NCAA hockey: Former roommates go head-to-head in NCAA Tournament
FARGO -- At this time last year, Tyson Jost and Dante Fabbro may have been watching The Bachelor together in the basement of a house in Penticton, British Columbia.
Maybe they were playing a heated game of ping pong.
Or perhaps they invited friends over and were playing a full blown mini hockey game.
All three were common occurrences in the home of Dale and Wendy Woods, where Jost and Fabbro lived together in the basement for the last two years while playing junior hockey.
"Those two were like brothers," Dale said. "They stuck together. They looked out for each other. They did just about everything together."
That's what will make today's NCAA tournament game between North Dakota and Boston University a little odd.
Jost and Fabbro--who played together for two years with the Penticton Vees in the British Columbia Hockey League, suited up as teammates in the IIHF World Under-18 Championship and in the World Junior Championship--will be on other sides of Scheels Arena when the national powers meet at 2 p.m. today in Scheels Arena.
Jost is a freshman forward for North Dakota.
Fabbro is a freshman defenseman for Boston University.
The last time they played against each other in a hockey game was in midgets.
Fabbro leveled Jost in the first period of that game. Jost returned the favor with a big check in the second game and told him, "that's 1-1," as Fabbro got up.
"I think it's going to be a little different than the midget series we had," Jost said. "We're a little older. There's a little more on the line. It's competitive and serious hockey. The NCAA is a different level. It will probably take a little while, but some day we'll laugh about it. It's going to be a fun game. Right now, I'm just focused on trying to win this game."
Although they've been teammates in Penticton and with Hockey Canada, Jost and Fabbro are used to competing with each other.
The mini hockey and ping pong games in the basement were not exactly friendly contests.
"They were competitive as hell," Dale said. "You could hear them screaming out the rules, arguing with each other. They were competitive in every sense of the word. It never got heated in the sense of pushing and shoving, but everyone hated to lose."
Jost said: "It was always really competitive in our house. A lot of arguments, a lot of fights, a lot of dumb stuff.
"But it was awesome. We became really good friends. It's a friendship that's going to last a lifetime."
Jost and Fabbro mainly hung out in the basement, but always had family dinners upstairs with the Woods family.
"We would usually have a theme night," Dale said. "We would have a Mexican night and we'd eat enchiladas. Then the next night, it would be steak night.
"On steak night, Ty would eat three steaks himself and then be looking at your plate wondering if you're going to finish. The kid was like a truck when it came to eating. He definitely likes food."
The career paths of Jost and Fabbro have mirrored each other since 2013, when they were both selected in the first round of the Western Hockey League draft, but decided to keep the NCAA option open.
That's rare in Canada. Most high-end players stick with Canadian major juniors.
Both Jost and Fabbro maintained their status as elite players through their years in Penticton and were selected in the first round of the NHL Draft last summer--Jost went No. 10 overall to the Colorado Avalanche and Fabbro went No. 17 overall to the Nashville Predators.
But they went their separate ways for college--Jost picked UND first, then Fabbro settled on Boston University.
"It's been a good friendship," Fabbro said. "I'm really close with their family. I don't have enough good things to say.
"It was a lot of fun (to live together). He's an extremely dedicated athlete and that shows with his on-ice performance every night and in practice. I definitely learned a lot from him in that respect. It was a fun environment to be around him. He was always enjoyable."
And their billet family said it was a great experience having both of them.
"It has been phenomenal following them along," Dale said. "My wife is a little more in tune than I am. She tracks them pretty close. It was hard for her when they actually moved out. She was quite attached."
Woods laughed when recalling the old ping pong and mini hockey games and said he has an idea of what it will be like come puck drop Friday.
"They're definitely competitive and they won't be letting up on each other," Dale said. "Off the ice, they are brothers. But as soon as the game starts..."
This article is written by Brad Elliott Schlossman from Grand Forks Herald and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to email@example.com.