For a guy who is closing fast on spending 50 years reporting on hockey in the Red River Valley, this is a great time to be Green and White, isn’t it?
We puckheads were thrilled last winter when two hockey teams at East Grand Forks Senior High made waves.
Coach Jim Scanlan’s Green Wave girls team finished second in the Minnesota Class A state tournament, the best ever for that program.
Then, Coach Tyler Palmiscno’s Green Wave boys completed that final giant step, capturing the Class A boys title. The Green Wave rolled over perennial power Hermantown in the championship game. That brought the first state hockey championship trophy home to East Grand Forks.
Both of those same programs are in the hunt to return to the state tournaments this year. Stay tuned as that all plays out.
Green-and-White power doesn’t stop at the high school level in the Red River Valley.
On the collegiate level, Coach Dave Hakstol has his team in the hunt for the league title with 10 games to go. The Green-and-White Fighting Sioux (yes, I know) are in position to make a run at the school’s eighth national championship.
UND is ranked No. 1 in both national polls this week, No. 2 in the Pairwise Rankings which mimics the process the NCAA uses to pick its 16-team tournament field in March.
The fact that the Fighting Sioux will be seeded to play in the NCAA Regional in Fargo should swing heavily in UND’s favor as well for returning to the Frozen Four.
Going out of the valley slightly, there’s some Green-and-White pride over in Bemidji, Minn., as well.
That same Coach Scanlan mentioned above, now in his first year as head coach of the Bemidji State women’s team, has opened some eyes. His Beavers have wins over Minnesota, Wisconsin, Minnesota-Duluth and North Dakota. That’s impressive. The man can coach.
Finally, the BSU men’s team under Coach Tom Serratore, while not in contention for a league title, has claimed the first hardware.
The Beavers, heavy underdogs in the field, stunned both Minnesota-Duluth and Minnesota State, ranked No. 1 nationally, to take home the North Star Challenge Cup in St. Paul last weekend.
That tournament also included the Minnesota Gophers, by the way, who finished last.