UND Hockey: We, Us, and Our

To date, the University of North Dakota men’s hockey team has had a successful season. The Fighting Hawks 25-4-4 sit atop of the NCHC standings with a 16-3-3 Record. If the NCAA playoffs started today, they’d be the number-one overall seed. I know, I know. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The NCAA playoffs don’t start today, and there’s a lot of work left. So far, so good.

Offensively, UND’s junior class has set the pace, scoring 44 of 129 goals (34.1%). The Hawks top forward line is comprised entirely of juniors; Grant Mismash, Collin Adams, and Jordan Kawaguchi, and they have scored an impressive (35g-57a—92pts). For those that like plus/minus stats, they’re also an eye-popping plus-67.

No “I” in Team

It started on day one. No matter what, when asked about a particular play, the player in question will almost always defer the credit to one of their teammates. To a man, the 2019-20 UND hockey team has been focused and on message. They’ve been very disciplined. There haven’t been any passengers. Everyone appears to have bought in. 

Looking at their record and the NCHC standings it’s been a historic season. After 19 home games, their record is 18-1. The best ever on home ice. The only blemish, a 6-3 loss to the Omaha Mavericks back in January. 

UND senior captain Colton Poolman. (Photo Credit: Eric J. Burton)

Last season, after a disappointing ending, it would’ve been easy for senior captain Colton Poolman to sign a free agent deal with an NHL team. Instead, Poolman returned to Hawks to help right the ship. 

After a two-year hiatus, the Hawks have reemerged on the college hockey scene. As I mentioned above, the Hawks have secured home ice for the quarterfinals of the NCHC playoffs. They’re close to securing a number-one seed in the NCAA playoffs. Things are going well. It’s been a traditional UND hockey season. Fight for a league title and be in the conversation for the NCAA playoffs.

“It’s a good bunch of guys,” Poolman said. “No one is singling out themselves. It’s all for the team. It’s so fun to see different guys succeed at different points in the season.

“Guch (Kawaguchi) is having a hell of a year. He has risen to the occasion, so has Matt Keirstead. They’re two very humble guys, to have those guys as leaders in your locker room, sets a tone for everyone else. These guys play hard every minute, no matter what, and it shows to the young guys that you have to put in the work first to get to that level.”


On Wednesday, the UND athletics department officially announced the  Hobey Baker campaign for UND forward Jordan Kawaguchi.

When asked about being in the conversation for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award, Jordan Kawaguchi took it in stride. the team has bigger aspirations than individual awards.

“It’s cool to have my name put in that conversation,” Kawaguchi said. “But at the end of the day, it’s 27 guys in that locker room, and I look forward to coming into that dressing room every day and building the relationships that I have with my teammates.”

Kawaguchi continued: “being able to win a national championship would be unbelievable. Individual awards are cool, but it’s more fun when you can share the accomplishment. That’s what we are going for.”

Head coach Brad Berry was very business-like when talking about his Hobey Baker candidate. The Hawks have bigger goals in mind. To a man, the focus is a deep run through the NCAA playoffs.

“We always knew he had the god-given skills and the gifts,” Berry said. “When it came to his body, he needed to get to another level, and he did that. He continues to do that. Hats off to him on that. Like I tell you guys all the time, consistency is the ultimate compliment you can give a player.  He’s brought consistency all year, in his game, which kind of pushes the bar with the rest of our group.”

“He would never toot his own horn, but at the end of the day, you know we have one of the best players in the nation and in our group here,” Berry said.

I’ve been covering the University of North Dakota hockey team since the 2011-12 season. During those nine seasons, I’ve never met a more humble group of players.  

“It’s we, us and our,” Berry said. “All of our staff say that.  (Kawaguchi) as a leader says that. I grabbed him yesterday, knowing that this campaign was coming out. Just out of respect to him. I asked him, here’s what’s coming, are you good with it? 

It sounds like Kawaguchi’s answer was pretty low-key as well, “whatever you think coach — (do) what you have to do coach going forward.”

UND Clinches Penrose Cup with 2-1 OT Victory

Grand Forks, ND – The more things change, the more they stay the same. This all seems familiar. After a two-year hiatus from the NCAA Tourney, the University of North Dakota hockey team is headed back to the NCAA tourney as one of the top seeds.

After an impressive season, the Fighting Hawks 25-4-4, 16-3-3 NCHC, return to top of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference. Saturday night, UND’s clinched its 18th regular-season conference title. It has been four seasons since UND last won a conference title.

Just like Friday night, Saturday’s game had the feel of a playoff game. It was a knockdown drag-out, tight-checking, defensive hockey game. It was a war. Both teams combined for 36 shots. The Hawks will celebrate tonight, but they have bigger plans.

To win titles, you have to be able to gut out close wins. This season, UND has done that going 3-0-4 in overtime games.

“There’s a belief in our group here that we’re going to win those games in overtime,” head coach Brad Berry said. “We’re going to make a long run here, and that’s good to have in your bag knowing that you know you can win games any way you can”

With the 2-1 win in OT, the UND secured at least a share of the Penrose Cup. If UND can secure at least a single point next weekend, they will win the Penrose Cup outright. UND isn’t looking to share the Penrose with anyone else.

“We have a chance to do something tonight,” Berry said. “We have a chance to hang a white banner. We have a chance to add to our tradition here, and they dug down. I think the other thing was getting a bump from the 1980 team that was here. We had them in and around our group here all morning.

To start the game, the first whistle didn’t come until the 4:41 mark of the first period. That whistle, a beautiful goal by Collin Adam to give UND to a 1-0 lead.

At the 17:01 mark of the first period, the Broncos would tie the game with a tip-in goal from Paul Washe. It was a beautiful feed from Wade Allison and UND goalie Adam Scheel had no chance on the shot.  Through 60 minutes of hockey, the two teams would play to a 1-1 tie.

At the 3:43 of the overtime period, Broncos forward Rhett Kingston thought he’d scored the game-winning goal. After a video review, it was ruled no goal. You can view the video for yourself and come to your own conclusion.

So, they played on. Forty-three seconds later, Shane Pinto scored the game-winning goal sending the Ralph into a frenzy. Pinto’s game-winning goal clinched the conference regular-season title for the Hawks.

“I think that’s the best goal I’ve ever scored, Pinto said. “Just everything about it you know, winning it for the seniors, the Penrose Cup. Just that whole moment it’s definitely awesome.”

North Dakota Contains Western Michigan 3-1

Grand Forks, ND –The University of North Dakota inched closer to winning its third-ever Penrose Cup with a 3-1 victory over Western Michigan University. With the win, UND maintained a six-point lead over second-place Minnesota Duluth with three games remaining.

Friday’s game felt like a playoff game, tight-checking, defensive-minded. There was very little time and space. Finally, at the 09:52 mark of the second period, freshman forward Judd Caulfield would score his fourth goal of the season (Video embedded below). Three minutes and 29 seconds later, Junior defenseman Matt Kiersted would give the Hawks 2-0 lead.

At the 04:35 mark of the third period, the Broncos would get on the board with a goal from senior forward Dawson DiPietro would score his 12th goal of the season.

Scheel Retakes the Net

After watching junior goalie Peter Thome start seven games in a row, sophomore goalie Adam Scheel re-took the net against the Broncos. In his first game action since January 24, 2020, Scheel was impressive stopping 26 of 27 shots to win his 18th game of the season.

If Scheel was bitter for being benched, it didn’t show in the post-game press conference. Scheel seemed to take in all in stride.

“Relationships don’t change regardless of who is in the net,” Scheel said. “No matter what Peter was always a great teammate. No matter who’s in the net. You kind of learn from a guy like that. He’s a great guy in the locker room, and he’s one of my really good friends. He was always supportive of me so I did the same thing.”

While Thome was the man between the pipes, Scheel worked hard and earned another start.

“He had a good, two, or three weeks of practice here,” head coach Brad Berry said. “We look at how goalies have done against the other teams and he was outstanding in Western Michigan. Peter Thome has been playing outstanding as well. We lost the game and it wasn’t Peters fault that we didn’t get the result we wanted in St. Cloud on Saturday night. This was an opportunity for another guy to go in. I think it was a combination of a lot of things but mostly Adam staying sharp and working his tail off in practice.”

Stats of Note

Note: of the eight NCHC goalies that have played 19 or more games, Scheel still has the top goals-against average (2.03) in National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

In three games against the Broncos, Scheel has a 3-0-0 stopped 94-of-97 shots. With Friday’s 3-1 win, Scheel record against the Broncos.

With the win, Scheel improves to 18-3-3, 2.03 GAA, and a .906 save percentage. He also has two shutouts.

Jordan Kawaguchi was held scoreless for only the seventh time this season. Kawaguchi had a five-game points streak halted.

Freshman forward Judd Caulfied has scored four goals this season, three of them have come against the Broncos.

With his sixth goal of the season, Matt Kiersted (6g-22a—28pts) is second on the team in points.

For the first time this season, Kiersted scored the game-winning goal. Collin Adams leads the team with six game-winning goals. Jordan Kawaguchi is second on the team with five.

Zone 4 Playoffs Start

Round 1 1 vs 8
Game 1 11-Feb Tuesday 8:15pm Pembina at Morris Morris
Game 2 TBD Morris at Survivor W Pembina
Game 3 15-Feb Saturday 5:30pm Pembina at Morris Morris
Round 1 2 vs 7
Game 1 10-Feb Monday 7:30pm Carman at Mountain Notre Dame
Game 2 12-Feb Wednesday 7:30pm Mountain at Carman Carman
Game 3 14-Feb Friday 7:30pm Carman at Mountain Notre Dame
Round 1 3 vs 6
Game 1 10-Feb Monday 7:30pm Garden Valley at W.C. Miller Altona
Game 2 11-Feb Tuesday 7:30pm W.C. Miller at Garden Valley Winkler
Game 3 14-Feb Friday 8:00pm Garden Valley at W.C. Miller Altona
Round 1 4 vs 5
Game 1 TBD TBD TBD Morden at Portage Portage
Game 2 12-Feb Wednesday 7:30pm Portage at Morden Morden
Game 3 TBD TBD TBD Morden at Portage Portage

2020 Yonex Senior & Para National Badminton Championships

2020 Yonex Senior & Para National Badminton Championships
Day 1 Review

Winnipeg— January 29th, 2020 — Today at the 2020 YONEX Senior & Para National Championships, hosted by Prairie Badminton, many athletes played their first and second round matches in the Men’s Singles, Women’s Singles, Men’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles events. A total of 18 Manitoban athletes are registered for the event with many of them getting on court today. Notable victories by Manitobans today were Prairie Badminton Coach and Owner Ryan Giesbrecht besting Rocky Chan from Alberta, 21-5 & 21-10 followed by a win over Quebec’s 5/8 Seed, Philippe Charron, 21-14 & 21-18. Ryan was also victorious in Men’s Doubles with his partner Toby Ng from B.C. against an Alberta team 21-13 & 21-9.
Another success for today in Men’s Doubles was Manitoba’s Rylan Ramnarace and Dale Kinley over an Alberta team 21-12 & 21-9. Dale Kinley was also successful in Mixed Doubles with his Manitoba partner and badminton student Emalia Sinclair over a strong Quebec/Ontario combination 16-21, 21-13, and 21-18 in the deciding game.
There was also a big upset by Manitoba resident, Chris White, and his partner Erik Nilsson over an Alberta/Ontario hybrid team, 21-12, 16-21, 21-16 showing that age is just a number when it comes to high quality fast paced Men’s Doubles action.

More Match Results from Nationals

The day continued with relatively few upsets outside of Manitoba’s Ryan Giesbrecht. The current Men’s Singles National Champion, Brian Yang, solidified his spot into the next round along with B.C.’s number 2 seed, Antonio Li. Many of the strongest athletes in the tournament are eagerly awaiting their first games on Thursday.

Schedule For The Week

Main Round games will continue to be played throughout the day-time on Thursday, January 30th from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with the Quarterfinals beginning at 5:00 p.m. Semi-finals will be on January 31st at 5:00 p.m. as well and the Finals will be on Saturday, February 1st beginning at 12:00 p.m. The para-badminton events will be taking place concurrently with the Quarterfinals, Semifinals and Finals. In para-badminton Manitoba is excited to have Olivia Meier in the SL4 (Standing Lower 4) category and a 2020 Paralympic hopeful. Yuns Oh will be competing in the SL3 (Standing Lower 3) category, Sam Unger in the WH2 (Wheelchair 2) category. Other categories include WH1 (Wheelchair 1), SU5 (Standing Upper 5) and SS6 (Short Stature 6).

Address of Competition:

Prairie Badminton
275 De Baets Street, Unit 2
Winnipeg, MB R2J 4A8

For more information:

Justin Friesen
(204) 228-3210
Website: www.winnipeg2020.com or www.prairiebadminton.ca


Source – MJHL

The Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) is pleased to release details about the future leadership structure of Jr.A hockey in Manitoba. Kim Davis, current Commissioner of the MJHL, will be stepping down at the end of June 2020 concluding an impressive eighteen seasons with the league.

The league’s Board of Governors have concluded a succession plan with current Director of Operations, Kevin Saurette, who will take over as the next Commissioner of the MJHL. Now in his fourth season with the MJHL, Saurette will officially take over the lead role at the end of June 2020.

Kim Davis began his tenure in the 2002-03 season where he was hired as the league’s first full-time Commissioner. Since his appointment in June 2002 there has been over 6,000 MJHL regular season games played along with over 700 playoff games and over 200 regional or national championship games. Davis, a native of Flin Flon, MB, was selected in both the NHL and WHA Amateur drafts in 1977 (NHL – Pittsburgh 48th Overall, WHA – Edmonton 24th Overall). After a five-year professional career with experience in the AHL, IHL, and NHL he completed his Bachelor of Commerce Degree at the University of Manitoba. Prior to joining the league Kim Davis held coveted marketing positions in the retail banking, provincial lotteries, and food service industries.

Hired in 2016 by the MJHL, Kevin Saurette had previously enjoyed a nine-year professional playing career in the ECHL, AHL as well as oversees in Germany and the United Kingdom. After a junior career in the Western Hockey League (WHL), Saurette played five seasons with the University of Manitoba Bisons (U Sports) and eventually was named captain. The Brandon, MB product completed his Master of Business Administration while playing for the Belfast Giants (EIHL/UK) where his finished his playing career.

As part of the progression of the MJHL leadership structure a recruitment process will begin in February 2020 to appoint a new Director of Operations along with a new full-time staff role to manage league marketing and partnerships. Both Davis and Saurette will jointly lead the initiative to oversee the application process and hiring of the new personnel.

The Manitoba Junior Hockey League is one of ten Junior ‘A’ Hockey Leagues in Canada and is a proud member of the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL). The MJHL and its eleven member clubs take pride in providing the best development opportunities for players to advance on and off the ice.


Bisons men’s basketball ranked No. 8 in U SPORTS, highest in 25 years

WINNIPEG — The Manitoba Bisons men’s basketball team have reached their highest U SPORTS ranking since 1995, as they enter the week ending February 2, 2020 as the No. 8 team in the country.

The last time the Bisons reached No. 8 was during the 1994-95 season.

It is the highest national ranking since Kirby Schepp became head coach of the men’s basketball program in 2009-10. Schepp previously coached the team to a No. 9 ranking twice — two weeks in February-March 2016 and in last week’s rankings (January 21).

This season, the Bisons are 14-2 in conference play and have yet to lose a game in regulation. Their two losses on the season — to Lethbridge and then-No. 9 Saskatchewan — came in overtime.

Manitoba has been an excellent defensive team this season, second in Canada West in opponents’ three-point percentage (28.6), second in blocks (3.4), and seventh in points per game allowed (77.6). Their leading scorer has been fifth-year guard Rashawn Browne, who is ninth in the conference at 18.1 points per game.

The Bisons are on the road this weekend as they play a pivotal matchup against Victoria. They finish their regular season next weekend at IGAC, February 7-8, against the Brandon Bobcats.

MBB: No. 9 Manitoba squeaks out 72-69 win over Regina

Box Score: https://gobisons.ca/sports/mens-basketball/stats/2019-20/regina-cougars/boxscore/4641 

Game Recap

MBB: No. 9 Manitoba squeaks out 72-69 win over Regina

Nik Kowalski, Bison Sports

WINNIPEG – Down 16 at the half, the No. 9 Manitoba Bisons (13-2) found a way yet again, defeating the Regina Cougars (7-8) 72-69 at Investors Group Athletic Centre Friday night.

“We’re all here for each other, we’re having fun together and we’re all hyped up,” said Manitoba’s Andre Arruda postgame. “It’s just been a really good time.”

Both teams were without their leading scorers, Carter Millar for Regina and Rashawn Browne for Manitoba.

Manitoba felt the absence of their top point-getter early on, scoring just 20 points in the first half and going without a bucket for over half of the second quarter.

“Rashawn’s such a ball dominant guy and such a leader for us offensively,” said head coach Kirby Schepp postgame. “We were kind of a ship without its brother for the first little while.”

Regina led 36-20 at the half, taking advantage of only eight made Manitoba field goals.

“We weren’t very assertive in the way we executed,” said Schepp. “We just couldn’t get a good shot.”

With nine points off turnovers, the Bisons turned up their aggression in the third and completely erased the Cougar’s 16-point lead.

Missed free throws hurt Regina, while Manitoba sent the game into the fourth tied after a trio of Arruda free throws — his first points of the game.

“Every shot today felt good,” said Arruda, who finished with five points and 11 rebounds. “Getting those free throws to calm myself down and see the ball go through the hoop was nice.”

Manitoba grabbed their first lead of the game at 52-49 on a Keiran Zziwa and-one. They never looked back, leading until the clock hit zeroes.

Other Bisons stepped up throughout the night: James Wagner scored a game-high 25, Risto Zimbakov nailed a trio of threes, Cameron O’Hara used his height to pick off a full-court pass late in the game, and Joel Adu-Quaye threw down the game’s final basket with a vicious dunk.

Manitoba will look to stay unbeaten in regulation when they host Regina again, 7 p.m. tip-off.


Stampeders three game win streak was snapped

Source – Swan Valley Stampeders

The Stampeders three game win streak was snapped Thursday night in Portage, losing to the Terriers 5-3.

Nathan Carl had a goal and an assist, Brenden Saether scored his first as a Stampeder, and Trevor Schroder scored his 16th of the year in the loss to the Terriers.

The Stampeders were looking to push their win streak to four games as they travelled to Portage to take on the Centennial Cup hosts.

Although the Stampeders lead 7-3 in the shot department, is was the Terriers would jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first 10:08. Reece Henry would score off the post and in at 1:47, Brett Namaka scored on the power play just over four minutes later, and Joey Moffatt would grab his 20th of the year at 10:08. Nathan Carl would finally solve Noah Giesbrecht, beating the Portage netminder at 15:45 on the power play.

Portage would regain their three goal lead as Jacob Pillar walked in all alone, collecting his sixth of the year at 7:07 of the middle frame. The Stampeders would use a power play to pull within two, as Trevor Schroder ripped one home low blocker side on Giesbrecht at 9:43.

Brenden Saether pulled Swan Valley within one at 8:11 of the third. Saether’s goal was his first as a Stampeder, letting a rocket go from the point. Carter Barley would seal the deal, scoring into the empty net with two seconds left, and the Terriers skated to a 5-3 win.

Final shots

Swan – 28

Portage – 38

The Stampeders next action will be Saturday January 25 against the Dauphin Kings at Credit Union Place. Saturday’s game is their annual Ukrainian Night, limited tickets remain if you’re interested in attending.

Swan next home action will be Sunday, January 26, against the Steinbach Pistons. The game is a presentation of Emergency Services throughout the valley. *Note* game time is 6pm.

The 2020 YONEX Canadian National Badminton Championships are coming to Winnipeg

From January 29th to February 1st, 2020, Badminton Canada will be hosting the 2020 YONEX Canadian National Badminton Championships at the Prairie Badminton Club in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

For the first time in history, Badminton Canada will be hosting the National Championships for both able-bodied and para-badminton at the same time, and in the same venue.

“Badminton Canada has made inclusivity a priority; combining these events into one Championship was a crucial and necessary step for the organization” said Joe Morissette, Executive Director of Badminton Canada. “We welcome badminton enthusiasts of all abilities to come watch and experience the fastest racquet sport in the world!”

On display at the 2020 YONEX Canadian National Badminton Championships will be Canada’s best badminton athletes, including the youngest National Champion in history, Brian Yang. Yang is currently 2nd on the Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Junior Ranking, and fresh off an incredible season – winning a Bronze medal at the Pan American Games this summer at the age of 17.

Joining, Yang will be fellow YONEX National Team athletes, including Women’s Doubles pair Rachel Honderich and Kristen Tsai; Men’s Doubles pair Jason Ho-Shue and Nyl Yakura; and Mixed Doubles pair Joshua Hurlburt-Yu and Josephine Wu – all of whom are defending National Champions and 2019 Pan Am Games Champions.

“We have our best athletes attending the Championships this year, it is sure to be a great competition with tons of great performances and energy” said Mike Butler, National Team Head Coach. “With para-badminton debuting in the 2020 Paralympic Games this summer in Tokyo, athletes and spectators will get a taste of the amazing things these para-athletes can do!”

An athlete to watch in the para-badminton events is young Winnipeg local, Olivia Meier. Meier trains out of the Winnipeg Winter Club (WWC), and has been a top performer for Canada since she began competing in para-badminton in 2016. This past summer, Meier claimed her first Parapan Am Games title in Mixed Doubles (SL3/SU5) alongside partner, Pascal Lapointe, and was also able to claim a silver medal with an outstanding performance in Women’s Singles (SL3/SU5). Now, like many of our Canadian badminton athletes, Meier looks to capture a National Championship title, however this time, she has the potential to do it in her hometown!

Schedule of Play: • Wednesday January 29th & Thursday January 30th 2020 – Main Round Matches – All Day • Friday January 31st – Semi-Finals begin a 5:00PM MST • Saturday February 1 st – Finals being at 12:00PM MST – Medals & Awards at 5:00PM MST

Prairie Badminton 275 De Baets st. Unit 2 Winnipeg, Manitoba R2J 4A8

For media access and athlete availability, please contact

mikeluck@badminton.ca Mike Luck Events & Communications, Manager Badminton Canada mikeluck@badminton.ca (613) 748-5674 ext. 223