– the Winnipeg Jets’ second round selection of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft – spent the past season playing for the Bulldogs, helping them to a 2-1 victory in the National Championship game.
The 6-foot-3, 190-pound product of Hermantown, Minnesota most certainly had a contingent of supporters out in St. Paul throughout the weekend. After spending part of the 2016-17 season with Waterloo of the USHL, Samberg collected one goal, 12 assists and 43 penalty minutes in 42 games for the Bulldogs this season, to go along with a +5 rating.
Following victories over Minnesota State University and Air Force in the first round and quarterfinals, respectively, the Bulldogs advanced to the Frozen Four in hopes of claiming the national title. They did just that in defeating Ohio State 2-1 in the semis, before proving victorious over Notre Dame by the same score, Saturday. After losing in the finals last season, Minnesota-Duluth bounced back tremendously in the 2018 running of the National Championship.
It only took the Bulldogs the first period to score both of their goals, limiting Notre Dame to just one, while holding the opposition scoreless over the course of the second half of the game. Goals by Karson Kuhlman and Jared Thomas gave the Bulldogs the lead, while solid goaltending from Hunter Shepard handed them the victory. Shepard stopped 19 of 20 shots in the championship game. Minnesota-Duluth outshot Notre Dame 35-20 in the victory.
Minnesota-Duluth has won both of its National Championships in St. Paul, with victories coming in 2011 and now 2018.
By Carter Brooks
Photos by James Carey Lauder