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Grand Forks native Kaleb Johnson commits to UND

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Kaleb Johnson visited UND on Monday.

The former Grand Forks Central goaltender spent time on campus and in Ralph Engelstad Arena from about 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

At the end of the day, the coaching staff made him an offer to be one of UND’s future goaltenders.

Johnson didn’t take long to think about it.

“In a heartbeat, I said, ‘yes,’ ” Johnson said. “It’s my hometown. I’ve been watching them since I was about 6 years old. Their culture and tradition is great. I really look forward to becoming a part of that culture and tradition and keeping it moving forward.”

Johnson went 37-1-2 at Central during his sophomore and juniors seasons, leading the Knights to back-to-back state titles. Now a senior in high school, he has left Central to play for the Minnesota Wilderness in the North American Hockey League.

He’s off to a terrific start there, going 3-1 with a .933 save percentage and a 2.00 goals-against average in his first four starts. That included a 34-of-35 save performance at the NAHL Showcase in the Twin Cities with a number of scouts on hand.

Johnson, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound netminder, already made a visit to Bemidji State and had another one lined up to Northern Michigan, where his older brother, Grant, is committed. But after receiving the offer from UND, he withdrew his NMU visit.

“North Dakota got me into an official visit quick and I couldn’t pass on their offer,” Johnson said. “It was too good.”

Johnson said he’s not 100 percent sure when he’ll come to UND, but he’ll definitely play one more year of junior hockey.

“When I’m ready, I’ll come in,” he said. “I’m definitely not going to rush it. I’m going to take my time and when I think I’m ready, I’m going to come.”

Johnson is the fifth Grand Forks player to be committed to UND. Others include forward Braden Costello, forward Judd Caulfield, forward Jackson Kunz and forward Dane Montgomery.

Brad Elliott Schlossman

Schlossman is in his 14th year covering college hockey for the Herald. In 2016 and 2018, he was named the top beat writer in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He also was the NCHC's inaugural Media Excellence Award winner in 2018. Schlossman 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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