T.J. Semptimphelter will join UND; Ludvig Persson expected to turn pro

Apr. 2—GRAND FORKS — UND goaltender Ludvig Persson is expected to turn pro.

It didn't take long for the Fighting Hawks to find a replacement.

Arizona State goaltender T.J. Semptimphelter has committed to UND out of the NCAA transfer portal and will join Hobie Hedquist and Kaleb Johnson in the goaltending group for the 2024-25 season.

Semptimphelter has one year of college eligibility remaining.

"It's no secret that North Dakota is a very storied and successful program," Semptimphelter said. "There's a long history of success and many championships, many wins. That was exactly the kind of culture I wanted to step into. This is my last year of eligibility. It was important for me to find a home where I could be part of a culture that expects to win. I'm super excited to get started, get to work and start building toward a championship season."

Semptimphelter went 16-5-4 with a 2.52 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage in 2023-24.

He suffered a hip injury in the second half of the season and ceded starts to 6-foot-5 rookie Gibson Homer. Semptimphelter was able to return for two starts late in the season.

Semptimphelter, who will be earning his under graduate degree in finance from Arizona State this spring, entered the transfer portal this week.

"After speaking with coach (Brad) Berry, coach (Karl) Goehring, coach (Dillon) Simpson over the phone, it's been unbelievable to talk about where they see this program next year and the success they envision with that group that will be there," Semptimphelter said. "That's something really exciting as a player that you want to be a part of. I can't wait to contribute what I have to offer and to help bring success to a storied North Dakota program."

This will be the third college stop for the 6-foot-1, 192-pounder from Marlton, N.J.

He started at Northeastern, where he was stuck behind star netminder Devon Levi, who won the Mike Richter Award winner as the NCAA's top goalie.

Semptimphelter made a name for himself at the 2022 Beanpot tournament. He started for Levi, who was at the Olympic Games, and stopped 41 of 42 against Boston College and 28 of 29 against Boston University.

When Levi announced he was returning to Northeastern for his sophomore season in 2022-23, Semptimphelter hit the transfer portal.

"There was no guarantee he would sign the following season, either," Semptimphelter said. "He had a few years of eligibility left. For me, it seemed like the best option to take a leap of faith and see what was out there. Fortunately, I landed at ASU. It was a great home for two years."

Semptimphelter posted a .913 save percentage as a sophomore and a .908 as a junior with the Sun Devils. He had just three regulation losses in 25 starts this season.

Notably, Semptimphelter has played one game against UND.

He started in the 2022 Hall of Fame Game at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, stopping 13 of 15 shots and earning a 3-2 victory for the Sun Devils.

"It was incredible," Semptimphelter said. "As a kid from a small town in New Jersey, it was unbelievable to see how dedicated the North Dakota fans and faithful are, and the fact that they were able to fill up T-Mobile in Vegas, it was unbelievable to see that."

Semptimphelter said he's been watching the

newly released video by Chiclets

University, which features a game day at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

"Believe me when I say this, I cannot wait to see it, feel it and be in that atmosphere," Semptimphelter said. "I can't tell you how many times I've watched that Chiclets video. The atmosphere on game day around the rink and to have that buy-in from the surrounding community is incredible. I'm super excited to be welcomed by the North Dakota faithful and experience that in a really hungry hockey community."

Semptimphelter grew up near the Philadephia Flyers practice facility. Flyers goalie Brian Boucher served as one of his coaches.

"As a young Flyers fan, it was a dream come true coming to the rink every day getting to interact with an idol of mine," Semptimphelter said. "He'd be playing on a Friday, Saturday and I could see him and get tips on a Monday through Thursday, learning what I could do. I was already in love with the game. Then, having that experience and one-on-one time with someone you look up to like Brian Boucher (was great)."

Persson, who came from Miami last summer, went 21-11-2 with a 2.52 goals-against average and a .904 save percentage in 2023-24. He earned second-team all-National Collegiate Hockey Conference honors.

Persson had one year of college eligibility remaining — his COVID-impacted season — but will look to sign a pro deal. As of Tuesday night, he had not yet signed.

Although UND is bringing in a transfer goaltender for the fourth-straight season, the Fighting Hawks will likely pencil in a lot more action for Hedquist, who was solid in limited action during his rookie season.

Hedquist went 5-1 with a .905 save percentage as a freshman.

UND's lone goaltender recruit, Caleb Heil, is only a junior in high school and cannot come to college yet. He will play his senior year in junior hockey, then UND will assess his readiness for college ahead of the 2025-26 season.

With Semptimphelter being a one-year player, Heil could have the option of coming in 2025.

Senior: T.J. Semptimphelter.

Junior: Kaleb Johnson.

Sophomore: Hobie Hedquist.

Recruit: Caleb Heil (2025 or 2026).