Brad Elliott Schlossman
Schlossman is in his 13th 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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WINNIPEG—Mark Poolman had knee surgery on Friday morning. He drove up to Winnipeg on Friday afternoon. And he was in the raucous Bell MTS Place on Friday night, April 20, watching his son, Tucker, help the Winnipeg Jets romp the Minnesota Wild 5-0 and win the city's first NHL playoff series in 31 years. "He told me that he wasn't going to miss it," said Tucker, a former East Grand Forks and UND star defenseman. "He's probably still got some anesthesia in him, not knowing quite what's going on."
GRAND FORKS — Referee Dan Dreger was on his hands and knees, blood streaming from his face and into a small puddle on the ice. His palate, the roof of his mouth, was cracked in half lengthwise—from his upper teeth all the way to the back of his throat. When he closed his mouth, his upper and lower teeth didn't line up anymore. Facial bones on both sides of his nose were fractured. The area between his upper lip and his left nostril was cut open, in need of three dozen stitches.
WINNIPEG—Bell MTS Place was full with fans decked out in white jerseys, shirts, pants, hair and beards. Two women even wore their wedding dresses to get in the spirit of the Winnipeg Whiteout, a famed playoff tradition in the city that dates back to the 1980s. They started partying on the street adjacent to Bell MTS Place in the afternoon, packed the arena by the time the teams came out for warmups and chanted "go Jets go" throughout the game. At long last, they didn't have to stop celebrating when the final horn sounded.
GRAND FORKS—When Ralph Engelstad Arena was built in the early 2000s, then-coach Dean Blais had a sign constructed outside the locker room door. It said: "Speed kills." It was a philosophy that led the University of North Dakota to NCAA national championships in 1997 and 2000, led the program to five MacNaughton Cups in eight years and filled the seats with fans flocking to watch UND pile up the goals and the wins. The revered coach, who later went on to stints with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Fargo Force and Omaha Mavericks, retired last spring.
ST. PAUL, Minn.—Jade Miller played for a bantam state championship in eighth grade and lost. He played for three North Dakota state high school championships with Grafton-Park River and lost all of them. He played for a North American Hockey League championship in junior hockey and lost. He played for an NCAA national championship as a freshman at Minnesota Duluth and lost. "They give you doubt," Miller said of the title-game losses. "I don't know if they make you mentally tougher after that many."
ST. PAUL, Minn.—Kobe Roth never had an opportunity to play in the Xcel Energy Center in high school. His Warroad High School career came at the same time as East Grand Forks was making annual trips to the Minnesota state boys high school hockey tournament and winning a pair of state championships. "This is the first time," the former Warroad forward said standing outside of Minnesota Duluth's locker room Friday afternoon, April 6. It will be a memorable one.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota Duluth is headed back to the NCAA national championship game. In a game eerily similar to their NCAA West Regional final victory two weeks ago, the Bulldogs built an early two-goal lead in a dominant first period, then hung on for a 2-1 win in the Frozen Four semifinals in Xcel Energy Center. The Bulldogs (24-16-3) will take on Notre Dame or Michigan at 6:30 p.m. Saturday for the championship. The last time the Frozen Four was held in the Xcel Energy Center, the Bulldogs won their first and only national championship.
GRAND FORKS Shane Gersich made his NHL debut Wednesday night for the Washington Capitals—and it was a milestone one for the University of North Dakota men's hockey program. When Gersich skated onto the ice at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., he became the 100th UND player to suit up in an NHL game. UND and Minnesota are the only two college hockey programs to have 100 NHL players. UND reached the mark thanks to a rush of NHL players stemming from the 2015-16 NCAA national championship team.
GRAND FORKS—The St. Louis Blues gave Austin Poganski the option of starting his newly signed NHL contract this season, joining the NHL club right away and collecting his signing bonus and prorated contract immediately. But like he's done for much of his career, Poganski is looking at the big picture and made a decision on what's best for the long run.
The 2018 NCAA Frozen Four at St. Paul's Xcel Energy will look a lot like the 2011 NCAA Frozen Four at the Xcel Energy Center. Three of the four teams are exactly the same as the last time the Minnesota Wild's home building hosted the event—Minnesota Duluth, Notre Dame and Michigan. The fourth team is Ohio State, which stunned defending national champion Denver 5-1 in the NCAA Midwest Regional in Allentown, Pa., on Sunday night, March 25.