UND in search for third goalie

UND will once again be in search for a third goaltender this summer.

As the indicated by the jersey auction, Graeme Harrington won’t be back with the Sioux next season. Harrington will transfer to Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in Edmonton.

Harrington said there were various reasons why he decided to transfer, without getting too deep into them. He said he enjoyed his time at UND a lot.

"It was a pretty cool experience and it’s something I’m glad I had the opportunity to do," Harrington said.

Harringon dressed for only two or three games last season and did not play at all. He was at UND as a recruited walk-on.

The Sioux will look to pick up a third goaltender to back up Brad Eidsness and Aaron Dell.

Knight fares well at NHL Combine

A pair of Sioux recruits are in Toronto this weekend at the NHL Combine in Danny Mattson and Corban Knight. Both are projected to go between the second and fourth rounds in June.

Knight, who was a big mover from Central Scouting’s midterm rankings to the final rankings, may have solidified his draft position at the Combine.

Out of the 104 players in Toronto, Knight ranked high in both endurance and strength. The NHL released test results for top-10 performers in each exercise.

Knight, who measured 6-1, 180, was third (first among North Americans) in the dreaded VO2max bike test. Yeah, the one that caused Jonny Toews to lose his lunch a few years ago. He also finished second in pushups and was top 10 in pull strength and upper-body strength.

Roseau’s Mike Lee, a St. Cloud State recruit, worked his way into the top 10 in a few categories, too.

Minnesota’s Jordan Schroeder, despite being one of the smaller players there, nearly won the bench press competition. He along with Notre Dame recruit Kyle Palmieri were posterboys for what the NTDP does to improve its players physically. NTDP products fared very well.

VO2max top 10

1. Sami Vatanen, Finland, 68.9
2. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Sweden, 68.7
3. Corban Knight, North Dakota, 68.4
4. Cody Eakin, WHL, 65.0
5. Carter Ashton, WHL, 64.6
6. Tyson Barrie, WHL, 64.6
7. Matthew Hackett, OHL, 63.6
8. Tim Erixon, Sweden, 63.4
9. Ryan Button, WHL, 62.6
10. Jordan Caron, QMJHL, 62.5

Push-up top 10

1. Kyle Palmieri, Notre Dame, 41
2. Corban Knight, North Dakota, 40
3. Mac Bennett, Michigan, 40
4. Jordan Szwarz, OHL, 39
5. Erik Haula, Minnesota, 38
6. Tomas Tatar, Slovakia, 36
7. John Moore, Colorado College, 36
8. Mike Lee, Roseau and SCSU, 35
9. Jordan Schroeder, Minnesota, 34
10. Dmitri Orlov, Russia, 33

Push-up body weight top 10

1. Kyle Palmieri, Notre Dame, 7757
2. Corban Knight, North Dakota, 7084
3. Jordan Szwarz, OHL, 7051
4. John Moore, Colorado College, 6898
5. Mac Bennett, Michigan, 6811
6. Erik Haula, Minnesota, 6639
7. Dmitri Orlov, Russia, 6570
8. Tomas Tatar, Slovakia 6516
9. Mike Lee, Roseau and SCSU, 6444
10. Kenny Ryan, Boston College, 6336

Pull strength top 10

1. Kyle Palmieri, Notre Dame, 309
2. Kenny Ryan, Boston College, 296
3. John Moore, Colorado College, 286
4. Josh Birkholz, Minnesota, 281
5. William Wrenn, Denver, 280
6. Jordan Caron, QMJHL, 279
7. Victor Hedman, Sweden, 276
8. Eric Gelinas, QMJHL, 269
9. Corban Knight, North Dakota, 267
10. Nick Leddy, Minnesota, 263

Upper body power (4kg ball)

1. Matt Clark, OHL, 243
2. Chris Kreider, Boston College, 234
3. Brayden Schenn, WHL, 233
4. Corban Knight, North Dakota, 225
5. Kenny Ryan, Boston College, 225
6. Jeremy Morin, OHL, 224
7. Burke Gallimore, WHL, 224
8. Taylor Doherty, OHL, 223
9. Carter Ashton, WHL, 222
10. David Gilbert, QMJHL, 222

Fatigue index

1. Brayden McNabb, WHL, 37.1
2. Burke Gallimore, WHL, 39.0
3. Kenny Ryan, Boston College, 39.9
4. Taylor Beck, OHL, 40.4
5. Nazem Kadri, OHL, 40.7
6. Drew Shore, Denver, 40.8
7. Cassidy Mappin, WHL, 40.8
8. Mike Lee, Roseau and SCSU, 41.0
9. Mac Bennett, Michigan, 41.1
10. Eric Gelinas, QMJHL, 42.3

Both twins have signed

News straight off of coach Brian Idalski’s twitter feed: Both Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux have signed their letters of intent to UND.

So, it is now a done deal. The standout forwards will suit up for UND in 2010-11, if all goes according to plan. The coach can now comment publicly on landing the twins, too.

Blais to coach World Junior team

Dean Blais grabbed a new coaching job this morning.

No, he wasn’t named the boss at Nebraska-Omaha… USA Hockey has tabbed him to coach the World Junior team.

Blais was named coach of the U.S. team in 2005 as well, but he pulled his name out after he accepted a job with the Columbus Blue Jackets organization. Scott Sandelin replaced him.

It is expected that at least one Sioux player will suit up for the former Sioux coach in Saskatoon and Regina — forward Danny Kristo. The freshman-to-be was on last year’s World Junior Team, which didn’t medal.

For more on the announcement, see the Herald story here.

Last Man Standing: Phil Lamoureux

It’s been a year in which the Lamoureux family has dominated hockey, so it’s probably appropriate that it ends with a Lamoureux being the final former Sioux player remaining.

Phil Lamoureux of the ECHL’s Alaska Aces is this year’s Last Man Standing.

Jonathan Toews and the Chicago Blackhawks were knocked out of the NHL playoffs tonight, leaving Lamoureux as the last Sioux player still suiting up for his team. Lamoureux and the Aces trail South Carolina 2-1 in the best-of-seven series that will decide the ECHL title.

Lamoureux has been the top goalie in the ECHL during both the regular season and the playoffs. He has a 1.70 goals-against average and a .943 save percentage in the playoffs, where he holds a 13-3-1 mark with four shutouts.

Andy Schneider (Toronto Marlies, AHL) was the Last Man Standing a year ago.

Jersey, golf auctions posted

For collectors and rec golfers, there are a few auctions of note on the FightingSioux.com site.

Jerseys currently posted include: Zach Jones, Ryan Martens, Aaron Walski, Brad Miller, Matt Watkins, Graeme Harrington and a couple of No. 7 jerseys. T.J. Oshie was the last Sioux player to wear that jersey.

You also can bid to play rounds of golf with head coach Dave Hakstol in Grand Forks, Park River, Detroit Lakes or Fargo. Assistant Dane Jackson will be golfing in Detroit Lakes, too.

Find the complete list of auction items here.

The Lamoureux effect

Mark today down as one of the biggest for the UND women’s hockey program.

The Lamoureux twins, who dominated college hockey as freshmen and led Minnesota to a Frozen Four, are transferring to UND.

How good are they?

Melissa Jaques set UND’s all-time scoring record this season by reaching the 78-point mark in her four-year career. Monique Lamoureux had 75 points this year alone… as a freshman. Jocelyne Lamoureux tallied 65 points — eight more than WCHA player of the year, senior Gigi Marvin.

The addition of the Lamoureuxs is big on several fronts.

No. 1: Coach Brian Idalski said last season that he really liked the base of his team and that if the Sioux could add a couple of real blue chip players, they could be WCHA contenders. The Lamoureuxs define blue chip. They very well could be two of the three best college hockey players (along with UW’s Hilary Knight) when they become eligible to play for the Sioux.

No. 2: This further legitimizes what Idalski and Co. have done here and it will help with recruiting. When potential recruits see that two of the best players in the country left a Frozen Four team to go to a budding team, they are likely to believe in what’s going on, too. It just so happens that the 2010 high school senior class is loaded, specifically in Warroad (yes, there are more Marvins) and Roseau (yes, there is a smooth-skating Ness). Prep coaches in the area say that those players have been high on UND, too.

No. 3: The Lamoureuxs are bound to help attendance figures. I don’t know if there has ever been this kind of buzz around the women’s team. I posted a blog entry about the Lamoureuxs a little bit after 5 p.m. There were seven comments on the blog and more on the website within 90 minutes. That’s never happened before. The Lamoureuxs also are local players, which may help attendance. The Sioux are bringing in Roseau’s Mary Loken next season and more from Section 8 will probably follow.

Here are the other notes I gathered from making a bunch of phone calls today:

  • The transfers have not been in the works for very long and the twins surprised even those close to them with the news that they were going to transfer.
  • There are no hard feelings toward Minnesota. The twins liked coach Brad Frost. They were ready for something new.
  • The twins are fans of Idalski and he’s one of the reasons for the transfer.
  • Although the Star Tribune reported that the Lamoureuxs would have to also sit out the 2010-11 season if they make the Olympic team, that’s not necessarily true. The twins would have to enroll and take classes while working out with the Olympic team to play for UND in 2010 and you can bet that’s the plan. Older brother Mario says they are the smartest in the family, so they should be able to handle the online classes.

Even without the Lamoureuxs, the tracks were there for the UND program to turn into a contender. This should speed that up, though.

Lamoureux twins may be coming to UND

Minnesota just announced that it has granted a release of scholarship for standout freshmen Monique and Jocelyne Lamoureux and it has given UND permission to talk to the twins.

This could lead to them suiting up for the Sioux in two years. More to come….

The twins would have to sit out one season, but they could be on the Olympic team next year anyways.

This could be a major development for the UND hockey program. The Grand Forks natives were two of the best players in the country as freshmen last season. They were the top two scorers for the Gophers, who made the Frozen Four.

Monique had 39 goals and 36 assists for 75 points in 40 games. She was a finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Trophy, the women’s equivalent of Hobey Baker. Jocelyne had 28 goals and 37 assists for 65 points in 40 games.

Checking back in

For the first time since I started covering the team, I think I took vacation at a good time. I returned without anything of significance happening while I was gone. Every other time, it seemed that either someone left for the pros or a recruit committed.

We’re down to three former Sioux players left and Phil Lamoureux appears to be in best shape to be the last man standing this season. Jonathan Toews and the Chicago Blackhawks are in poor position down 3-1 to the defending Cup champs, Detroit, while Ryan Bayda and the Carolina Hurricanes are in worse shape down 3-0 to Pittsburgh.

Lamoureux and the Alaska Aces are tied 1-1 with South Carolina in the ECHL Finals. Game 3 is Wednesday.

Tony Hrkac and Bryan Lundbohm were eliminated on Monday night by the Manitoba Moose, who will play the Hershey Bears for the AHL title.

Before the season ended, I was able to do a quick story on Hrkac, who had a remarkable comeback. He was the Aeros’ third-leading scorer in the playoffs and ranked sixth in the entire AHL. Not bad for a 42-year-old guy who had been retired for four years.

The players all seemed to think that his incredible hockey sense was his biggest asset in returning to the game. Every person I talked to brought that up.

Read about Hrkac’s comeback and what’s next for him here.

Mike Cichy talks about the title

Mike Cichy recently won the MVP of the USHL playoffs, while leading the Indiana Ice to the championship over the Fargo Force. It was the second championship and second playoff MVP honor for Cichy during the season. He also earned honors at the World Junior A Challenge in Camrose, Alta., a few months ago. The incoming forward recruit talked about his final year of juniors.

Q. What did you think of playing in Fargo against the Force?

MIKE CICHY: It was great. The fans are pretty crazy up there. It was cool seeing all of the Sioux shirts and jerseys in the stands. Whenever I would skate by the glass, fans would hold up their jerseys at me, so that was pretty cool. It was like even though I was playing for the other team, they were supporting me. I got used to seeing Sioux stuff all over the USHL arenas. Even in Indy, we had Sioux fans.

Q. Going back to your trade from Tri-City to Indiana, did you have any idea that you might be traded?

MIKE CICHY: I had talked to my advisor, Eddie Ward, and my coach in Tri-City. My coach told me that they might be looking to trade me and start looking forward to next season. Then, one day, I was out there with Josh Berge doing a pre-game skate in our sweats and I got called off the ice and was told that I was traded. Berge didn’t even believe me that it happened. At the time, it was sad leaving all of those guys. But I basically looked at it as being reborn and getting a fresh chance.

Q. You stepped into a team that, at the time, was the best in the USHL four months into the season. How do you go about gaining acceptance in the locker room with a bunch of guys who know they can be successful without you?

MIKE CICHY: You definitely have to earn respect from them. Guys will try to judge you and feel you out right away. I just kept my mouth shut and tried to work hard in practice, work hard in games and do anything to help the team win. I just wanted to be really humble and try to prove that I was worth what the team gave up to get me. I learned from the guys on the team and made a lot of really good friends there.

Q. Judging by the scoresheet, it didn’t take you long to fit in with the team.

MIKE CICHY: I couldn’t imagine scoring eight points in two games. It was fun, even though I don’t know if I deserved the eight points.

Q. I heard that your team’s power play was a major key to the team’s success. Is that accurate?

MIKE CICHY: Yeah, the power play was a really big tool for us. We had (Brandon) Richardson in the high slot, Shane Berschbach down low, I ran the half-wall, and we had Torey Krug and Stanislav Galiev running the points. All of us could move the puck and get it in the net.

Q. So, are you happy with your decision to return to the USHL instead of come to UND last year?

MIKE CICHY: Yeah, definitely. I think coming into the season, I didn’t feel I was ready for college. Maybe skillwise, I could have done it, but not strengthwise. I needed to get bigger and stronger and I think the extra year really did the trick. Last summer, I put on about 25 pounds and plan to put on some more pounds this summer. I think my shot also got quicker and harder. Everything improved and I’m a lot more ready to come in now. I didn’t want to have a big transition to college. I want the team to be able to count on me right away.

Q. What are your plans for the summer?

MIKE CICHY: I’m going to stay home in Connecticut. I’ve got a job to do there. I’ll be working construction, trying to get stronger and in my free time, I’ll hit the beach. I love the beach. Then, I’ll head to North Dakota in the middle of August. I’ll be living with Danny Kristo there. We played at the National Program together and he kind of pushed me toward North Dakota. Three years later, we’re going to be roommates. And who knows, maybe linemates?

Q. Are you going to follow the draft?

MIKE CICHY: I’ll probably go do something and check at night to see what happened. I would get too nervous if I were watching it.

Q. And lastly, when are you going to sign with Halifax and go to the Q?

MIKE CICHY: (laughing) Maybe now people will believe me.

For more on Cichy, he was on The Pipeline Show this week. Listen to that here.