Gameday final: UND 4, CC 4, tie

First period

UND 1, Colorado College 0 — Matt Watkins (Andrew Kozek, Zach Jones) 10:56. Kozek makes a nice chip pass to Watkins to send the Sioux on a three-on-two. Watkins uses his speed to get space on the left wing and takes the shot himself, beating Bachman on the short side. It is Jones’ first assist since Chris Porter’s game-winner against Minnesota in the West Region final two seasons ago.

UND 1, Colorado College 1 — Mike Testwuide (Matt Overman, Gabe Guentzel) 14:04. Guentzel got the puck to the slot, where Overman handed it off to Testwuide for a quick wrist shot.

UND 2, Colorado College 1 — Brett Hextall (Ryan Duncan, Jason Gregoire) 14:58. Duncan takes the puck off the wall, curls to the slot and fires a shot that Hextall tips for the goal.

Second period

UND 2, Colorado College 2 — Chad Rau (Bill Sweatt, Brian Connelly) 3:06 (pp). Sweatt carried the puck low on the left wing and centered to Rau, who poked it past Eidsness.

Colorado College 3, UND 2 — Bill Sweatt (Gabe Guentzel, Chad Rau) 14:35. Just as a Tiger power play expires, Sweatt gets the puck in the slot and snaps a wrist shot past Eidsness.

Colorado College 3, UND 3 — Darcy Zajac (Joe Finley, Chay Genoway) 19:54. Finley gets a shot through traffic and to the net. Zajac picks it up on his backhand and slips it in with 5.5 seconds left in the period.

Third period

UND 4, Colorado College 3 — Brett Hextall (Brad Miller) 1:49. Miller sends Hextall on a three-on-two rush. Hextall comes on the right wing and rings a shot off the near post. The rebound kicks out to the slot, where David Civitarese runs into it and puts it in his own net.

UND 4, Colorado College 4 — Chad Rau (Eric Walsky, Gabe Guentzel) 7:59. Rau picks up the puck behind the net and scores on a wraparound.


No scoring.

Lineup notes: Evan Trupp is in, but not in his normal spot on the second line. Brad Malone is up there and Trupp is on the wing on the fourth line.

UND’s lines

17 Jason Gregoire–16 Ryan Duncan–26 Brett Hextall
22 Brad Malone–29 Chris VandeVelde–21 Matt Frattin
20 Matt Watkins–11 Darcy Zajac–8 Ryan Martens
19 Evan Trupp–9 Mario Lamoureux–10 Andrew Kozek

2 Joe Finley–5 Chay Genoway
6 Zach Jones–25 Jake Marto
24 Ben Blood–14 Brad Miller

31 Brad Eidsness
30 Aaron Walski

Colorado College’s lines

2 Cody Lampl–14 Chad Rau–22 Eric Walsky
21 Bill Sweatt–19 Andreas Vlassopoulos–25 Mike Testwuide
26 Scott McCulloch–17 Tyler Johnson–9 Brian McMillin
28 Stephen Schultz–18 Matt Overman–16 David Civitarese

15 Nate Prosser–4 Jake Gannon
11 Brian Connelly–24 Ryan Lowery
10 Gabe Guentzel–7 Kris Fredheim

30 Richard Bachman
1 Tyler O’Brien

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Friday night playback

It is now a three-team race for the MacNaughton Cup. Denver, UND and Colorado College are the only teams with a shot. Wisconsin, after losing to Mankato in OT, can no longer win it. The Tigers need to win their final three games and they need a St. Cloud win over Denver tonight in order to win the league title.

If the Sioux get two points this weekend, they guarantee themselves no worse than a second-place finish. UND will gain the tiebreaker over the Tigers with two points. That would make the head-to-head series at least even and UND would then finish with more conference wins, which is the second tiebreaker.

Here’s what happened during UND’s night off:

Denver 3, St. Cloud State 1: Drew LeBlanc gave the Huskies a lead in the first period, but Kyle Ostrow scored twice and Patrick Mullen had a goal and an assist to lead Denver to its third straight victory. The Pioneers passed Notre Dame and moved into the No. 2 spot in the PairWise Rankings and they are now a lock to make the NCAA tournament.

Mankato 4, Wisconsin 3, OT: The Mavs rallied from down two goals in the second period to pull out a win against the Badgers, who have lost three in a row. And guess what? More WCHA reffing controversy. Read about it in the Wisconsin State Journal and Mankato Free Press. Jerad Stewart was the hero for the Mavs scoring in overtime, while Brendan Smith had a three-point night for the Badgers.

Minnesota 2, Minnesota-Duluth 2, tie: After 51 straight starts, Minnesota finally sat Alex Kangas. Kent Patterson made 34 saves in his first career start, but the Gophers still couldn’t get a win. Minnesota has just one win in its last nine games. Duluth has lost just twice in the last 11.

You have the standings on the right. Here is the PairWise Watch:

2. Denver
9. North Dakota
13. Minnesota-Duluth
15. Colorado College
17. Minnesota
19. Wisconsin
21. St. Cloud State
25. MSU-Mankato

And for those high school hockey fans out there, we have an interesting final as promised. Bismarck will take on Red River at 8 p.m. in REA for the title. Here’s what happened in the semifinals:

Bismarck 4, Central 1: Bismarck becomes the first West Region team since 1992 to reach the state championship, beating a young Central team. In a very physical game, the Demons got a couple of point shots through traffic to create the offense.

Red River 2, South 1, OT: Red River ensured a Grand Forks team would be in the state championship for the 17th straight year when Ian Leier’s point shot got through traffic early in overtime. Red River, the No. 3 seed out of the East, is doing it with little-known players. Jake LaDouceur is the state’s leading scorer, but doesn’t have a point this tournament. It hasn’t mattered for Red River.

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A bit of Friday morning reading

Well, the Sioux don’t play tonight, but there’s still plenty to read about in the college hockey world.

In today’s Herald, I featured Sioux sophomore Jake Marto, whose play has been a big reason for the second-half turnaround. Read that story here.

Here’s a trivia question that can probably win you a bet: Who has more points since Thanksgiving weekend — Marto, Jason Gregoire (national rookie of the month in January) or Chay Genoway (UND’s Hobey candidate)? That’s right, it’s Marto. He’s nearly leading the team in scoring since the Sioux went on that run.

Remember when Marto was struggling with a minus-9, one of the worst in the league? Just a couple of months later, he is amazingly in the running for the WCHA’s plus-minus champion.

WCHA’s plus-minus leaders

Tyler Bozak, Denver, +14
Anthony Maiani, Denver, +14
J.P. Testwuide, Denver, +14
Chris VandeVelde, UND, +12
Jake Marto, UND, +11

Garrett Raboin, SCSU, +10
Aaron Marvin, SCSU, +10
Brandon Vossberg, Denver, +10
John Ryder, Denver, +10

Here are the even more impressive numbers for Marto. UND’s plus-minus leaders since Thanksgiving weekend:

Jake Marto +20
Chris VandeVelde +13
Brad Malone +12
Derrick LaPoint +9
Chay Genoway +8
Ryan Duncan +7
Andrew Kozek +7

Point leaders since Thanksgiving weekend:

Chris VandeVelde 18
Ryan Duncan 18
Brad Miller 18
Ryan Martens 17
Jake Marto 16
Jason Gregoire 15
Chay Genoway 15

Another player whose name appears high on both lists is VandeVelde. He answered four questions for us this week.

On the women’s side, coach Brian Idalski doesn’t like when his team is called cheap. He let loose a little bit at the press conference this week. Read about it here.

Around the league:

INCH features UND’s second-half run. Read that here.

Denver has a key series this weekend against St. Cloud as the Pios battle for the MacNaughton Cup.

DU coach George Gwozdecky tells the St. Cloud Times that the MacNaughton Cup is not Denver’s goal.

Colorado College knows its still in the hunt for the league title, too.

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North Dakota state returns

Year in and year out, the North Dakota state hockey tournament provides great moments and great games.

Several stick out in recent memory: Central’s stunning comeback against South in the 2004 final, Jake Marto throwing the Knights on his back and carrying them to the state championship game in 2005, Sean Deichert making an incredible save to preserve a 2-1 state championship for the Bruins just a couple of weeks after Deichert’s dad passed away in 2006, and last year’s triple overtime thriller between Grafton-Park River and Red River.

What’s in store this year? We’ll find out in the next couple of days. The semifinal matchups this year are very intriguing. We’ll have Bismarck and Central going at 6:30 and South and Red River to follow. You can’t pencil any of those teams into the championship.

Here’s a look back on the first day of action with the lasting question in mind:

Bismarck 1, Grafton-Park River 0. Question: Did Chad Demers really mean that much to the Spoilers that they can go from state champs to out in the first round with virtually all of the other same pieces in place?

Central 5, Williston 2: Question: Is this the best Knights team since the 2004 champs?

South 6, Bismarck Century 0: Question: How much more enjoyable are the Bruins to be around now that former coach Dean Wilson is no longer here being a jerk everyone?

Red River 6, Minot 2: Question: How many goals would Minot’s Bryce Schmitt have if his linemates could keep up with him?

And one final question: Can any of you serve as ringers today to coach the Williston girls team, who saw both their head coach and assistant coach ejected and automatically suspended for their actions at the end of the quarterfinal?

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WCHA facilities

As you may have already seen by now, Ralph Engelstad Arena is suing the company that installed the ice cooling system in the rink, saying that it was installed wrong and the company has to waste a lot of money in keeping the ice at the right temperature.

Read the story here.

Our cops and courts reporter, Archie Ingersoll, also got a WCHA facilities report from a couple of seasons ago. The league went around and ranked the facilities based on every little thing going on in the arena. REA was ranked No. 1. Here were the results:

1. North Dakota 4.2
2. Alaska Anchorage 3.9
3. Colorado College 3.7
4. Michigan Tech 3.55
5. Minnesota 3.47
6. St. Cloud State 3.15
7. Wisconsin 2.86
8. Denver 2.8
9. (tie) Minnesota-Duluth and MSU-Mankato 2.6

The comments on Ralph Engelstad Arena: "Ice conditions have improved since the building was opened. The entire set-up is a first class operation. Only negative comment came from more than one visiting team, that the benches are not quite long enough."

One of the complaints about Sullivan Arena in Alaska-Anchorage is the locker room setup. They are so small that an entire team can’t fit into one. Last weekend, UND’s forwards and defensemen were in different locker rooms.

Like I said, this was from a couple of years ago, so things may have changed, although none of the buildings are different.

Strangely enough, two of the lowest-rated rinks on the list are two of the best for us media types. Alltel Center in Mankato and Magness Arena in Denver both have great views and good food.

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Knight named AJHL rookie of year

UND recruit Corban Knight is the rookie of the year in the AJHL.

The Okotoks Oilers forward tallied 72 points (34 goals, 38 assists) in 61 games to lead all rookies. His point total ranked eighth in the AJHL and he was the only 1990-born player to be ranked in the top 10. He tallied 11 more points than the next closest rookie.

Knight will join the Sioux in either 2009 or 2010.

"Corban’s transition to Junior A hockey was immediate as a rookie," Okotoks coach Dan McDonald said. "He established himself early as an offensive threat. Corban is an offensive gem who gets better with every shift. He is a perceptive student of the game and his continued development will see him star in future hockey endeavors."

The AJHL playoffs begin this weekend.

Knight, fellow Sioux recruit Derek Rodwell and the Okotoks Oilers are a No. 2 seed and will take on Canmore in the first round.

Andrew MacWilliam and the Camrose Kodiaks (No. 5 seed) will take on Aaron Dell and the Calgary Canucks (No. 4 seed) in the first round.

And Carter Rowney and the Grande Prairie Storm (No. 2 seed) will take on Lloydminster.

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Weekly Wednesday update

At today’s weekly press conference, coach Dave Hakstol said that the Sioux are planning for Evan Trupp to be out for this weekend, but they are going to evaluate the sophomore forward right up until Friday.

Trupp’s line, along with two-time reigning offensive player of the week Chris VandeVelde and Matt Frattin, has been clicking during the second half of the season. They may move Brad Malone on the wing of that line if Trupp can’t go.

Also, Hakstol said that Derrick LaPoint has spent some time at home after his injury, but is expected to be back in town today.

Remember to check back in at 5:30 today to chat with the captain, Ryan Duncan.

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Live chat with Ryan Duncan scheduled

In case you didn’t notice on the new "upcoming live events" section to the right, Ryan Duncan has agreed to answer your questions in a live chat at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

We’ll shoot to go for about 45 minutes with the Sioux captain. So log in and fire away with the questions.

On another programming note, Chris VandeVelde will be on The Pipeline Show in Edmonton at either 8:40 or 9 p.m. If you aren’t familiar with the show, it features prospects — especially Oilers prospects — in the hockey world. Check it out at this site. If you can’t make it live, you can listen to archives on the site, too.

In the past, The Pipeline has had Dave Hakstol, Taylor Chorney, Robbie Bina, Matt Greene and Jacques Lamoureux on the show… some of the names you’ll recognize. It’s usually pretty entertaining. The hosts know their stuff.

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