The Daily Skate: UND commit misses All-American game, set to have season-ending surgery

Brad Elliott Schlossman, Grand Forks Herald
·6 min read

Apr. 8—Brent Johnson's outstanding season came to a sudden end last weekend.

Johnson, a UND commit who plays for the Sioux Falls Stampede in the United States Hockey League, suffered a season-ending injury that forced him to miss Wednesday night's BioSteel All-American Game and will keep him from playing again in 2020-21.

Johnson is expected to have shoulder surgery Friday. His rehab could take anywhere from three to five months.

The 5-foot-11, 165-pound blue liner has been climbing NHL Draft boards this season. He's totaled 11 goals and 32 points, which ranks fourth among defensemen in the USHL.

He was supposed to play for Team White in the All-American Game in Plymouth, Mich., but had to withdraw.

UND has not yet set its incoming freshman class, but Johnson is eligible to come this fall.

The Fighting Hawks will have at least four defensemen back in Jake Sanderson, Ethan Frisch, Tyler Kleven and Cooper Moore. They'll also grab at least one blue liner out of the NCAA transfer portal.

Johnson, a Dallas native who shoots right-handed, is projected to be a mid-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft.

Although UND didn't have any future players in the All-American Game on Wednesday, Grand Forks native Pierre-Paul Lamoureux served as one of Team White's coaches.

Lamoureux, who currently is the head coach of the Fargo Force in the USHL, was a co-coach with Pat Mikesch of the Green Bay Gamblers and Mike Garman of the Chicago Steel.

UND's goalie target becomes clear

UND received a big boon this week when Bowling Green center Connor Ford announced he was transferring to play for the Fighting Hawks for his final year of college eligibility.

But Ford won't be UND's only trip into the NCAA transfer portal.

The Fighting Hawks currently need at least one goaltender — last year's starter Adam Scheel signed with the Dallas Stars and senior backup Peter Thome entered the transfer portal.

As college hockey teams quickly grab goaltenders out of the portal — Notre Dame's Dylan St. Cyr is headed to Quinnipiac; Bowling Green's Eric Dop is headed to Boston College; Cornell's Matthew Galajda is headed to Notre Dame; Minnesota's Jared Moe is headed to Wisconsin; Arizona State's Evan DeBrouwer is headed to Bentley — it is obvious that UND has a top target.

That target is Bemidji State senior Zach Driscoll.

Driscoll spent one season at St. Cloud State before transferring to Bemidji State, where he excelled for three seasons. Driscoll, of Apple Valley, Minn., posted a .909 save percentage as a sophomore, .937 as a junior and a .922 as a senior. Driscoll helped Bemidji State to the NCAA regional championship last month. He has one year of college eligibility remaining.

The top goalies currently in the portal are Driscoll, Thome (a Columbus Blue Jackets draft pick) and UMass Lowell's Logan Neaton (a Winnipeg Jets draft pick).

Colorado College hires Mayotte

Colorado College has hired a coach to replace Mike Haviland.

The Tigers announced Wednesday that they picked Kris Mayotte to take over their program, which finished seventh in the National Collegiate Hockey Association in 2020-21, but is opening a new on-campus arena in the fall.

Mayotte most recently served as an assistant coach at Michigan. Prior to that, he served as an assistant at Providence for five years, winning one NCAA national championship, and also spent two years at St. Lawrence.

Mayotte, a 38-year-old from Pittsburgh, has served as an assistant coach for three U.S. World Junior teams.

He played goaltender at Union from 2002-06.

Hastings wins Spencer Penrose Award

Minnesota State-Mankato head coach Mike Hastings, of Crookston, Minn., has won the Spencer Penrose Award as the national college hockey coach of the year.

Hastings led the Mavericks to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association's MacNaughton Cup as regular-season champions and to their first NCAA Frozen Four. It has been an especially notable run for the Mavericks, who lost their top two forwards — Marc Michaelis and Parker Tuomie — last offseason. Minnesota State also lost three regulars on defense in Calgary Flames signee Connor Mackey and seniors Ian Scheid and Edwin Hookenson.

Hastings is part of an all-Minnesota Section 8 coaching staff along with Darren Blue (East Grand Forks) and Todd Knott (Red Lake Falls).

UND coach Brad Berry, the co-winner in 2020, also was a finalist for the honor.

Barrow to return to Denver

Denver senior forward Ryan Barrow has withdrawn his name from the NCAA transfer portal and will return to Denver for his extra season.

Barrow, one of the NCHC's best skaters, had four goals and nine points in 2020-21.

It appears Barrow will be the only Denver senior to return for a fifth season. Other than Jaakko Heikkinen, all of the other seniors — forward and captian Kohen Olischefski, defenseman Griffin Mendel, defenseman Bo Hanson, forward Steven Jandric, forward Jake Durflinger and forward Jack Doremus — are already in the transfer portal.

Wisconsin loses its captain, adds a Gopher

Wisconsin lost a third player to an NHL deal Wednesday.

Junior captain Ty Emberson signed with the Arizona Coyotes, ending his college eligibility. The Badgers also lost sophomore Cole Caufield, who is expected to win the Hobey Baker Award on Friday, and senior Linus Weissbach. Caufield signed with the Montreal Canadiens and Weissbach signed with the Buffalo Sabres.

Senior forward Ty Pelton-Byce signed an American Hockey League deal with the Manitoba Moose.

The Badgers are still awaiting a decision from Edmonton Oilers first-round pick Dylan Holloway.

Wisconsin added a goaltender in Minnesota sophomore Jared Moe, a Winnipeg Jets draft pick. Moe entered the transfer portal as Minnesota senior goaltender Jack LaFontaine, a finalist for the Mike Richter Award as college hockey's best goaltender, announced he would return for a fifth season.

Moe is expected to compete with Cameron Rowe (.933 save percentage, 2.05 goals-against average as a freshman) to earn the starting job in Madison.

Latest transfer portal entries

UND forward and Winnipeg Jets draft pick Harrison Blaisdell (0-4—4); Denver forward and captain Kohen Olischefski (4-10—14); UMass Lowell junior defenseman Chase Blackmun (6-5—11); Minnesota junior defenseman and Columbus Blue Jackets pick Robbie Stucker (0-5—5); Boston University junior forward Matthew Quercia (2-1—3); Mercyhurst sophomore forward Justin Cmunt (2-1—3); Bentley freshman forward Devan Tongue (0-0—0), Northern Michigan junior forward Ty Readman (1-1—2) and Northern Michigan third-string goalie John Hawthorne.

Briefly

— According to San Jose Sharks beat writer Curtis Pashelka, Michigan's leading scorer, Thomas Bordeleau, will return to school for his sophomore season. Bordeleau had 30 points in 24 games to lead the star-studded Wolverines in points. Bordeleau is a second-round pick of the Sharks.