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Division I dreams come true for former Fargo South-Shanley goalie Zach Sandy with UMD commitment

Former Fargo South-Shanley goalie Zach Sandy announced his commitment to the University of Minnesota Duluth on Tuesday.

MINOT, N.D. — Former Fargo South-Shanley goalie Zach Sandy grew up a University of North Dakota hockey fan. In college, he’ll play for one of UND’s most familiar foes.

Sandy, a 2021 graduate of Fargo Shanley, verbally committed to the University of Minnesota Duluth on Tuesday.

“It feels great,” Sandy said. “I’ve always dreamed of it — as a little kid — playing big-time, Division I hockey. To make it official today with my commitment, I know my family is super excited for me and the sky's the limit.”

Sandy is in his first year of junior hockey with the Minot Minotauros of the National American Hockey League. He’s tied for the best save percentage in the league (.932) and has the seventh-best goals-against average in the NAHL at 2.35.

“They’ve had a great track record of (NAHL) goalies that have had tremendous success there,” Sandy said of Duluth. “I feel like if I keep working hard day in and day out, hopefully I could be the next great goalie to go through there.”


EMBED: Sandy tweet 010521

Sandy announced his commitment to the National Collegiate Hockey Conference school via Twitter. Former Tauro and Moorhead Spud Kyler Kleven is in his freshman season with the Bulldogs.

Sandy’s .932 save percentage through 19 games ranks second all-time in Tauros history. Minot is 19-12-1 this season and first in the Central Division.

“Duluth is getting an extremely competitive and athletic goalie that I believe will continue (to) build their culture as they compete for national championships year in and year out,” Tauros head coach Cody Campbell said in a release on the team’s site.

The 6-foot, 177-pound Sandy played all four years of high school hockey for the Bruins. He posted a .941 save percentage and 1.51 goals-against average as a senior and was named the senior athlete of the year in boys hockey. As a junior, Sandy led the state with a 1.26 goals-against average and .947 save percentage.

Sandy first laced up a pair of skates when he was 5 years old. He honed his skills in 2-on-2 games with his dad, Tim, and two older brothers, Luke and Drew. All three Sandy brothers played hockey for South-Shanley.

“I have two tremendous brothers who could easily be in my shoes right now,” said Sandy, who led the Deacons to the Class A baseball championship this spring. “They’re definitely a motivation for me every single day in what I do, and seeing the joy they have for me is awesome.”

Tim was a former South hockey coach and baseball player who got as high as Triple-A in the New York Mets organization. Sandy said his dad has had a major influence on his hockey career. He got emotional when he talked about the people who have helped him along the way of his career.


“I’m super thankful for everything he’s done for me,” Sandy said, choking up. “Without (my parents) I wouldn’t be the person or athlete I am today. They always believed in me and my ability and what I can do.”

Sandy will find himself on the opposing side of former South-Shanley center Ben Strinden in college. Strinden, who is also one of Sandy’s best friends, played his freshman season for the Bruins. He committed to UND in September 2020, and is in his second season with the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the United States Hockey League.

“We’ve always talked about that, what a great dream it would be if we could both play Division I hockey,” Sandy said. “And now seeing it unfold … we’ll still be best friends, even though we’ll be playing against each other. It’s all love at the end of the day.”

Carissa Wigginton is a high school sports reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. A Fargo native, she graduated from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Wigginton joined The Forum’s sports department in August 2019.
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