Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Banner Year: DDC's Top 10 Moments of 2015-16

UND captain Gage Ausmus is presented the national championship trophy as the Green and White celebrate
their first title since 2000 after beating Quinnipiac 5-1. (Photo: Shawna Noel Schill,
It's been 12 days since the UND men's hockey team rolled Quinnipiac 5-1 in the national championship game to earn title No. 8.

What a 12 days it has been.

DDC's 12 days have been chocked full of celebrations, memories, boasting, smack talking and ultimately, the glory of his team being a top the college hockey mountain, once again.

In these 12 days, we've had some good news with freshman phenom Brock Boeser announcing his intentions to stay for his sophomore year. We've also seen some not so good news, at least for the sake of the Green and White with junior d-men Troy Stecher and Keaton Thompson signing pro contracts. It's sad to see these two men move on, but DDC joins the many UND fans in a heartfelt thank you.

A couple days back, DDC was reminiscing about the amazing year this team had. So, before we talk anymore about who's coming and who's going, let's all take one last look back at a truly banner year for this program.

DDC presents to you over the next handful of posts, his Top 10 moments of the 2015-16 season.

No. 10 -- Hakstol departs, Berry takes over -- May 18, 2015 -- Grand Forks, N.D.

Brad Berry became UND's
16th head coach in team
history on May 18, 2015.
Let's start at the very beginning. May 18th was quite the day.

Just over a month after UND fell in the national semifinals for the second year in a row, the headlines broke early in the day -- longtime head coach Dave Hakstol signed to become the next head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers in the National Hockey League.

Questions immediately stirred up a nervous fan base who had seen great success over Hakstol's tenure: What does this mean for our recruits? How long will the team be without a coach? And ultimately the biggest question -- Who's next?

Those questions found very quick answers and by the end of the day, UND announced Brad Berry would be promoted from his assistant role and take over as the Green and White's 16th head coach in team history.

A whole new crop of questions came from the hiring. Will UND adopt a new system? Can Berry do the job having never been a head coach? What kind of leader will he be?

Well, the rest, as they say, is truly history.

No. 9 -- The CBS is born -- October 17, 2015, UND vs. BSU, Grand Forks, N.D.

After winning the IceBreaker Invitational in Maine to open the season, the Green and White came home to open their Ralph Engelstad Arena schedule against Bemidji State.

After a 4-4 tie on Friday night, Brad Berry juggled his lines, grouping highly-touted freshman and first-round NHL draft pick Brock Boeser with another first rounder in sophomore Nick Schmaltz and senior alternate captain Drake Caggiula.

And again, the rest, as they say, is history.

Four goals, including a hat trick by Boeser, his first three goals in a UND sweater, five assists and a 5-2 win later and the CBS line was born. Caggiula netted the Green and White's first goal and had two assists. Schmaltz chipped in with two assists.

Oof, that shot (12 seconds in). Boeser showed off his nasty scoring touch in this game and it catapulted this line into college hockey stardom. While this game set the table, it was merely an appetizer for UND fans as this trio became the best line in the country.

Man, DDC is going to miss this line. Don't worry. We'll see plenty more of this now legendary trio later in the countdown.

There's your first installment of DDC's Top 10 moments from the 2015-16 season. Check back soon for moments No. 8 through No. 6 in the countdown. Up next... two sweeps that set the stage for a Frozen Four semifinal, UND's goalie troubles become an afterthought and the Green and White earn back-to-back banners.