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Tom Miller / Forum Communications Co., Published April 07 2011

UND assistant coach Goehring back on Frozen Four's big stage

ST. PAUL – As the University of North Dakota men’s hockey team closed practice Wednesday in preparation for the Frozen Four, Sioux players and coaches lined up near center ice for the usual light-hearted shootout.

UND assistant coach Karl Goehring took his turn, skated across the blue line and deked out UND third-string netminder Tate Maris, evoking the shootout’s largest roar from Sioux players and coaches.

“The key was to pay Tate enough money to let me score,” Goehring joked.

The volunteer goalie coach briefly stole the show at the Xcel Energy Center. But about 10 years ago, Goehring made much more noise than that at the Frozen Four.

A two-time All-American at UND, Goehring played for the Sioux from 1997 to 2001 and guided the team to an NCAA championship in 2000 and a runner-up showing in 2001.

The first-year assistant graduated in 2001 as the program’s all-time leader in virtually every goaltending category and remains the UND record holder in wins (80), winning percentage (.765) and shutouts (15).

Goehring, who previously coached with the Syracuse Crunch, said his best piece of advice from his Frozen Four experiences to relay to current Sioux players was to cherish the situation.

“To me, it’s just about enjoying the moment and playing your game and doing your best,” Goehring said. “(Frozen Fours) don’t come around very often. You take them for granted as a player. When you’re all done playing, that’s when you get an appreciation for it. (My advice) is to just enjoy it and leave everything out there.”

In retrospect, Goehring said what he recalls most of the Frozen Four is how quickly it passed.

“You work so hard all season to get there,” Goehring said. “It’s like a flash. It’s so much fun. It’s a blast to be a part of.”

Goehring said he can see similarities between the 2000 and 2001 teams and this year’s Sioux group.

“The closeness is one thing that is in common,” Goehring said. “We had such a tight-knit group. I see a lot of similarities with these guys and how they act with one another.”

As a goalie coach who has played in four Frozen Four games as a player, Goehring said he’s told Sioux starting netminder Aaron Dell to stick to the typical preperation.

“Do our thing that we’ve been doing all year,” Goehring said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s the beginning of the season, the middle or the end. You go through your keys of how you play well and talk about the things we need to do on the ice. There’s a little bit more going on around the game at the Frozen Four. At the end of the day, it doesn’t change what we’re trying to do. Your focus is the same. The game plan is the same. It’s just about going out and playing.”

Earlier this week, Dell said Goehring was instrumental in molding himself, a sophomore expected to back up Brad Eidsness this season, into UND’s consistent starter and eventually into Inside College Hockey’s national goalie of the year.

“As he got on a roll there – when a player gets going like that – you ride it and see where it goes and what comes of it,” Goehring said. “It has been fun to watch, and it’s been fun to watch him develop throughout the course of the year.”

Miller writes for the Grand Forks Herald