forks Herald sports department for the past 10 years. He's also a Grand Forks native and UND graduate.
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Standing out from the Division I Dakota schools had some merit, but standing with North Dakota State, South Dakota State and South Dakota is more valuable. The Herald reported Tuesday that the Fighting Hawks will leave the Big Sky Conference and join the Summit League and Missouri Valley Football Conference, news that was met with mixed reaction among fans. The critics, though, don't have enough ammunition. There's too many positives to ignore.
The Ralph Engelstad Arena scoreboard asked UND hockey fans Saturday to vote for the Fighting Hawks' top performer. The three candidates were Casey Johnson, Andrew Peski and Mike Gornall. That's two third-pair defensemen and a fourth-line winger. Combined, the three have one career goal. That's all you need to know about the impact of UND's star power in a 4-0 loss to Minnesota Duluth in a somber series finale for the home fans.
In Washington D.C., on Friday, we saw a transfer of power when Donald Trump took over for Barack Obama and was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. Later Friday in Grand Forks, there was another transfer of power. This transfer of power was UND handing over the title of 'Class of the NCHC' to Minnesota Duluth. UND is the defending national champion and the NCHC bully of the 2015-16 season. But the Bulldogs have shown over the course of the 2016-17 season to be the superior team, showcased again by a 5-3 win at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
East Grand Forks Senior High sophomore goalie Tucker Brown was strictly a junior varsity player a year ago. He's come a long way in a year. On Thursday, both East Grand Forks and Bemidji coaches agreed he was the difference in a 1-1 tie at the Civic Center. "Quite honestly, he's been one of our most consistent guys," Senior High coach Scott Koberinski said. "He's really battled from last year. He's made some big-time saves. He didn't just make one or two big-time saves tonight, but he made four or five. He was the difference that kept us in the game."
The UND men's hockey coaching staff was quick to make sure starting goalie Cam Johnson knew he wasn't getting pulled in the series opener against Miami because of his individual performance. First, head coach Brad Berry pulled aside Johnson on Friday night to say he was just trying to spark his team. Next, goalie coach Karl Goehring reassured Johnson. And then Saturday night, the entire Fighting Hawks team played defensively like they were saying sorry for the previous night in shutting down the RedHawks in a 3-1 win at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
On one of the coldest nights of the year, with fans braving below-zero temperatures, the UND men's hockey team returned to Ralph Engelstad Arena for the first time in more than a month. By midway through the third period, fans chose potential frostbite outside rather than suffer any more inside. The home team gave up a two-goal lead and unranked Miami routed the No. 7 Fighting Hawks 6-3 on Friday night. Although more than a month split up the past two home games, complete disappointment tied the two together.
After the second period of a scoreless game, Grand Forks Red River coach Bill Chase told his team to quit waiting for an opportunity to come to them. He encouraged the Roughriders to work hard for their chances. Jake Arel took the advice. The senior forward scored twice in the opening six minutes of the third period to lead Red River to a 4-1 win over East Grand Forks Senior High at Purpur Arena. Red River won its sixth-straight game to improve to 10-1, while East Grand Forks lost to Grand Forks schools in consecutive games and dropped to 7-3-1.
East Grand Forks Senior High took more than 10 minutes to put its first shot on Grand Forks Central's net. By that point, the Knights already led 2-0. Central extended that edge to 3-0 by the end of the first period. Although a blowout never materialized and the Green Wave even outscored the Knights the rest of the way, the damage was already done. Central rode the hot start to a 3-1 win over East Grand Forks on Tuesday night at the Civic Center.
A couple of UND athletic programs that were considered for elimination this fall are receiving a financial shot in the arm through a crowdfunding project set up by the Alumni Association. Wings Up, an online campaign aimed at raising small amounts of money from a large number of people, kicked off Dec. 1 and is expected to continue through the end of June. The UND softball program has raised more than $10,000 and the swimming and diving programs have raised more than $14,000.
OMAHA, Neb.—With uncertainty surrounding the availability of UND's star forwards leading up to this weekend, the Fighting Hawks were happy to have Brock Boeser and Tyson Jost back in the lineup against Omaha. More specifically, the Fighting Hawks are delighted to have found those two just the right spot in their forward groupings. Boeser and Jost, the two most skilled skaters in UND's arsenal, played on separate lines this weekend. On Saturday, one of the two had a hand in six of UND's seven goals in another rout of Omaha at Baxter Arena.