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
Former Minnesota Duluth defenseman Brady Lamb, right, with his wife Lizz and 3-month-old son Callaghan in Augsburg, Germany. Brady plays for the Augsb

Stuck in holding pattern, ex-UMD hockey star and family persevere

Border closure is keeping former Bulldogs star from introducing son to Minnesota relatives.
Vancouver's J.T. Miller tried to score as Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk blocked the net at Xcel Energy Center in January. The Wild would face the Canucks i

NHL players approve 24-team playoff proposal, but many other hurdles remain

The Wild would qualify for the expanded postseason, facing the Canucks.
Monrovia Football Academy's U15 team was part of the USA Cup last summer.

Walz allows youth activities in small groups, but USA Cup canceled

Certain youth and recreational activities can go on with "guidance'' and with groups under 10 people but without games as Gov. Tim Walz announced Phase 2 of his Stay Safe MN plan on reopening the state.
Whitecaps players celebrated their 1-0 overtime victory over the Metropolitan Riveters on March 8 at Tria Rink in St. Paul.

NWHL cancels Isobel Cup Final between Whitecaps and Boston Pride

The Whitecaps, who won the NWHL title in 2019, were aiming for a repeat in Boston before the pandemic.
South St. Paul coach Dave Palmquist and Holy Angels coach Lynn Olson flanked Packers eighth-grade forward Kelly Kegley in a commemorative photo later

Breaking the ice: One game started it all for girls' high school hockey

South St. Paul defeated Holy Angels 8-0, but the significance of that night in 1994 goes much deeper than the final score.
Bob Motzko, who was named Big Ten Hockey Coach of the Year on Monday, guided the Gophers to a 16-14-7 record with a team that featured 19 freshmen or

Honored by Big Ten, Motzko has reason for optimism for U hockey

After being named Big Ten Coach of the Year, Bob Motzko is eager to see what a Gophers team that had 19 freshmen or sophomores last season can do to improve.
Capt. Ashley Birdsall of the Minnesota Army National guard in the Joint Operations Center officer for the Guard’s COVID-19 response unit.

They were Minnesota athletes. Now they're on teams fighting COVID-19

These former college athletes sometimes look back to lessons they learned through sports. The one most often mentioned is teamwork.
Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs, the younger brother of former Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs, knocked away a pass during a game against Mississippi St

Vikings first-rounders? Take your pick from these 20 mock drafts

Mock drafters around the country have the Vikings taking everyone from Stefon Diggs' younger brother to an assortment of wide receivers and offensive linemen with their pair of first-round picks.
Scott Perunovich became the sixth Minnesota Duluth player to win the Hobey Baker Award as college hockey’s top player, after the defenseman had six

UMD's Perunovich embraces his Hobey Baker award from home

Normally, Scott Perunovich of Hibbing would have received the honor on a Friday afternoon, on a stage with an applauding crowd. Instead, it took place late night and on TV.
St. Thomas, which is being forced out of the MIAC after the 2020-21 school year, wants to move directly to Division I, bypassing the standard five-yea

Games have stopped, but St. Thomas' Division I quest continues

The NCAA Division I Council still is scheduled to meet April 23-24, with St. Thomas' proposed move from D-III on the agenda and the Summit League an enthusiastic suitor.
Hours before what should have been a WCHA playoff game, Minnesota State Mankato hockey coach Mike Hastings walked around an empty arena on Friday afte

MSU Mankato's great hockey start has no ending

How does the story of this season end? With blank pages for the Mavericks.
Gophers heavyweight Gable Steveson was one of three ex-Apple Valley wrestlers with a realistic chance at an NCAA title thisyear.

Bring it back: Minneapolis seeking another shot at wrestling tourney

If the world operated as we'd been expecting, about 40,000 people would have filled U.S. Bank Stadium today and Minnesota's Gable Steveson would have taken his first steps toward an NCAA wrestling title.
U.S. Bank Stadium won't be hosting the NCAA wrestling tournament.

Game off: NCAA cancels Final Four, wrestling and other winter, spring championships

A day after announcing that its championship events would be played in front of no spectators because of the coronavirus pandemic, the NCAA on Thursday pulled the plug entirely.

College hockey contenders are left disappointed

When the NCAA announced Thursday that it was canceling the remainder of winter sports championships and all spring sports because of the coronavirus pandemic, it hit Minnesota and neighboring North Dakota hard.
The NCAA Wrestling Championships is still scheduled for March 19-21 at U.S. Bank Stadium -- the first time it’s been held in an NFL stadium -- but t

NCAA bars fans from March Madness events, wrestling championships

The wrestling event is still scheduled for March 19-21 at U.S. Bank Stadium. Organizers had hoped to shatter its attendance records, but the big stadium will be mostly empty.
Construction workers built scaffolding last month on the northwest side of U.S. Bank Stadium, which is scheduled to hold the NCAA Wrestling Championsh

NCAA assessing how coronavirus might impact Wrestling Championships at U.S. Bank Stadium

In a display of how fluid the coronavirus crisis is, an NCAA official said Tuesday morning the March 19-21 wrestling event will be held as planned. By Tuesday afternoon, the NCAA indicated changes could be coming.
Minnesota Whitecaps players celebrated their 1-0 overtime victory over the Metropolitan Riveters at Tria Rink in St. Paul on Sunday.

Whitecaps beat Riveters 1-0 in overtime in playoff semifinals

Minnesota defeated Metropolitan in overtime and will play for the title Friday.
Jack LaFontaine made a save against the Wisconsin during a game in November.

Gophers hockey falls 2-1 to Michigan, ending any hope for Big Ten title

Nick Granowicz scored early in the third period and Strauss Mann made 27 saves for the Wolverines, spoiling the Gophers' possible party. Minnesota will still host a first-round playoff series, vs. Notre Dame.
Gophers coach Bob Motzko directed his team in the second period against Michigan State earlier this month.

Gophers hockey loses out on chance at Big Ten bye

Minnesota needed to beat Michigan on Friday night at 3M Arena at Mariucci for a chance to win the Big Ten title outright. Instead, the Gophers tied Michigan 2-2, then lost the extra point in a shootout.
Columbus center Pierre-Luc Dubois and Wild center Ryan Donato

Donato getting praise even if he's not getting big minutes for Wild

For Ryan Donato, fourth-line duty has meant making the most of his opportunities. His 12 goals in 55 games rank sixth on the team
Gophers forward Brannon McManus is among the team’s players delivering big performances of late.

U approaching Big Ten hockey title -- if it can finally solve Penn State

Red-hot Minnesota plays this weekend at Penn State, where the Gophers have lost six straight by a lopsided, with a chance to clinch the Big Ten title.

MSU Mankato rebounds for 2-0 win over Bemidji State in Mariucci Classic

The Mavericks, drubbed 7-2 by St. Cloud State in the all-Minnesota tournament on Saturday, were engaged from the get-go
Minnesota's Sammy Walker, left, celebrated his second period goal, the first of the game, with teammate Ben Meyers (39)

Quick-strike Gophers shut down St. Cloud State to win Mariucci Classic

Goals by Sammy Walker, Tyler Nanne and Bryce Brodzinski in a span of 1 minute, 40 seconds in the second period helped the Gophers claim the championship
Plenty of hockey memories were on display during a celebration of life public gathering for Gophers legend Doug Woog

Woog remembered for 'dignity and respect' at celebration of life

Former players, teammates, friends, family and a former governor on Sunday saluted former Gophers coach Doug Woog, who died Dec. 14.
Gophers forward Blake McLaughlin (27) was congratulated by his teammates after he scored the game-winning goal against Bemidji State on Saturday night

Blake McLaughlin's late goal sends Gophers past Bemidji State

Coach Bob Motzko got his 300th victory and a chance to play his former team.
Former Gophers hockey coach Doug Woog at the Doug Woog arena, named after him in South St. Paul.

Doug Woog's life to be celebrated Sunday at South St. Paul High School

A public celebration of the life of Doug Woog will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday at South St. Paul High School.

St. Cloud State routs No. 2 Minnesota State Mankato 7-2 at Mariucci Classic

Freshman Zach Okabe scored four goals, a tournament single-game record.
Devan Dubnyk

Dubnyk will be with Wild on road trip; 'hope' is to play

Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk hasn't played since Nov. 16 while dealing with his wife's medical situation. "I've got everything lined up at home,'' he said. "I'm looking forward to getting back with the guys.''
Minnesota goaltender Jack Lafontaine played well vs. Wisconsin but the Gophers were defeated 9-3 last week in a series opener with North Dakota.

Gophers men's hockey struggling to win series openers

In their eight series openers this season, the Gophers have a 2-4-2 record and have been outscored 31-19.
Devan Dubnyk

Dubnyk away from Wild because of wife's serious medical condition

Goalie Devan Dubnyk has missed the past four games with the Wild and will likely be out for a few more because his wife, Jenn, is facing health problems that have required hospitalization.
Gophers goaltender Jack LaFontaine reacted as North Dakota forward Cole Smith celebrated a goal by Colton Poolman in the first period.

UND overruns Gophers on ice, in Mariucci stands during 9-3 beating

The third-ranked Fighting Hawks administered the beatdown of the Gophers in front of a raucous pro-North Dakota crowd and raised their record to 11-1-2.
Wisconsin’s Alex Hornibrook fumbled during the first quarter of last year’s loss to the Gophers.

The day Wisconsin finally lost its grip on Paul Bunyan's Axe

A look back at the Gophers' 37-15 victory over Wisconsin last November to finally end the streak.
The storied history between the Gophers and North Dakota includes Justin Holl's goal with 0.6 seconds left in the 2014 NCAA semifinals that gave Minne

Thanksgiving night feast: Gophers vs. old nemesis North Dakota

They last played Oct. 27, 2018, but the fierce rivalry persists.
Minnesota's Sampo Ranta (58), Brannon McManus (7) and Scott Reedy (19) celebrated after Reedy scored a goal in the second period.

Gophers hockey skates to tie with Wisconsin; Badgers win shootout

Wisconsin surged in the third period, scoring two goals to force overtime. Neither team scored in the overtimes.
The Gophers' Scott Reedy (19) scores past Wisconsin's goalie Daniel Lebedeff during the first period.

Gophers score two in first period, two in third to beat Badgers 4-1

Blake McLaughlin and Scott Reedy scored first-period goals, and Jonny Sorenson and Sampo Ranta scored in the third.
Cole Caufield, a first-round NHL draft pick for Montreal, leads Wisconsin with nine goals.

Young Gophers seeking same early spark as Wisconsin men's hockey

When Minnesota and Wisconsin meet this weekend, fans will see two of the nation's youngest men's hockey teams looking to mature quickly. Right now, the Badgers are doing a bit better.
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.