Miller has been with the Grand Forks Herald sports department for the past 13 years. He's also a Grand Forks native and UND graduate.
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In one of the tightest Gambucci Cup races since the traveling trophy was started in 2003, it was only fitting the Cup's home this year wasn't decided until overtime of the final Greater Grand Forks matchup. Zack Murphy found Parker Stroh on a 2-on-1 rush at 5 minutes, 10 seconds of overtime to lift Grand Forks Central to a 2-1 win over Grand Forks Red River on Saturday afternoon at Purpur Arena. Family of the late Serge Gambucci delivered the Gambucci Cup to Central. The Knights won the Cup for the second straight year and for the seventh time overall.
As you looked at the matchup leading up to the weekend, the UND and Denver series was expected to feature one glaring mismatch. The Fighting Hawks haven't been able to kill a penalty lately and the Pioneers have one of the most skilled power plays in the country. On Friday night, the Fighting Hawks' maligned penalty killers were up to the task. UND killed 4 of 5 penalties, as well as another during the 3-on-3 overtime, to spark the Fighting Hawks to a 3-3 tie with Denver at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
With its play Thursday night, the Grand Forks Central boys hockey team set up a big rivalry showdown for Saturday afternoon. The Knights used a fast start and a goal and two assists from Kyler Briske to down East Grand Forks Senior High 4-0 at Purpur Arena. With the win, Central prevented the Green Wave from claiming the Gambucci Cup. In doing so, the Cup will now go to the Saturday afternoon winner between the Knights and Grand Forks Red River.
Grand Forks Central senior defenseman Hunter Moreland helped his uncle earn a unique coaching victory Tuesday night. Moreland scored twice in Central's five-goal third period to lead the Knights to a 6-1 win over Fargo South-Shanley at Purpur Arena. With Central head coach Grant Paranica serving a one-game suspension for taking a game misconduct penalty in his team's 4-2 win over Fargo Davies last Thursday, assistant Matt Moreland took the reins to face the Bruins.
UND officially announced Bill Chaves as the school's 16th athletic director on Tuesday morning. The Herald sat down with Chaves to talk about what's ahead. Q. Your interview and public introduction came during one of Grand Forks' toughest winter stretches. How do you feel about your new climate?
Grand Forks Central's Lucas Kanta was excited to see Fargo Davies come to Purpur Arena on Thursday night. It was a showdown of two of the region's best teams that had tied earlier in the season. The teams came in with Central's one loss the only blemish between the two. "We knew they were a good team, and we were excited about that challenge," Kanta said. It showed. Kanta, a junior forward, had a hat trick and Central outshot Davies by more than double in a 4-2 victory.
In a 2017 UND football season full of injuries, the inside linebacker position was perhaps the hardest hit. On Tuesday, the Fighting Hawks received a shot in the arm to solidify that spot in 2018. Minnesota Gophers inside linebacker Everett Williams will graduate transfer to UND and play his final season in Grand Forks. The 6-foot-1, 244-pound Williams, of Mansfield, Texas, spent four seasons with the Gophers and graduated this past December with a degree in agricultural and food business management.
One Huglen has been plenty for Roseau boys hockey opponents to worry about, but it appears the Rams' foes need to start worrying about two Huglens now. Junior center Aaron Huglen and freshman wing Paul Huglen—top line brothers—proved to be too much for East Grand Forks on Tuesday night in a 4-1 win for the Rams at the Civic Center. The elder Huglen has 13 goals on the season, but it was the younger brother who scored twice in the second period to give the Rams a cushion.
The UND athletic department enters a new era next fall, moving the majority of the school's sports programs from the Big Sky Conference to the Summit League and the football team will soon follow to the Missouri Valley Football Conference. On Tuesday morning at Ralph Engelstad Arena, UND introduced a new leader to bring the department into this next chapter. With the school band and cheerleaders acting as an usher to the podium, UND President Mark Kennedy announced Bill Chaves as the 16th athletic director in school history.
The UND men's hockey team played its 24th game of the season Saturday night in a 2-2 tie with Bemidji State at Ralph Engelstad Arena. And for the 24th consecutive time, Fighting Hawks coach Brad Berry had to use a different lineup. On Saturday, it was forwards Trevor Olson and Rhett Gardner and defenseman Andrew Peski missing action with injuries. Berry admitted it's a little frustrating. He's used more than 40 different forward groupings and at least 10 different defensive pairings.