Quiet goaltender Dell coming up big for Sioux hockey team
Around the locker room, Aaron Dell is known as a quiet guy who keeps to himself. Sometimes, teammates will try to get him to come out of his shell or get a rise out of him, but they usually fail. Dell doesn't often venture from his quiet, laid-ba...
Around the locker room, Aaron Dell is known as a quiet guy who keeps to himself.
Sometimes, teammates will try to get him to come out of his shell or get a rise out of him, but they usually fail.
Dell doesn't often venture from his quiet, laid-back demeanor, whether he's in the locker room or breaking one of North Dakota's storied hockey records on the ice.
"He's a quieter guy, nice to talk to," teammate Jason Gregoire said. "He's really humble. You would never even guess that he plays on the team let alone just broke Eddie Belfour's record. It's unbelievable to see a kid like that, the success he's having and where his head is at."
Dell, who found himself as the surprise starting goaltender earlier this season, suddenly holds the school's single-season wins record with 30. He broke Belfour's mark of 29 during the NCAA Midwest Regional, where Dell earned most valuable player honors.
Dell also holds the UND career record for the best goals-against average (1.81) and save percentage (.922).
This has all come as a surprise since Dell started just five games behind two-time all-conference goalie Brad Eidsness last season.
"It's been great so far," said Dell, a native of Airdrie, Alta. "We've been playing really well. It's pretty easy to be confident when the team is playing so well. I just hope we can continue that."
The success hasn't changed Dell's personality, either.
"Aaron knows his job and he goes about his business in his own way," UND coach Dave Hakstol said. "Quietly, he's very competitive. You don't see that in any demonstrative ways. He's quiet in the locker room and quiet around his teammates, but he knows what his job is and he's focused on consistently doing that job.
"That's probably been his biggest development from last year to this year - his ability to come to the rink and be consistent day in and day out in practice."
Dell also said he's enjoyed working with first-year volunteer assistant coach Karl Goehring, who was in goal the last time UND won a national championship in 2000.
Dell first met Goehring when he arrived in Grand Forks as a freshman. He had no idea how impressive Goehring's resume was for the Sioux.
"When I heard what he did, I was kind of surprised at first," Dell said. "He's a pretty small guy. I was like, 'Wow, he must have been really good.' It has been great working with him. He's a great guy and knows his stuff really well. He's contributed a lot to my success this year."
Dell has improved his consistency a great deal from last season, when he would have an outstanding start followed by a below-average one.
"The best way to sum up Aaron is that he's been a consistent competitor and a consistent battler," Hakstol said. "Right from Day One, we've had good competition between he and Brad Eidsness. I think he and Brad have pushed each other fairly well. He's done a good job. He's got to go in and make critical saves at critical times. He's been able to do that on most nights. His teammates have good confidence in him."
And they know there's not much that can get him out of his shell.
"I don't know how that translates on to the ice, but it does somehow, because he's an unbelievable goaltender," teammate Corban Knight said.
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Schlossman writes for the Grand Forks Herald