UND in NHL: Rhett Gardner becomes 10th player from 2016 title team to play in NHL

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Former UND forward Rhett Gardner gets high fives from Randy Walskul, a UND alum, left, and Chris Dawalt, 13, at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati ahead of the 2016 NCAA regionals. Jesse Trelstad/ Grand Forks Herald

It didn't take long for Rhett Gardner to reach the NHL.

The former UND centerman, who completed his four-year college career in the spring, made his NHL debut Saturday night for the Dallas Stars against the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues.

Gardner wore No. 49 and played 12 minutes, 4 seconds. He didn't register any points, but he did draw a hooking penalty in the second period.

Gardner, who was a key penalty killer at UND, also saw a few shifts on the penalty kill for Dallas.

Gardner became the 10th player from the 2016 NCAA national championship team to play in the NHL. The others are Brock Boeser (Vancouver Canucks), Troy Stecher (Vancouver Canucks), Drake Caggiula (Edmonton Oilers/Chicago Blackhawks), Nick Schmaltz (Chicago Blackhawks/Arizona Coyotes), Tucker Poolman (Winnipeg Jets), Paul LaDue (Los Angeles Kings), Luke Johnson (Chicago Blackhawks), Christian Wolanin (Ottawa Senators) and Shane Gersich (Washington Capitals).


An 11th player from that team -- goalie Cam Johnson -- has dressed in an NHL game but did not play.

There's one other player from that team who might not be far off, either. Austin Poganski reportedly impressed at St. Louis Blues training camp this season.

Zajac gets first of the season

Former UND forward Travis Zajac scored his first goal of the season for the New Jersey Devils against the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.

Zajac entered the zone on the left side on a two-on-one rush and picked the short-side corner of the net. The Sabres blew out the Devils 7-2.

It marked career goal No. 187 and point No. 509 for Zajac.


Oshie scores in back-to-back games

Former Warroad High School and UND forward T.J. Oshie scored a goal in a second-straight game for the Washington Capitals.

Oshie found a rebound on top of the crease and backhanded it by Carolina goalie James Reimer.

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
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