Staff Directory 6370506

Randy Johnson

College football reporter | Puck Drop
Phone: 612-673-7664

Randy Johnson covers University of Minnesota football and college football for the Star Tribune, along with serving as a producer for Puck Drop, the Star Tribune’s enhanced online hockey coverage.


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
St. Cloud State coach Brett Larson has compiled a 63-32-9 record in three seasons with the Huskies.

St. Cloud State men's hockey coach Larson gets 7-year contract extension

Frmer Minnesota Duluth assistant Brett Larson led the Huskies to their first NCAA Division I championship game in April. The extension runs through 2028.
TCF Bank Stadium

Rockwall-Heath (Texas) running back commits to Gophers

Three-star recruit Zach Evans is the nation's 46th-rated running back in the recruiting Class of 2022, according to 247Sports' composite rankings of major recruiting services.
WCHA Commissioner Bill Robertson presented the MacNaughton Cup to Minnesota State Mankato’s Marc Michaelis, left, and Nick Rivera in 2019.

Robertson leaving WCHA to become commissioner of USHL

The longtime Twin Cities sports executive will take the reins of the Tier I junior league from Tom Garrity in July,
Salisbury trips St. Thomas, sweeps Division III baseball championship

Salisbury trips St. Thomas, sweeps Division III baseball championship

The Tommies advanced to the best-of-three final series, but lost the first two games to the Maryland school in St. Thomas' final Division III competition.
Joel Johnson is the interim coach for the U.S. Women’s National Team and has served as Gophers associate head coach since 2011.

St. Thomas hires Gophers assistant to be women's hockey coach

Joel Johnson has been Minnesota's women's team's associate head coach for the past 11 years and is serving as interim coach of the U.S. Women's National Team.
North Stars goalie Gilles Meloche, left, got a big hug from team scout and former goalie Gump Worsley after Minnesota beat Montreal 3-2 in Game 7 of t

For North Stars, Game 7 had wins, losses and entertainment

The team appeared in seven Game 7s, going 3-4 but producing some interesting moments along the way.
A Vegas shot made it past Wild goaltender Cam Talbot, but the goal was waved off due to goaltender interference

Vegas coach, players say failed challenge was worth risk

The decision put the Wild on the power play, leading to its second goal. "It was a challenge that everyone felt we should take," one Vegas player said.
P.J. Fleck and the Gophers are three months away from opening the season vs. Ohio State

Fleck focusing on Ohio State, Gophers' opening opponent in 2021

The visit from the Buckeyes will mark the first time (in a non-pandemic season) that the Gophers will open at home in more than a quarter-century.
Relaxed COVID-19 restrictions at Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena allowed more than 11,000 to attend Game 5 between the Golden Knights and the Wild on Monday n

Golden Knights open their doors to a bigger crowd for Game 5 vs. Wild

Relaxed COVID-19 restrictions allowed for more than 11,000 to watch Vegas and Minnesota on Monday night.
Left winger Marcus Foligno and the Wild have had trouble getting the puck past Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury on the power play and at even s

From faceoffs to finishing, Wild power play isn't connecting

After going 0-for-2 in six minutes with the man advantage in Saturday's 4-0 Game 4 loss to Vegas, the Wild power play is 0-for-8 in the series, and coach Dean Evason is looking for answers.
Wild wing Mats Zuccarello tried to keep control of the puck as he came out from behind the net and Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury trailed

Wild and Golden Knights see regular season records switch in playoffs

After winning the season series with Vegas, the Wild has witnessed a different story in the playoffs.
Nick Holden and Marc-Andre Fleury are two big reasons the Vegas Golden Knights have a lead in their playoff series with the Wild.

Nick Holden emerges as unsung hero in Golden Knights-Wild series

The Vegas defenseman had two assists Thursday night as his team rolled to a 5-2 victory.
Maddie Rooney, making the shootout save to secure the gold medal in 2018, will be among four goalies in the U.S. Women’s National Team’s selection

Minnesota represented well on U.S. Women's National Team selection camp

The camp in Blaine from June 1-6 will be key in determining the roster for the U.S. in the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.
Mikael Granlund’s diving goal in overtime gave the Wild a 1-0 victory over Colorado in Game 3 of the 2014 first-round series at Xcel Energy Center.

Playoff home cooking: Here are 10 Wild games to savor at the X

With postseason hockey back at Xcel Center on Thursday, here's our list of the Wild's most memorable home playoff games.
Wild defenseman Matt Dumba (24) reacted after scoring against the Vegas Golden Knights during the second period of Game 2 of a first-round NHL hockey

Dumba promises Wild will be 'different beast' at home

Wild defenseman Matt Dumba bristled at being labeled underdogs to the Golden Knights.
Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (7) and right winger Alex Tuch celebrate Tuch’s first goal Tuesday.

With Golden Knights looking for scoring, Tuch moved up

Former Wild draft pick Alex Tuch played on Vegas' top line in Game 1, bringing speed and energy.
Wild goalie Cam Talbot stonewalled Jonathan Marchessault and the rest of the Golden Knights in Game 1.

Three keys to victory in Game 2 for Wild vs. Vegas

A series that immediately became intriguing resumes late Tuesday in Las Vegas, and the Wild can expect some pushback from the Golden Knights.
Joel Eriksson Ek of the Wild defended against Golden Knights winger Ryan Reaves during the second period Sunday in Vegas.

Even-keeled Joel Eriksson Ek gets excited about overtime winner

A scoreless game set the stage for the young center's most important goal.
Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

Wild vs. Vegas: First-round playoff preview

The Wild won the regular-season series, but the stakes get raised as the teams prepare to open on the Strip.
Nick Bjugstad had six goals and 11 assists in 44 games with the Wild this season.

Minnesotan Nick Bjugstad excited to play in first playoff game for Wild

He will be in the postseason with a third NHL team, after previously playing for Florida and Pittsburgh.
Rookie Kirill Kaprizov celebrated with teammates after scoring against Vegas on May 5.

At long last, Wild enters playoffs with some hope

A solid regular season gave Minnesota the No. 3 seed and a first-round matchup with Vegas. So, what might make this postseason different for the Wild? Hint: He wears No. 97.
The Gophers and reigning NCAA champion Wisconsin face off Dec. 3-4 in Madison and Jan. 21-22 at Ridder Arena

Gophers women's hockey will open against pair of Frozen Four teams

A visit from Ohio State and a trip to Minnesota Duluth are the early highlights of Minnesota's 2021-22 season.
The St. Paul Saints and Iowa Cubs stood along the foul lines for the national anthem before launching a new era in Saints baseball as the Twins’ Cla

Toby Gardenhire brings Saints into Twins future with 11-1 home debut loss

Gardenhire would have to settle for some energy but little fun, no victory and only two hits from his team from his team in its lopsided loss to the Iowa Cubs.
The Gophers and St. Cloud State will meet at 3M Arena at Mariucci on Oct. 15 as part of a home-and-home series.

UMD, St. Cloud State on U men's hockey nonconference 2021-22 schedule

The remainder of the home schedule will be filled by Alaska, Mercyhurst and the six other Big Ten teams. The Mariucci Classic will not be played.
St. Cloud State players celebrated their national semifinal victory over Minnesota State Mankato.

St. Cloud State opens season against D-I newcomer St. Thomas

The NCAA men's runner-up Huskies face the Tommies in a home-and-home series on Oct. 2-3 before meeting Minnesota State Mankato, the Gophers and Wisconsin later that month.
Rico Blasi was introduced as St. Thomas men’s hockey coach on April 6.

St. Thomas gets 'Hockey Day' slot vs. Mankato next season

The Tommies men will make their Division I debut in 2021-22, while the Mavericks are coming off their first Frozen Four appearance.
Natalie DenHartog made it back-to-back Gophers home runs in the first inning Sunday.

U softball hoping Senior Day victory helps case for NCAA tournament bid

Three homers in first two innings vs. No. 19 Michigan fueled a fitting senior send-off, as well as making a case for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.
Wild rookie Kirill Kaprizov (97) and Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Zach Whitecloud (2) fought on the ice in the first period Wednesday night.

Fighting mad teammates defend Kaprizov, who doesn't back down during brawl

The Wild took offense when Vegas players went after rookie standout Kirill Kaprizov in their last game. Coach Dean Evason liked how his team responded to the illegal hit.
Xcel Energy Center

Wild will have 4,500 fans at first round home playoff games

For the first round of the playoffs, the Wild plans to be at 25% capacity — approximately 4,500 fans. Wild season ticket-holders will have the chance to purchase tickets starting next week.
Tom Palkowski led St. Thomas to two Division III Women’s Frozen Fours.

St. Thomas women's hockey will replace coach for move to Division I

Tom Palkowski coached the Tommies for 14 years and earned the 2019 Division III national women's hockey coach of the year award.
Gophers defensive tackle Keonte Schad tackled Illinois running back Reggie Corbin in 2019.

Gophers DT Schad enters transfer portal

Defensive lineman Keonte Schad played in 17 games over the past two seasons, making 21 tackles.
Gophers spring game at a glance

Gophers spring game at a glance

The game kicks off at 11 a.m. Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium.
Minnesota’s Rashod Bateman was drafted by Baltimore with the 27th pick in the first round.

U's Bateman goes to Ravens, says he's ready to make immediate impact

Rashod Bateman is joining a team that was last in the NFL in passing yards per game last season and doesn't have a high-profile wide receiver.
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence

NFL draft: Complete first-round pick-by-pick selections

Quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson and Trey Lance went with the first three selections. The Vikings traded down and took Virginia Tech OT Christian Darrisaw at No. 23; the U's Rashod Bateman went to Baltimore four picks later.
Gophers coach P.J. Fleck during spring practice

Gophers football looks forward to moving past tumult of 2020

The Gophers posted a 3-4 record and saw their offense take a step back from its record-setting 2019 ways. It all came during the coronavirus pandemic and amid the emotionally charged backdrop of the city of Minneapolis.
University of Massachusetts men’s hockey players rushed onto the ice to celebrate after defeating St. Cloud State 5-0 Saturday to claim the program�

College hockey pushed through challenging season to a UMass title

Hockey East claims it's "State of Hockey," but Minnesota can make a strong rebuttal.
Massachusetts forward Jake Gaudet yelled in celebration while holding the NCAA men’s hockey national championship trophy

St. Cloud State's run ends with shutout loss in Frozen Four title game

UMass gave the Huskies no room to operate on the ice, dominating a 5-0 victory
Massachusetts forward Garrett Wait (12) celebrated with Philip Lagunov after Lagunov’s shorthanded goal in the second period made it 3-0.

Ex-Gopher Garrett Wait found right fit on line with UMass star

He had the overtime goal in a semifinal win over UMD.
St. Cloud State’s  Nick Perbix and Massachusetts’  Aaron Bohlinger both collided with Minutemen goalie Filip Lindberg in the first period of the c

St. Cloud State's daily focus worked well

Brett Larson and the Huskies navigated a season filled with challenges brought on by COVID-19.
St. Cloud State and Massachusetts during pregame warmups Saturday.

Live from Pittsburgh: Frozen Four pregame

St. Cloud State and Massachusetts meet for the Division I men's championship. The Huskies lineup hasn't changed from the semifinals, while the Minutemen return two key players to their lineup.
Gophers goalie Jack LaFontaine made a glove save in the team’s March 6 game against Michigan.

Gophers' Jack LaFontaine wins Richter Award, given to nation's top goalie

LaFontaine, who went 22-7 this season, has announced that he will return to the Gophers next season.
Wisconsin forward Cole Caufield scored the game winner against the Gophers on Feb. 5.

Wisconsin's Cole Caufield wins Hobey Baker Award

The nation's leading goal scorer, Caufield has signed with the Montreal Canadiens.
UMD players reacted to losing to University of Massachusetts 3-2 in overtime on Thursday night at PPG Paints Arena.

Minnesota Duluth's overtime heartbreak halts an incredible ride

The Bulldogs delivered big moment after big moment in the postseason before getting clipped by Massachusetts on Thursday.
St. Cloud State players swarmed goalie David Hrenak after the Huskies defeated Minnesota State Mankato 5-4 in the NCAA semifinals.

Live from Pittsburgh: Frozen Four Friday

St. Cloud State and Massachusetts are the last teams standings, and Randy Johnson provides updates leading into Saturday's NCAA championship game.
UMD players reacted to losing to UMass, 3-2 in overtime. The Bulldogs had their hopes of an NCAA record fourth straight national championship appearan

Ex-Gopher sinks UMD's three-peat hopes as UMass wins in overtime

The Bulldogs gave up a one-goal lead in the third period, and lost late in the first overtime when former Gophers player Garrett Wait scored for UMass.
St. Cloud State forward Nolan Walker celebrated after scoring the game-winning goal with under a minute to play in regulation.

Walker's last-minute goal caps rally; Huskies top Mavericks in semifinals

Nolan Walker redirected a shot from the point with 54 seconds remaining, sending St. Cloud State to its first NCAA title game.
Minnesota State Mankato players hung their heads in disappointment after losing 5-4 in the men’s hockey national semifinal to St. Cloud State.

Mavericks captain Zmolek take loss hard, sees better days ahead

Minnesota State Mankato won its first two NCAA Division I tournament games this season and a fourth WCHA regular-season title in a row.
Pregame before the first NCAA Frozen Four semifinal at PPG Paints Arena.

Live from the Frozen Four: Thursday updates

St. Cloud State and Minnesota State Mankato start things off with the first semifinal at 4 p.m. (Central). In the 8 p.m. semifinal, Minnesota Duluth faces Massachusetts and will be without goalie Ryan Fanti.
A statue of Pittsburgh Penguins Hockey Hall of Fame center Mario Lemieux, left, stands in front of the PPG Paints Arena, site of the Frozen Four.

You Betcha Brigade invades Frozen Four with three Minnesota teams

The semifinals start this afternoon with St. Cloud State vs. Minnesota State at 4 p.m., followed by UMD playing UMass.
A statue of Pittsburgh Penguins Hockey Hall of Fame center Mario Lemieux, left, stands in front of the PPG Paints Arena, the site of the 2021 NCAA Men

Frozen Four: Four top players to watch

When Minnesota State Mankato meets St. Cloud State, and Minnesota Duluth takes on Massachusetts in the Frozen Four semifinals, there will be no shortage of star power.
Minnesota State players surround goaltender Dryden McKay after beating the Gophers in the regional final.

Frozen Four preview: St. Cloud State vs. Minnesota State Mankato

The Huskies are playing in their second Frozen Four, making their debut in 2013 with a 4-1 semifinal loss to Quinnipiac. The Mavericks are playing in their first Frozen Four.
UMass players celebrated their Frozen Four overtime victory over Denver in 2019.

UMass coach calls having top scorer, goalie out only slight disadvantage

Coach Greg Carvel isn't about to concede anything to Minnesota Duluth in a rematch of the 2019 national championship game.
UMD Bulldogs forward Cole Koepke (17)

Frozen Four preview: Minnesota Duluth vs. Massachusetts

The Bulldogs are playing in their fourth consecutive Frozen Four and have won the past two, 2-1 over Notre Dame in 2018 and 3-0 over Massachusetts in 2019.
Back view of PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, site of the 2021 NCAA men’s Frozen Four.

Live from Pittsburgh: Frozen Four media day

All four teams are practicing Wednesday for the first time since arriving in Pennsylvania on Monday, and virtual news conferences are following the drills. Randy Johnson will be updating throughout the afternoon.
Local flavor: St. Cloud State will meet Minnesota State, and Minnesota Duluth will face UMass in Thursday’s Frozen Four semifinals in Pittsburgh.

Three in the Frozen Four: Minnesota schools celebrate their success

St. Cloud State, Minnesota State and UMD all qualified for this week's Frozen Four in Pittsburgh. It's a sense of shared accomplishment among the teams and their communities.
UMass celebrated its Frozen Four semifinal victory over Denver in the 2019 Frozen Four.

UMass without leading goal-scorer, top goalie vs UMD in Frozen Four

Carson Gicewicz and Filip Lindberg are among four Minutemen players who are out of Thursday's semifinal because of COVID-19 contact tracing protocols.
Gophers goalie Jared Moe made a save against Arizona State in January.

Gophers goalie crossing border, becoming a Badger

Sophomore Jared Moe, who played high school hockey for Holy Family, announced that he's transferring to Wisconsin.
Mike Hastings is 236-89-24 at Minnesota State, including 22-4-1 this season.

Minnesota State Mankato's Hastings named national coach of the year

Mike Hastings won the Spencer Penrose Award after leading the Mavericks to their first NCAA Frozen Four berth.
From Upper Midwest to the Steel City, three state college hockey teams descend on Frozen Four

From Upper Midwest to the Steel City, three state college hockey teams descend on Frozen Four

But UMass hopes to spoil the Minnesota party.
Jack LaFontaine is one of three finalists for the Richter Award.

Gophers goalie LaFontaine announces he'll be back next season

Jack LaFontaine's decision solidified Minnesota's goaltending situation, as backup Jared Moe has entered the transfer portal.
Mike Hastings, Scott Sandelin and Brett Larson are good friends competing for the Frozen Four title.

Minnesota's three Frozen Four coaches go to school off each other

Mike Hastings, Scott Sandelin and Brett Larson are good friends chasing the same goal – the national title. Along the way, they haven't been hesitant to share knowledge.
Minnesota State goalie Dryden McKay stopped a shot by the Gophers’ Sammy Walker during the NCAA West Regional final.

Minnesota State goalie McKay among three Hobey Baker finalists

The goalie joins North Dakota forward Shane Pinto and Wisconsin forward Cole Caufield as finalists for the award that honors the top player in men's college hockey.
Olympic gold medalists and former Gophers Dani Cameranesi, left, and Amanda Kessel are part of the U.S. World Championship roster.

8 with Minnesota ties on U.S. women's world hockey championship roster

The team includes 14 members of the gold medal-winning 2018 Olympic team.
Gophers coach Bob Motzko said that while he’ll take great pride in how this team turned around the program, that didn’t take away the sting of not

It's the State of Hockey in Frozen Four (minus Minnesota)

Three state teams will make Minnesota the dominant presence at the Frozen Four. But Bob Motzko's Gophers went from No. 1 region seed to a spot on the sidelines.
Minnesota State’s Cade Borchardt, left, and Nathan Smith battled with the Gophers Mike Koster for the puck during the West Regional final.

Not all was lost: Minnesota makes big impression on NCAA hockey

Here's a look at the impact of each of the five teams from Minnesota in the NCAA men's hockey tournament, which will feature three state teams in the Frozen Four.
Minnesota State Mankato players surrounded goaltender Dryden McKay as time ran out in the Mavericks’ 4-0 victory over the Gophers for the NCAA West

MSU Mankato gives Gophers dose of own medicine, wins region title

The Mavericks played the Gophers' kind of game — grabbing an early lead and controlling the puck — to earn the program's first trip to the Frozen Four.
Minnesota State Mankato hockey coach Mike Hastings: “Finally, we get a win and find a way to win a regional and get to the Frozen Four. “For all t

Hastings, Minnesota State Mankato finally reach Frozen Four

Shutout of Gophers comes a day after Mavericks finally get first NCAA victory.
Minnesota Duluth players consoled North Dakota goalie Adam Scheel after the Bulldogs won 3-2 in five overtimes Saturday night.

UMD shows 'winning pedigree' with record-setting five-overtime victory

The Bulldogs advanced to their fourth consecutive Frozen Four when a little-used freshman scored in the longest game in NCAA tournament history.
Mike Hastings and Minnesota State, shown in 2019, will try to reach their first Frozen Four when they play the Gophers in the West Regional final on S

Frozen Four berth at stake as close friends Motzko, Hastings face off

Bob Motzko's Gophers and Mike Hastings' Minnesota State Mankato team meet in the NCAA West Regional final on Sunday night in Loveland, Colo.
Gophers forward Mason Nevers, right, celebrates his goal with Jack Perbix during the first period against Nebraska Omaha on Saturday night in Loveland

Gophers roll into regional final with 7-2 rout of Nebraska Omaha

The Gophers face MSU Mankato for a Frozen Four berth on Sunday.
Minnesota State Mankato’s Ryan Sandelin, back, celebrated his overtime goal with Brendan Furry on Saturday after the Mavericks came from behind to b

MSU Mankato rallies from two goals down, beats Quinnipiac in OT

The Mavericks earned their first NCAA tournament victory in dramatic fashion.
Gophers goalie Jack LaFontaine made a save against Nebraska Omaha’s Taylor Ward on Saturday night.

Gophers-MSU Mankato regional final preview

One of these two Minnesota schools will be in the Frozen Four.
Gophers seniors Scott Reedy, center, and Brannon McManus (7) will try to help the team take a step toward the Frozen Four.

All five Minnesota men's teams in action Saturday in NCAA tournament

It begins Saturday with St. Cloud State playing at noon and ends with the Gophers starting at 9 p.m. In between, Bemidji State and Minnesota Duluth are playing for Frozen Four berths.
high goals Gophers coach Bob Motzko said his team earned its spot in the NCAA tournament and knows that anything can happen now. His teams have lost a

Motzko wants to join list of U coaches who have captured NCAA hockey titles

When Bob Motzko was introduced as Gophers men's hockey coach three years ago, he didn't shy away from the expectations that go hand-in-hand with the job.
Nebraska Omaha forward Chayse Primeau.

NCAA West Regional preview: Gophers vs. Nebraska Omaha

The Gophers, the lone remaining Big Ten team in the field, face a battle-tested Mavericks team.