Staff Directory 10645146

Randy Johnson

Producer | Puck Drop
Phone: 612-673-7664
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

Randy Johnson is the producer of Puck Drop for the Star Tribune. He previously was the beat writer for University of Minnesota football and hockey, along with other college sports.


Johnson also spent 17 years as sports copy editor/layout editor at the Star Tribune after five years in a similar role with the St. Paul Pioneer Press. From 1991 through 1995, he was assistant sports editor and Penn State football beat writer for the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pa.
Recent content from Randy Johnson
Gopher goalie Jack Lafontaine began his college career at Michigan.

Gophers hockey players looking forward to series at Michigan

Two of them have ties to the state or Wolverines.
Defenseman Matt Dumba (24, in front of goalie Alex Stalock) says the Wild is looking forward to heading to California, despite a 1-8 road record. “E

Despite road woes, Wild happy to be heading out on 10-day trip

Be it home, road or wherever, Wild coach Bruce Boudreau just wants his team to start collecting points after a 4-9-1 start.
Gophers forward Grace Zumwinkle was mobbed by Taylor Heise (9) after she scored the Gophers third goal of the game in the third period.

Gophers beat Wisconsin 4-2 in women's hockey series opener

Grace Zumwinkle scored two goals, and Sarah Potomak and Alex Woken had one each as No. 2 Minnesota beat the top-ranked Badgers in the border rivals' first meeting of the season.
Wisconsin goaltender Kristen Campbell (35) knocks the puck away after a shot on goal by Minnesota's Sarah Potomak (26) during the third period in the

Better Border Battle: No. 2 Gophers vs.No. 1 Badgers in women's hockey

Wisconsin beat Minnesota for last season's NCAA championship. They'll meet again Saturday and Sunday at Ridder Arena.
Sammy Walker got a shot past Notre Dame goalie Cale Morris for the game-winner in the second overtime.

U hockey skates to tie with Notre Dame, picks up extra point in OT

Sammy Walker scored 97 seconds into the second overtime after the Gophers rallied in the third period.
Gophers hockey coach Bob Motzko sees the beginning of Big Ten play as something that can help his team’s focus.

Young Gophers men's hockey team being forced to grow up in a hurry

They open conference play against the undefeated Irish.
Gophers football coach P.J. Fleck surprised the men's hockey team by donning goalie gear at Tuesday's practice.

The puck stops here? Not really when Fleck joins Gophers hockey practice

Gophers football coach P.J. Fleck accepted Bob Motzko's invitation to join a practice, try out his goaltending skills, have some fun and offer some inspirational words to the hockey team.
The Wild's Jordan Greenway controlled the puck on the ice while Montreal’s Jeff Petry (26) defended on Oct. 20 at Xcel Energy Center.

Jordan Greenway looks ready to return to Wild lineup

Coach Bruce Boudreau will have a tough decision to make with 13 healthy forwards available in Dallas.
Gophers hockey player Nathan Burke during an game on Oct. 11 in Colorado Springs.

Gophers lose 5-2 to Minnesota Duluth in hockey series opener

Minnesota Duluth, which entered the game a surprising 1-3, got a goal and two assists from All-America defenseman Scott Perunovich on its way to an efficient victory.
UMD players swarmed freshman forward Quinn Olson (15) after he scored his first career goal to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead in the first period.

Minnesota Duluth completes hockey sweep of Gophers

The Bulldogs scored on their first shot, and then turned the game over to goalie Hunter Shepard.
Gophers forward Brannon McManus (7) scored on Minnesota Duluth’s Hunter Shepard when the teams met last October in Minneapolis.

U hockey shows respect, not awe, for UMD entering weekend showdown

The Gophers play the two-time defending NCAA champs Friday in Minneapolis and Saturday in Duluth.
Sammy Walker scored the game-winning goal past Brian Wilson in overtime

Gophers hockey opens home schedule with overtime victory

Sammy Walker beat Niagara goalie Brian Wilson 46 seconds into overtime, giving Minnesota a 3-2 victory in its home opener.
Minnesota Duluth forward Jackson Cates battles for the puck in the first period against UMass Lowell’s Zach Kaier

UMD's NCAA hockey title defense begins with a loss

UMass Lowell interrupted Minnesota Duluth's celebratory mood by beating the Bulldogs 3-2.
With five goals and five assists in four games, Gophers sophomore Taylor Heise is off to a strong start.

Hoops or pucks? Taylor Heise's choice works well for Gophers women's hockey team

The sophomore center leads Minnesota in scoring and continues to develop her game.
Gophers men’s hockey coach Bob Motzko knows his 11 freshmen won’t become sophomores overnight.

College hockey's long season just what Motzko and his young Gophers need

The coach knows he'll go through peaks and valleys with a team that has 11 freshmen. 'I'm good with that,' he said.
Senior goalie Maddie Rooney, an Olympic gold medalist, is a big reason Minnesota Duluth hopes to return to being a women's college hockey power.,

'Gabbie and Maddie Show' has UMD seeking NCAA breakthrough

Led by high-scoring forward Gabbie Hughes and Olympic gold medal-winning goalie Maddie Rooney, Minnesota Duluth wants to become a women's hockey power again.
Minnesota Duluth coach Scott Sandelin got his hands on a third NCAA championship trophy last season, and he’ll try for a fourth – and third straig

As banners pile up, Minnesota Duluth coach Scott Sandelin appreciates the journey

The Bulldogs have won the past two NCAA championships and have a team loaded for a three-peat. Getting there, the coach knows, will take a lot of work.
Defensemen Nick Wolff, left, and Scott Perunovich, paired together, have helped lead UMD to back-to-back NCAA titles.

Seeking three-peat, UMD splits top defensive pair to start hockey season

Nick Wolff and Scott Perunovich have been paired together the past two national-championship seasons at Minnesota Duluth. But as the season starts, they've been split. Will it last?
Tom Serratore enters his 19th season at Bemidji State and has an NCAA Frozen Four berth to his credit.

Little details add up to success for Bemidji State coach Tom Serratore

Leading a program that wins through hard work and grit, Serratore makes sure that players and coaches keep learning.
Brett Larson’s debut season at St. Cloud State included 30 wins and the NCHC regular-season title. This season, his challenges include replacing fiv

Once a UMD Bulldog, Brett Larson is putting his stamp on St. Cloud State Huskies

A veteran Huskies team won the NCHC last season. In his second year in the Granite City, Larson will have a younger team with opportunities for growth.
Bemidji State junior goaltender Zach Driscoll played for Eastview High School.

High school rivals team up as leaders at Bemidji State

Defenseman Tommy Muck, a senior captain from Eagan, and Zach Driscoll, a junior goalie and former Eastview standout, are making their mark with the Beavers.
Clair DeGeorge led Bemidji State with 22 points on nine goals and 13 assists as a sophomore last season.

Hockey's allure came quickly for Bemidji State's Clair DeGeorge

The Anchorage native traded figure skates for hockey skates, and she's developed into a standout player for the Beavers.
Mike Hastings’ Minnesota Stae Mavericks are ranked No. 3 in the country and are favorites to win a third consecutive WCHA title.

Minnesota State hockey coach Hastings puts his trust in the process

The Mavericks have an experienced, talented core returning, but there's work to be done to earn an NCAA breakthrough.
Senior forward Marc Michaelis led Minnesota State in scoring last season with 19 goals and 23 assists for 42 points. He has 51 goals and 66 assists in

Unfinished business has Minnesota State stars Michaelis, Tuomie back

Seniors Marc Michaelis and Parker Tuomie, both high-scoring forwards from Germany, believe the Mavericks have a chance for a special season.
Minnesota State’s women’s team will try to continue its improvement under coach John Harrington.

Harrington builds Minnesota State women's hockey program step by step

The 1980 Olympic gold medalist and his Mavericks face a stiff challenge in the rugged WCHA.
Senior goalie Janine Adler had a solid 2.63 goals-against average and .935 save percentage last season for St. Cloud State.

Adversity brings perspective for St. Cloud State goalie Janine Adler

A serious health scare at last spring's world championships has the thoughtful senior from Zurich, Switzerland, enjoying every moment on the ice.
Gophers hockey coach Bob Motzko shouted to his players during a game last season.

New-look Gophers hockey skates to 2-2 exhibition tie with Mount Royal

Sammy Walker and Blake McLaughlin scored goals, and each of the Gophers' new goalies played one period against the Cougars
Defenseman Jack Ahcan, who had six goals and 28 assists last season, takes on the captain’s role this season for the Huskies.

St. Cloud State defenseman Jack Ahcan ready for his starring role

The senior earned second-team All-America honors last season and takes on leadership duties for the Huskies.
Gophers hockey coach Bob Motzko realizes his team has a lot of work to do to compete in the Big Ten because of the key players the program lost from l

Motzko's second-year challenge at U: teaching 12 newcomers fast

Captains Tyler Nanne, a senior, and Sammy Walker, a sophomore, give the Gophers hockey team a two-tiered leadership structure.
The St. Paul Saints celebrated their American Association championship Saturday night at CHS Field.

Saints sweep Sioux City to win American Association championship

A grand slam by Chesny Young put the Saints ahead in the sixth inning, en route to their first title in 15 years.
Jack Blatherwick, shown in 1985, received a national hockey honor Friday that has gone to the likes of Herb Brooks, John Mariucci, John Mayasich, Phil

Former Brooks assistant Blatherwick receives national hockey award

Jack Blatherwick, a longtime Minnesota high school coach, received the 2019 Lester Patrick Award for outstanding service to hockey.
St. Thomas coach Glenn Caruso’s football teams have won six MIAC titles in his 11 seasons leading the program.

Ousted St. Thomas to open awkward football season as one of MIAC favorites

In May, the MIAC Presidents' Council announced it was involuntarily removing St. Thomas, which will line up on the football field against schools that demanded the Tommies find somewhere else to play.
Krissy Wendell practiced with the Wild in 2017 as part of Minnesota Wild Girls Hockey Weekend.

Former Gophers and Olympic star Wendell picked for U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame

Krissy Wendell, one of the most-decorated players in Minnesota history, will be one of five 2019 inductees into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, USA Hockey announced Wednesday.
North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance celebrated with teammates in the end zone after scoring a touchdown in the first half.

Lance puts on a show for 34,544 at Target Field in NDSU's 57-10 rout

Redshirt freshman Trey Lance completed 10 of 11 passes for 185 yards and four touchdowns and added 116 rushing yards, including TD runs of 61 and 33 yards.
North Dakota State celebrated its latest FCS championship win, this one over Eastern Washington on Jan. 5 in Frisco, Texas.

Bison invasion: 35,000 fans expected for NDSU opener at Target Field

The Twin Cities area has more than 15,000 North Dakota State alumni, so there's a built-in fan base that can augment the caravan that will travel down I-94 from Fargo.
Wild coach Bruce Boudreau and players Luke Kunin and Jared Spurgeon watched the press conference introducting general manager Bill Guerin on Thursday

Wild veterans excited about Guerin. 'When he's talking, you're listening.'

"Just hearing how confident he is in the way he's thinking is going to be good for us.," said veteran defenseman Jared Spurgeon.
Zach Parise talked with reporters April 9 after the Wild season ended.

Parise shocked by firing of Wild's GM, wonders what's ahead for team

Zach Parise says he's looking forward to seeing who will be chosen to replace Paul Fenton and the direction the new leadership will take the Wild after last season's struggles.
St. Thomas football coach Glenn Caruso made his first public comments since the MIAC announced the Tommies will be out of the league in 2021.

St. Thomas coach defends program: 'I cannot apologize for who we are'

St. Thomas has two more seasons of MIAC football before it embarks on a to-be-determined future after being ousted from the conference.

Jason Zucker's still here, even after Wild General Manager Paul Fenton gets ousted

Winger didn't relish Paul Fenton's firing, even after he was nearly traded twice.
Alaska Anchorage’s Jeremiah Luedtke played against Michigan Tech in a WCHA game last season.

WCHA's uncertainty grows with Alaska financial emergency

The WCHA will have men's hockey this season, but it remains uncertain if the Alaska programs will survive and be part of it.
Alaska forward Ryker Leer played at Bowling Green in February.

WCHA's demise stems from geography, struggling programs

Seven teams plan to abandon the league, compounding problems for Alaska's two college hockey programs.
Minnesota State Mankato and head coach Mike Hastings could be moving to a new conference before long.

Seven schools, including Mankato, Bemidji State, begin process of leaving WCHA

The three current members of the WCHA men's league that aren't involved in the move are the ones that are the furthest away from the Minnesota-based conference — Alabama Huntsville, Alaska and Alaska Anchorage.
Francis Ngannou lands a decisive and heavy punch on former UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos. Ngannou won the bout with an early first round

Ngannou takes UFC main event at Target Center; 'Crochet Boss' wins

Maurice Greene's victory created Saturday night's the buzz around the octagon. Hours later, Francis Ngannou put a cap on the night with a quick and decisive TKO.
Maurice Greene, who’ll fight in the UFC Fight Night’s preliminary card Saturday at Target Center, uses crochet as a diversion from the Octagon.

Dream weaver: Meet UFC's mean Maurice Greene, aka 'The Crochet Boss'

The St. Cloud resident, who got hooked on crocheting before his fighting career, will challenge Brazil's Junior Albini in a heavyweight UFC bout Saturday at Target Center.
Incoming Gophers recruit Bryce Brodzinski of Blaine earned Mr. Hockey honors this season, with 32 goals and 44 assists in 23 games.

Gophers men's hockey gets much younger with signing of 11 players

The Gophers announced a class of 11 incoming freshmen for 2019-20, a group that includes six forwards, three defensemen and two goalies

Competitive fire burns bright for Shattuck-St. Mary's Jackson LaCombe

A title-game loss months ago still bothers the high-scoring defenseman.
Jackson LaCombe, right, scored 22 goals and assisted on 67 for Shattuck-St. Mary's in the 2018-19 season. He'll continue his career with the Gophers t

Competitive fire burns bright for Shattuck-St. Mary's Jackson LaCombe

A title-game loss still bothers the high-scoring defenseman, who'll begin his Gophers career this fall but first will hear his name called in the NHL draft this weekend.
Wild goalie Alex Stalock, left, and Canterbury Park announcer Paul Allen have developed a friendship over the years and have invested on a handful of

Alex Stalock, Paul Allen kick back at the track as their filly races

The Wild goalie and the Canterbury Park announcer are good friends and part-owners of a filly, One Famous Ocean, that's had some success at the Shakopee horse track.
Minnesota Whitecaps goaltender Amanda Leveille celebrated with the Isobel Cup at Tria Rink on March 17 after a 2-1, overtime victory over the Buffalo

Amid labor dispute, goalie Leveille re-signs with Whitecaps

The former Gophers goalie is returning to the Whitecaps after helping them win an NWHL title.
Whitecaps goalie Amanda Leveiville (29) denied a shot by the Metropolitan Riveters Madison Packer (14) in the NWHL semifinals in March at Tria Rink.

NWHL plows forward with plans for next season amid player boycott

The Minnesota Whitecaps' league says it's 'open for business,' and intent on growing women's hockey.
Allen Americans coach Steve Martinson, a Minnetonka native and former St. Cloud State standout, posted his 1,000th coaching victory in March. Martinso

Hockey lifer Steve Martinson piles up the wins and isn't slowing down

The Minnetonka native, former St. Cloud State standout and longtime enforcer surpassed 1,000 coaching wins this season for Allen of the ECHL. Only Scotty Bowman and John Brophy have won more games as a pro coach.
Jim Smith, in his office at St. John's in Collegeville, in 2015

St. Thomas' dismissal from MIAC triggers firestorm: 'Don't cry about it ... try to get better'

Three former MIAC athletes, a former coach and a future Tommie openly shared their opinions on this week's news that St. Thomas will be "involuntarily removed from membership'' in the league after 2021.
Team Stecklein forward Allie Thunstrom (9) shoots against Team Szabados goalie Shannon Szabados in the NWHL All-Star Hockey Game Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019

Whitecaps re-sign All-Star Thunstrom amid NWHL tensions

Other unionized players have vowed not to play next season, but Allie Thunstrom is back with the Whitecaps.
UST head coach Glen Caruso and the rest of the football team celebrated on the sideline as the clock ran out in December 2012.

St. Thomas vows to 'attack what's next' after being kicked out of MIAC

Options include finding a new Division III conference, jumping to Division II or beginning a climb to Division I, a process that would take 12 years.
Minnesota Whitecaps co-head coach Ronda Engelhardt spoke to players during an early practice. The team won the NWHL title, but there are questions abo

Whitecaps founder: Boycott endangers U.S. women's pro league

Minnesota Whitecaps founder Jack Brodt's comments came after more than 200 players vowed not to play next season unless a financially stable league is established
Minnesota Whitecaps celebrated Lee Stecklein's game-winning overtime goal that gave the Minnesota Whitecaps the NWHL title in March.

Whitecaps, Olympians won't play women's pro hockey until demands met

More than 200 women's hockey players, including members of the Minnesota Whitecaps and gold medal-winning 2018 U.S. Olympic team, say they won't play in any North American league until demands are met.
Goaltender Hunter Shepard helped lead Minnesota Duluth past Notre Dame for last year’s NCAA championship in St. Paul. Now Shepard and the Bulldogs a

UMD's goalie brings 10-0 postseason run into Frozen Four semifinal

Hunter Shepard's route to Minnesota Duluth didn't follow a direct path after being named the top high school goalie in the state five years ago.
Defenseman Jackson LaCombe is one of the standouts for Shattuck-St. Mary's top-ranked boys' prep team. The Gophers recruit entered the national tourna

Shattuck-St. Mary's hockey teams take aim at national titles

The Faribault boarding school's boys' and girls' prep teams are ranked No. 1 and are favorites to win USA Hockey Tier I national titles. They are a combined 83-10-7.
Brothers Jack (3), Nick (center) and Ryan (11) Poehling have combined for 24 goals and 42 assists for St. Cloud State.

Poehling brothers give St. Cloud State a line to rely on

The three brothers have been together on the same line since a teammate went down with an injury for the Huskies, who have the top seed in the NCAA men's hockey field.
Minnesota State Mankato's Marc Michaelis, a junior from Germany, has 19 goals and 22 assists this season.

Minnesota trio of No. 1 seeds aims for Frozen Four

A quick look at St. Cloud State, Minnesota Duluth and Minnesota State Mankato.
Coach Scott Sandelin's UMD team is one of three from Minnesota that has earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA men's hockey field.

UMD wins NCHC Frozen Faceoff in double overtime over St. Cloud State

Nick Swaney scored on 2-on-1 rush 7:29 into the second overtime, giving the Bulldogs a 3-2 victory.
St. Cloud State leading scorer Patrick Newell.

Minnesota rules: St. Cloud State, UMD, Mankato land No. 1 hockey seeds

For the first time since the formation of a 16-team NCAA men's hockey field in 2003, Minnesota — or any state for that matter — has three No. 1 seeds.
St. Cloud State forward Robby Jackson scored in the second period

St. Cloud State beats Colorado College 5-2 in NCHC semifinals

Patrick Newell and Nolan Walker scored goals 24 seconds apart in the first period for St. Cloud State, which advanced to Saturday night's championship game

Minnesota Duluth's big third period breaks stalemate with Denver in NCHC semifinal

Hunter Shepard made 25 saves in a 3-0 shutout.
St. Cloud State’s Easton Brodzinski (26) and teammates celebrated a goal at last year’s NCHC Frozen Faceoff.

No. 1 St. Cloud State ready for rugged NCHC tournament

St. Cloud State headlines league tournament that has three of the NCAA's top five teams.
The Gophers were excited last weekend. They still are. “There’s a buzz in the air,” forward Brannon McManus said.

Gophers are 2 wins from NCAA berth (and 1 loss from being done)

Minnesota is 7-1 in its past eight games going into Big Ten semifinal vs. Irish.
The St. Cloud State team bus got stuck in a drift in Watonwan County on Sunday.

St. Cloud State hockey team stranded, sheriff offers jail for shelter

The Huskies' bus got stuck on a road near St. James, where the sheriff gave them shelter and food -- and would have put them up in the county jail, if needed.
The Gophers return home this week for the first time since their Feb. 1-2 split with Michigan.

Gophers hockey will try again to build on success after repreated stumbles

Bob Motzko has seen it all season. His Gophers men's hockey team puts together a solid, consistent, successful weekend. Then it regresses.
Ohio State forward Tanner Laczynski celebrated a goal at the NCAA Frozen Four in St. Paul last April.

Ohio St. dominates Big Ten men's hockey; U and others scramble

The Gophers, swept last week at Penn State, and the rest of the conference are in danger of missing the NCAA tournament.
Gophers goalie Steve Janaszak makes a save against Bowling Green on March 19, 1979, as defenseman Mike Greeder (28) swoops in to help.

'79 Gopher hockey champs will gather to remember 'golden time,' Herb Brooks

Herb Brooks coached the third title team in a six-year span, and players will gather Saturday for a reunion.
Notre Dame running back Dexter Williams, left, celebrates a touchdown with Micah Dew-Treadway, center, and quarterback Ian Book during the second half

Fleck gets transfer from Notre Dame, but loses defensive tackle Smith

When P.J. Fleck assembled his 2019 recruiting class during December's early signing period, he left left wiggle room to delve into college football's growing transfer market.
Jahmile Addae coached at Arizona before coming to Minnesota.

Gophers lose defensive backs coach Addae to West Virginia

Jahmile Addae will return to the school for which he was a four-year starter and three-time All-Big East defensive back from 2001-05.
Kirk Ciarrocca came to the Gophers with head coach P.J. Fleck.

Gophers offensive coordinator Ciarrocca staying in Minnesota

The offense made big strides from 2017, the first year under coach P.J. Fleck and Kirk Ciarrocca, who is known for his work with quarterbacks.
Kirk Ciarrocca, the Gophers’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, is being pursued by West Virginia for a position on its coaching staff, b

U offensive coordinator Ciarrocca being pursued by West Virginia

Kirk Ciarrocca has coached under P.J. Fleck since 2013 at Western Michigan. Also, defensive line coach Marcus West is leaving to join the coaching staff at Charlotte in Conference USA.
Coach P.J. Fleck and the Gophers hoisted the Quick Lane Bowl champions trophy after stomping Georgia Tech 34-10 in Detroit on Wednesday.

Ibrahim, Johnson help Gophers crush Georgia Tech in Quick Lane Bowl

Mohamed Ibrahim -- the game MVP -- rushed for 224 yards and two touchdowns and Tyler Johnson caught two touchdown passes in one of Minnesota's most dominant performances of the season.