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On Campus: North Dakota's Bernard-Docker makes mark at World Juniors

Sophomore defenseman played key role for Canada in championship game

by Mark Divver / Independent Correspondent

Jacob Bernard-Docker made the most of his chance with Canada at 2020 World Junior Championship.

The sophomore from the University of North Dakota was the only NCAA player on Canada's roster, one year after being the last defenseman cut by Canada.  

Using the snub as motivation, the 19-year-old, who was selected No. 26 by the Ottawa Senators in the 2018 NHL Draft, redoubled his efforts to get stronger (6-foot-0, 181 pounds) and it paid off. 

Skating on Canada's top defense pair, Bernard-Docker logged more minutes than any other player.

He was especially noticeable in the championship game. He flattened Russia's Kirill Marchenko with an open-ice hit in the second period. With under four minutes left in the third period, his long outlet pass ended up on the stick of Akil Thomas, who scored a spectacular game-winning goal in Canada's 4-3 victory. 

"In college hockey, he does a really good job playing against guys that are up to 23, 24 years old,'' said North Dakota coach Brad Berry, who was on Canada's championship team in the 1985 world juniors. 
"Now you go with your peer group on the international stage, try to be a leader, try to be a consistent player every time you hit the ice. I thought he did that, for the most part.''

At North Dakota, which is the top-ranked team in the country, Bernard-Docker is paired with senior captain Colton Poolman and has 14 points (three goals and 11 assists) in 17 games.

Though Bernard-Docker played a shutdown role for Canada, he does more for North Dakota. 

"He's a much more offensive player as far as joining in the rush at 5-on-5, being active," Berry said. "On the power play, he's the guy that brings the puck up the ice on the breakouts. He's the focus of our team on the back end.

"Jacob plays in all situations, first power-play unit, first PK unit and on our top D pair. He logs somewhere around 22 minutes a game here.'' 

Bernard-Docker, who played for Okotoks of the Alberta Junior Hockey League before enrolling at North Dakota, continues to work on his strength. 

"I look at the hit he put on Marchenko, stepping up in the neutral zone, that was quite a play,'' Berry said.

He's flexing his muscles in the classroom, too. 

"He was one of six guys on our team who got a perfect 4.0 (grade-point average) in the fall semester. He does everything at the highest level on the ice and off the ice,'' Berry said.


Guttman on fire 

Cole Guttman scored the game-winning goal in back-to-back games to help the University of Denver sweep UMass, 4-2 and 4-3, in a meeting of Top 10 teams on Jan. 3-4. Guttman also added an assist in each game.

Selected in the sixth round (No. 180) by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2017 NHL Draft, Guttman (5-9, 167) has six goals in his last five games for Denver, which is ranked. No. 7. The 20-year-old sophomore forward has 14 points (nine goals, five assists) in 19 games. UMass is ranked No. 9. 


Senior moment 

Senior forward Cam Morrison led the way for Notre Dame last weekend in a 1-1 tie and a 4-1 win against Western Michigan.

Selected in the second round (No. 40) by the Colorado Avalanche in the 2016 NHL Draft, the 21-year-old scored Notre Dame's only goal in the tie on Jan. 3. He scored two goals and had one assist in the win on Jan. 5.  

Morrison (6-3, 210) has 18 points (six goals, 12 assists) in 20 games.


Captain Morgan 

Cornell captain Morgan Barron scored two goals, including the tying goal with 1:12 left in the third period, against Providence in the title game of the Fortress Invitational in Las Vegas on Jan. 4 

Barron (6-4, 220) was selected by the New York Rangers in the sixth round (No. 174) of the 2016 NHL Draft. Barron, a 21-year-old forward, leads second-ranked Cornell in scoring with 17 points (nine goals, eight assists) in 13 games.

Though the game went in the books as a tie, Providence won in a shootout to take the tournament title. 


Hobey Baker watch 

Providence forward Jack Dugan gave fans in Las Vegas a glimpse of his scoring skill at the Fortress Invitational.

Dugan (6-2, 185), who was selected by the Vegas Golden Knights in the fifth round (No. 142) of the 2017 NHL Draft, scored one goal in a 3-1 win against Army on Jan. 3, then set up a goal and scored the deciding goal in the shootout on Jan. 5 against Cornell at T-Mobile Arena. 

The 21-year-old leads the NCAA in scoring with 37 points (seven goals, 30 assists) in 21 games.

Photos by Russ Hons

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