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Duncan to return for senior season

After Ryan Duncan won the 2007 Hobey Baker Memorial Award, some thought there wasn't anything left for him to accomplish in college hockey. To the contrary, the standout winger will have several milestones sitting in front of him this fall, when ...

After Ryan Duncan won the 2007 Hobey Baker Memorial Award, some thought there wasn't anything left for him to accomplish in college hockey.

To the contrary, the standout winger will have several milestones sitting in front of him this fall, when he returns for his senior season.

Duncan has informed UND that he will be back to complete his college career rather than sign a free-agent pro contract.

That means he will have a chance to further solidify himself among the program's best.

Despite playing in an era when scoring is at a record low, the 5-foot-6, 159-pound forward from Calgary only needs 20 points to move into the top 20 in all-time scoring at UND. He currently ranks 38th with 133 points.

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Duncan also could break the Western Collegiate Hockey Association's record for most consecutive games played. Duncan has never missed a game at UND, playing 132 in a row. His former teammate, Chris Porter, holds the record at 175.

Duncan could become the first player ever to win the Hobey Baker Award twice and just the third player in the last decade to leave college hockey with both the Hobey and a national championship trophy, which has eluded Duncan's Sioux teams.

"He's already created a lot of great memories," UND coach Dave Hakstol said earlier this season.

On Tuesday, Duncan's linemate of the past two seasons, T.J. Oshie, signed with the St. Louis Blues, giving up his final year of college eligibility.

Oshie's classmates -- juniors Duncan, Taylor Chorney, Joe Finley and Andrew Kozek --also were considered flight risks. But Duncan has taken himself off that list.

Duncan, who wasn't immediately available for comment Thursday, went undrafted by NHL teams, but has since received interest as a free agent.

Known for his wrist shot with marksman-like accuracy, Duncan has compiled more than 35 points in each of his first three seasons in college.

He scored 16 goals as a freshman, led the team with 31 as a sophomore, and tied for the team lead with 18 as a junior.

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"He will be a great leader and an impact player for North Dakota for another year," Oshie said in a chat Thursday.

Reach Schlossman at (701) 780-1129; (800) 477-6572, ext. 129; or send e-mail to bschlossman@gfherald.com .

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at bschlossman@gfherald.com.
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