Editor's note: In this series, the Grand Forks Herald's veteran sports staff ranks its top five memorable games or moments. Herald sports reporter Tom Miller finishes his list with this No. 1 memorable event.
College hockey isn’t my typical beat. But when the local college football season ends and the UND hockey program is making a postseason push, I’ve been lucky enough to join colleague Brad Schlossman to cover the team during the playoffs.
That took me to NCAA Frozen Fours in Boston, Philadelphia, St. Paul and Tampa in a six-year span starting in 2011.
Writing columns about hockey when there was a deadline looming for the story to make the Herald’s print edition was always a challenge.
Many times, you need to start writing the column while the game is still going on in order to have the story finished by deadline.
That means you often need to follow your instincts and start writing in a certain direction, even if the game isn’t fully decided yet.
On April 7, 2016, UND was playing Denver in the Frozen Four semifinals in Tampa, and the game was pushing deadline.
After Denver scored twice in the third period to tie the game at 2, I started writing.
I wrote how the UND hockey program was delivering another gut punch to the fanbase.
I wrote about the 2014 Frozen Four in Philadelphia and how this compared to the bitter ending where Minnesota’s Justin Holl scored with 0.6 seconds left to stun UND.
I wrote about how similar this would be to UND’s 2011 Frozen Four disappointment against Michigan on a snake-bit night in St. Paul.
But with 57 seconds left between UND and Denver, UND’s Nick Schmaltz scored.
I’ll never forget that moment, as it was years and years of Frozen Four disappointment released in a single scoring chance.
The media raced down to the locker room to get a few quotes from players. When I returned to my computer, there wasn’t enough time remaining to deadline to completely scrap all the words I had written while the game looked like Denver was going to win.
I kept the words about past disappointments and how this looked like UND was coming up short at another national title.
But I remember adding in these two important qualifying paragraphs:
“Not this time.
“This time, the rowdy green crowd had something to cheer about.”
Herald Top 5 Lists
1. UND's 2016 win over Denver snapped a Frozen Four drought