College hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune covering the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs men's and women's teams, as well as the NCAA Division III programs at St. Scholastica and Wisconsin-Superior.
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DULUTH—The University of Minnesota Duluth heads into this weekend's NCHC Frozen Faceoff in a great position to do something no other UMD team has ever done: qualify for four straight NCAA tournaments. But a trip to the 2018 Big Ice Dance is by no means a lock yet. The third-seeded Bulldogs take on second-seeded University of Denver in the late semifinal of the Frozen Faceoff at 7:38 p.m. Friday, March 16, at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. The first semifinal features top-seeded St. Cloud State University and fourth-seeded University of North Dakota.
DULUTH — After watching his team win the past three games against Western Michigan by a combined score of 19-1, Minnesota Duluth coach Scott Sandelin finally got the tight, intense and physical game he'd been expecting all along against the Broncos on Saturday, March 10. As for Western, it finally got a decent performance out of its goaltender. The result was still the same, however, as the third-seeded Bulldogs pulled out a 2-0 victory over the sixth-seeded Broncos in front of 4,391 fans at Amsoil Arena to sweep the best-of-three NCHC quarterfinal series.
DULUTH — Minnesota Duluth destroyed Western Michigan 8-0 and 6-1 in a pair of games played just two weeks ago in Kalamazoo, Mich., but Bulldogs coach Scott Sandelin insisted earlier this week the NCHC playoff series at Amsoil Arena would be different. This weekend's games would be "much, much tighter." They would be "much more intense." They would be "tight games, physical games," the coach said.
DULUTH, Minn.—When Nick McCormack arrived on the Minnesota Duluth campus in the fall of 2014, he was part of a six-member freshman class, but the only rookie defenseman for UMD that season. Four years later, the 24-year-old McCormack is now the only senior on the Bulldogs' blue line, surrounded by five freshmen and two sophomores who are all three years or more younger than him.
DULUTH — Minnesota Duluth coach Scott Sandelin should be expecting a thank you basket this week from his alma mater, North Dakota. That's because the seventh-ranked Bulldogs capped the regular season with a 4-1 victory over No. 14 Nebraska-Omaha in NCHC play Saturday, March 3, before a crowd of 5,160 at Amsoil Arena to send the Mavericks packing for Grand Forks in the first round of next week's league playoffs.
DULUTH—Hermantown, Minn., native Jared Thomas and Duluth native Jake Randolph grew up as fans of the University of Minnesota Duluth and made their college commitments just days apart in January 2012. Thomas decided to stay close to home and play for the Bulldogs. Randolph chose to go, following his gut 530-plus miles to the University of Nebraska Omaha. Neither has looked back to wonder, "What if?" "I wouldn't regret anything about the decision," Randolph said. "I wouldn't do it any other way," Thomas said.
DULUTH — For the second consecutive season, the Minnesota Duluth women's hockey program saw its season cut short via a heartbreaking postseason loss at Amsoil Arena.
KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The Bulldogs are heading home today to snowy Duluth, and they will remain there for the next couple weeks. Ninth-ranked Minnesota Duluth followed up Friday's 8-0 win at Western Michigan with a 6-1 victory Saturday, Feb. 24, to complete the sweep of No. 17 Western Michigan at Lawson Ice Arena.
DULUTH — If anyone understands the injury woes Western Michigan is enduring in the second half of this season, it's Minnesota Duluth. Eight Bulldogs missed games due to injury in the first half of 2017-18, with a peak of five players out when UMD traveled to St. Cloud State to open NCHC play in October. Now it's the Broncos who are constantly cycling players in and out of the training room, with two top-line forwards out for the foreseeable future.
DULUTH — After making 16 saves for a shutout Friday at Amsoil Arena in Duluth, Minnesota Duluth sophomore goaltender Hunter Shepard had to work a little harder Saturday, Feb. 17, for another blanking. Shepard, the native of Cohassett and former Grand Rapids standout, made 34 saves Saturday to lead the Bulldogs to a 3-0 NCHC victory over Miami before a crowd of 6,543 at Amsoil Arena. The Bulldogs swept Miami to move into third place in the NCHC with four games and two weeks remaining in the regular season.