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College men's hockey: UMD's Samberg cleared to return to lineup

News Tribune file photo Minnesota Duluth sophomore defenseman Dylan Samberg, shown during last year's NCAA championship game, is cleared to play this weekend against Michigan Tech after missing Sunday's game at Minnesota with a lower-body injury.

After missing Sunday's 7-4 loss at Minnesota with what was classified as a lower-body injury, sophomore defenseman Dylan Samberg of Hermantown is good to go for this weekend's nonconference series at Michigan Tech.

Puck drop is 6:37 p.m. Friday and 6:07 p.m. Saturday in Houghton, Mich.

"Just getting back to things and making sure I'm 100 percent," said Samberg, who after a limited day Tuesday was back to practicing in full Wednesday. "I came out (Wednesday) with contact and I felt comfortable so I'm excited for the weekend."

Samberg was the recipient of two violent hits during Saturday's 1-1 overtime tie at Amsoil Arena, having to leave the game twice in the span of two minutes, though he'd return from each to finish Saturday's game.

The first hit saw Samberg pushed from behind. He appeared to bang his right knee into the end boards with 9:46 to play in regulation. Minnesota's Ryan Norman received a minor for boarding on the play.

The second hit, which resulted in Tyler Nanne getting two minutes for clipping, resulted in a hit on Samberg's left knee after Nanne's attempt at a hip check went awry.

With Samberg out, freshman defenseman Jake Rosenbaum made his collegiate debut, while junior defenseman Jarod Hilderman moved up from being the seventh defenseman to seeing regular shifts in the top six. Those were the positives to the timing of Samberg's injury, UMD coach Scott Sandelin said.

The negative was the result, though it's not something the coach is dwelling on with the short turnaround this week.

"When you look at the score, not very well," Sandelin said of how the team fared without Samberg on Sunday. "Seven goals against certainly wasn't our best defensive effort, but I thought it was a weird hockey game. Everyone looks at the score — I look at that disappointed — but I also look at within the game and thought we did some things better than we did Saturday. I thought our overall game was better."

Matt Wellens

College hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune covering the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs men's and women's teams, as well as the NCAA Division III programs at St. Scholastica and Wisconsin-Superior.

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