GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Behind outstanding goaltending by freshman Phillippe Lamoureux, North Dakota broke a four-game winless slump, knocking off previously-undefeated Colorado College 2-1 at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
On Friday night, CC’s Curtis McElhinney was the difference in the Tigers’ 3-2 overtime victory. Saturday, the 5-10, 155-pound Lamoureux — a Grand Forks native — was the difference for the Sioux.
“He stood bigger than his frame and stopped the puck,” said CC coach Scott Owens. “They (UND) may have found their goaltender.”
Sioux coach Dave Hakstol said the turning point of the game came in the second period when the Sioux killed back-to-back 5-on-3 power plays of 40 and 44 seconds each. Owens agreed that timely — sometimes acrobatic — saves by Lamoureux changed the game’s momentum.
“I thought he played outstanding, especially in the second period,” Owens said. “We had a couple 5-on-3s and a real good 5-on-4 where we had a couple shots that just didn’t go in.”
Just when it appeared that the Sioux would once again be their own worst enemies by taking untimely penalties, Lamoureux bailed them out.
“We’ve been facing a lot of 5-on-3s this year,” he said. “I just concentrate on staying square, trying not to scramble around and making sure that I’m smothering everything.”
After playing to a scoreless tie for most of two periods, UND capitalized on the power play at the 15:46 mark. Forward Chris Porter tipped Colby Genoway’s blast from the point past CC’s Matt Zaba to give the Sioux a 1-0 lead.
In a low-scoring, tight-checking defensive battle, UND sophomore forward Drew Stafford’s third goal of the season at 7:59 of the third period proved to be the game winner.
On a faceoff in the right circle deep in CC’s zone, Genoway got the puck to Stafford, who bulled his way through defenders to slam it past Zaba and put UND up 2-0.
The Tigers made it a one-goal game at 12:29 when forward Brett Sterling scored his eighth goal in six games. Lamoureux stopped Sterling’s point-blank shot on the short side, but the Tiger forward picked up the rebound, skated behind the net and stuffed the puck in on a wraparound before the Sioux goalie could recover.
Friday night, the Sioux failed to hold a one-goal lead late in the third period. Saturday night, it was a different story as Lamoureux and the UND defense shut down CC, even when Zaba was pulled for an extra attacker with 40 seconds remaining.
“The defense really made my job a lot easier by keeping a lot of the shots to the outside,” Lamoureux said.
After a 4-0-1 start, the Sioux went 0-3-1. And in their last two games, they surrendered third-period leads. Thus, Hakstol was pleased with his team’s ability to defend the lead.
“It was very important for us tonight to be able to finish this off,” Hakstol said.
“We went into this game with the mindset that it’s desperation,” Genoway said. “It was desperation hockey and it was a big character win for us. It’s easy to win when you’re on a roll, but it’s tough when you’re struggling to get that first one.”
UND is 5-3-2 overall and 3-2-1 in the WCHA. CC is 5-1-0 overall and 1-1-0 in league play. The Sioux next travel to Wisconsin for a two-game series Nov. 12-13. The Tigers play a home-and-home series with Denver Nov. 12-13.