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Caggiula laughs of hit from official, Berry a Penrose finalist

CINCINNATI -- The University of North Dakota's Drake Caggiula swept a backhand into the net to open the scoring Saturday against Michigan.His momentum took him around the net, where he took a couple of strides, preparing to celebrate his NCAA tou...

CINCINNATI - The University of North Dakota’s Drake Caggiula swept a backhand into the net to open the scoring Saturday against Michigan.
His momentum took him around the net, where he took a couple of strides, preparing to celebrate his NCAA tournament goal.
Then, boom.
Caggiula was leveled by Eastern College Athletic Conference official Chip McDonald.
McDonald, standing behind the net, inadvertently collided with Caggiula, sending the senior forward flying into the air and off the back wall.
“I ran into a brick house,” Caggiula said Wednesday.
Upon getting up, Caggiula told McDonald: “Nice hit.” He patted the official on the backside, while defenseman Troy Stecher skated up and patted the official on the helmet.
“I definitely didn’t see that coming,” Caggiula said. “It was a good hit. I told him it was a good hit. Stechy even got him into the celebration with a tap of the head.”
Minutes after the University of North Dakota finished off its 5-2 victory over Michigan to earn a trip to the NCAA Frozen Four, the players retreated to the locker room and immediately started watching video of the play on their cell phones and laughing.
The players, who also traditionally vote on a hit of the game, gave it to the official.
“We had fun with it,” Caggiula said.
Berry a Penrose finalist
In his first year as a head coach at any level, Brad Berry is a finalist for the Spencer Penrose Award as the national coach of the year.
The award will be given on April 27 in Naples, Fla., at the annual American Hockey Coaches Association banquet.
The other finalists are Denver’s Jim Montgomery, Michigan’s Red Berenson, Quinnipiac’s Rand Pecknold, Michigan Tech’s Mel Pearson, Providence’s Nate Leaman, Boston College’s Jerry York and Air Force’s Frank Serratore.
Berry set a program record for most wins by a first-year coach this season. His team enters the Frozen Four with a 32-6-4 record. His team is guaranteed to have one of the top three winning percentages in school history.
Sandelin signs extension
Minnesota Duluth coach Scott Sandelin signed a four-year contract extension that will take him through the 2020-21 season.
Sandelin’s base salary will be $275,000 next season, increasing to $350,000 for the final season on the deal.
Sandelin led Minnesota Duluth to within a game of the NCAA Frozen Four for a second straight season. The Bulldogs lost to Boston College 3-2 in the final game of the Worcester regional.
Blais fires assistants
Omaha coach Dean Blais fired assistant coaches Troy Jutting and Alex Todd after the team’s late-season collapse.
Omaha was 14-3-1 at Christmas break, but finished the year 5-14. The Mavericks lost eight consecutive games to end the season, missing the NCAA tournament.
“Given the difficult end to our season, we took a hard look at our team and how we support the players as a staff,” said Blais, a former UND head coach. “In the end, I decided that this was one area where we needed to improve to stay competitive in the NCHC.”

men’s college hockey, UND Fighting Hawks men’s hockey, University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks men’s hockey, National Collegiate Hockey Conference men’s hockey, NCAA Division I men’s hockey

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