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College men's hockey: Hermantown's Samberg returning to Bulldogs for run at another title

Minnesota Duluth's Dylan Samberg answers questions during a news conference before the NCAA title game earlier this month at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, N.Y. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

The defenseman who has brought four consecutive championships to the Northland is returning in 2019-20 to make a run at a fifth.

Hermantown native Dylan Samberg informed the News Tribune via text message he will return to Minnesota Duluth for his junior season as the Bulldogs attempt to do what just one program has done in the history of NCAA Division I men's ice hockey — win three straight national championships.

Samberg, 20, is a 2017 second-round draft pick of the Winnipeg Jets, taken 43rd overall that summer. He was selected after winning back-to-back Minnesota Class A titles at Hermantown High School in 2016 and 2017.

The former Hawk is now two-for-two with the Bulldogs, winning consecutive championships the past two seasons in St. Paul and Buffalo, N.Y.

The 3-0 dismantling of Massachusetts in this year's finale made UMD the first program to repeat since Denver in 2004 and '05. Michigan is the only school to three-peat, doing so from 1951-53 when the NCAA tournament was just six years old.

Asked after UMD's triumph earlier this month by teammate Jade Miller what it was like to win all the time, Samberg's response was humble.

"I've been fortunate to be on good teams with good coaches, and it's paid off," Samberg said.

After recording one goal and 12 assists as a freshman, Samberg tallied seven goals and 12 assists as a sophomore. He posted a plus-22 rating this season, tying him with defensive partner Mikey Anderson for the team-high.

Anderson, also a sophomore, signed an NHL deal with the Los Angeles Kings this week. UMD lost junior winger Riley Tufte to the Dallas Stars a week ago.

Anderson and Tufte, as of now, appear to be in the minority as more Bulldogs are choosing to stay in school to make a run at another championship rather than jump to the NHL.

In addition to Samberg, junior goaltender Hunter Shepard and junior defenseman Nick Wolff — both undrafted free agents who were believed to have pro options — have indicated they are returning to UMD next season.

The Bulldogs graduate only four from this year's team in forwards Parker Mackay, Billy Exell and Peter Krieger and backup goaltender Nick Deery.

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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