HANOVER, N.H. — Nothing like a trip out East to see how the West can win.
Behind a three-goal weekend from sophomore MVP Ryan Duncan, North Dakota put the brakes to a four-game losing streak and left with the Ledyard National Bank Classic championship last night, beating St. Lawrence 4-2 at Dartmouth’s Thompson Arena.
With about half of the announced sellout of 4,500 on hand, Duncan scored two goals, including a spectacular game-winner with 10:27 left in the third period to break a 2-2 tie.
Goaltender Philippe Lamoureux made 18 saves for the victory for NoDak, joining Duncan and teammates Robbie Bina and T.J. Oshie on the all-tournament team.
“It’s huge, especially for a team that’s been going through some struggles,” Duncan said. “We lost three of our top guys overseas to the World Juniors, and it gives the opportunity for some other guys who aren’t in the lineup to step up. We’ve got a tight-knit team.”
Both the Fighting Sioux (9-10-1) and the Saints (9-9-1) converted twice on the power play, but Duncan’s third-period strike was the decisive blow.
With UND on a two-man advantage, Duncan picked up the puck at the right wing faceoff dot and proceeded to cycle across the high slot to the left circle. He then ripped a wrister through a St. Lawrence defenseman’s legs and over the left shoulder of screened SLU goalie Alex Petizian (28 saves) for a 3-2 lead.
Duncan added an empty-net goal with 34 seconds left, and also scored in similar fashion to clinch North Dakota’s 4-1 win over host Dartmouth in Friday’s opening round.
“We’ve always liked him; we tried to get him,” St. Lawrence coach Joe Marsh said of Duncan. “It’s tough when you go head-to-head with the likes of the Fighting Sioux. It’s a little tough for us, but it was a fun game.”
Kevin DeVergilio scored twice for the Saints and earned a spot on the all-tourney team with fellow forward Brock McBride, whose hat trick pushed SLU over Boston University in the opening round on Friday.
Ryan Martens and Scott Foyt added goals for UND, which was missing Jonathan Toews, Taylor Chorney and Brian Lee to the IIHF World Junior Championships this weekend. Defenseman Matt Gilroy of BU completed the all-tourney squad.
Greg Fennell covers Dartmouth College hockey for the Valley News in West Lebanon, N.H.