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College Hockey:
North Dakota pulls away from Denver, books spot in Frozen Four

— In five postseason games, Denver had outscored its opponents 13-1 in the third period, but on Sunday, North Dakota made sure there would be no magical Pioneers comeback.

The Fighting Sioux used three third-period goals to turn a two-goal game after two periods into what looked like a rout looking at the final score: 6-1 UND.

With Sunday’s win, the Sioux claimed the Midwest Regional title and advance to the Frozen Four in St. Paul. UND takes on Michigan in the semifinals at 7 p.m. CDT on April 7 at the Xcel Energy Center.

“The final score ended up 6-1 but this was a tight, tough battle from the drop of the puck all the way until the of the game,” said UND coach Dave Hakstol. “We built a lead, played a good third period and finished it out.”

 North Dakota pulls away from Denver, books spot in Frozen Four Denver played 91 minutes in its double-overtime win against Western Michigan the day before, and by the second intermission, UND’s depth took over and buried a drained Pioneers team.

“We didn’t have a lot of jump or zip in that third period,” said Denver coach George Gwozdecky. “I think you saw some tired legs in the second half of the game. It was as much of a physical tired as it was an emotional tired.”

Added Denver’s Kyle Ostrow: “Double overtime last night probably wore us down a bit. North Dakota wore us down as the game went on.”

The Sioux jumped on the board first 1:59 after Brad Malone took a first-period hooking penalty.

Chay Genoway got the puck ahead to Mario Lamoureux on a short-handed breakout up the right boards. Lamoureux had a two-on-one break but decided to shoot and beat Sam Brittain high to the glove side with one second left on Denver’s power play and 5:23 left in the first period.

But the Pioneers answered just before the period ended on a heads-up play by Jason Zucker with 0.2 seconds on the clock. The WCHA’s rookie of the year had the puck below the goal line, threw it toward the goal and it bounced off UND goaltender Aaron Dell’s left skate and in.

UND extended its lead to two goals at the 7:06 mark of the second period when Evan Trupp scored on his own rebound. The score was 3-1 Sioux at the end of the period after a Brett Hextall power-play goal.

The Sioux (32-8-3) worked the puck around the Pioneers’ zone from Brock Nelson to Genoway and finally to Brett Hextall down low for the low angle one-timer that beat Brittain 53 seconds from the end of the second period.

“Denver is such a good team, so to get those goals that gave us some breathing room was huge for us,” Hextall said. “It took some of the tension off and we were able to stick with the game plan.”

Nelson delivered the knockout punch with 5:17 left in the third period on a backhand shot over Brittain’s left shoulder. The Pioneers pulled Brittain for the extra attacker with 3:46 to go and Malone scored the empty netter 57 seconds later. Jake Marto added another late power-play goal.

Dell made 26 saves for his 30th victory of the season. He made 21 saves in Saturday’s shutout of Rensselaer and was named the regional’s most outstanding player.

“Aaron has been great from the start of the season,” Hakstol said. “He was quietly pretty spectacular at different times in this hockey game.”

Brittain finished with 26 saves for Denver (25-12-5).

Video: North Dakota coach Dave Hakstol:

Video: North Dakota’s Chay Genoway:

Video: Denver coach George Gwozdecky:

Video: Denver’s Kyle Ostrow:

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  • FFBound

    New rules for posts? Nice change. Seen quite a bit of that stuff in the last few weeks; like the spirit, but there’s a point when it becomes classless.

    • Jdorf40

      Agreed. But I never really saw anything that was too absurd before. I would occasionally see posts that were deleted, but all in all I think that most of the people on here wear big boy pants and can take a little grief.

      Regardless…I am so jacked about the Sioux. I’ll be there and I hope the rest of Sioux nation joins me!

  • Oracle

    From a Sioux fan, I would like to say Thank You DU for such great competition. Playing a class act team like DU is a compliment to our program. It is too bad that the two best teams left in this tournament had to play each other in order to advance to the Frozen Four. More great games and from a great rivalry are on the horizon.

    • B.D.

      Agreed.
      I think THAT will probably be remembered as the game of the tournament between the two bes tteams.

      • Trey

        Seems more like DU should apply for membership in the ECAC.

        • heading to st paul

          why DU is one of the best teams in the WCHA every year and that was the classiest game i have seen out of those two teams in a long time

        • Stanner’57

          i believe they ARE members of the ECAC and won the conference last year – in lacrosse.( they ain’t half bad)

      • Jdorf40

        I think BC and UND are the two best teams in the country. Denver is really a good team, but they’re young still. The Sioux will have their hands full after this season because that team is going to be tough. So will UNO. There is some crazy good young talent in the WCHA right now. Freshman all across the conference will be displaying some mad skills over the next couple of years. It’s going to be fun to watch! But for now, I just hope the Sioux can prove that they are the undisputed champions THIS YEAR!

        • Ridingtimes

          Like you said the WCHA is so young this year..Heck i know CC is losing 3 seniors that play. The rest are 3 Juniors and the rest Fesh and Sophs…This League is just going to be sick next year. Being a CC fan I can say i am damn proud of how they played this year..Heck everyone said we would not be that good.

          • Jdorf40

            Hey, trust me…I’m a Sioux fan, but I think I might have been the biggest CC fan on the planet when they played BC!!! I was really pulling for them against Michigan too. I was surprised after watching the replays that there was no review of the time left on the 4 on 4 because they clearly scored with over a second left and should have still had 1:51 on the pp. It’s in the past now, but I was really hoping they could come out of that region. It would have been great if there were 3 WCHA teams in the Frozen Four with UMD and CC being 2 of them despite being lower seeds in the tourney. CC played the best game I saw of any college team all year on Friday night though. They were unstoppable. I’m just glad it was against BC because unless you’re playing out of your mind, that team is tough to beat. Congrats on a solid finish. You guys were fun to watch!

    • heading to st paul

      that would of been a great national championship DU vs UND to bad about the bracketing

  • Djccpa8

    Too bad the two best teams in the country at this point had to play in a regional final to insure a limited numbe of WCHA teams get to the Frozen Four. Hats off to Denver on a great game and a fine season, from a loyal Fighting Sioux fan! George and his team are always in the thick of it, they will be back with such a young talented team and solid goalie through the year.

  • Djccpa8

    Too bad the two best teams in the country at this point had to play in a regional final to insure a limited numbe of WCHA teams get to the Frozen Four. Hats off to Denver on a great game and a fine season, from a loyal Fighting Sioux fan! George and his team are always in the thick of it, they will be back with such a young talented team and solid goalie through the year.

  • Sioux to the South

    It seems clear that the Sioux are really focused on business at hand. Every other team that made it to the Frozen Four this weekend went nuts and piled on each other in excitement. At the end of the Sioux / DU game the boys just slapped a few hands and got in line for handshake. This is as focused a team as I have seen in a long time. That’s what happens when a team can get six seniors to stay and play all 4 years.

    • GeauxSioux

      Agreed. Everybody get out of our way immediately. We are not joking this year.

  • Sioux to the South

    It seems clear that the Sioux are really focused on business at hand. Every other team that made it to the Frozen Four this weekend went nuts and piled on each other in excitement. At the end of the Sioux / DU game the boys just slapped a few hands and got in line for handshake. This is as focused a team as I have seen in a long time. That’s what happens when a team can get six seniors to stay and play all 4 years.

  • Suture1

    What did I say about 3 weeks ago? For those of you that missed it….I said that North Dakota was the best team in the country. Not because I am a Sioux fan…but if anyone truly knows hockey and they are capable of being objective then there is no question that ND has had the best team all year long. I am very proud of this team because they never thought for one second they could win a single game because they were a talented team. They have worked their tails off every single game and have shown great respect for every team they played. I hope the whole East/West arguments can subside for a moment and let the 4 teams involved at the FF decide the champion. As I said, I am a Sioux fan but I saw some pretty good teams from every corner of the country. Every conference had their share of success and lumps to swallow. I also realize that being the “best” team does not ensure a championship…..the Sioux will have to win 2 games against some great teams. Anyway, I hope some of the fans from any part of the country can appreciate the way the Sioux play the game of hockey. They work hard, fight hard and play with a tremendous amount of drive and inspiration. Nice work Sioux, can’t wait to see you at the FF…..!!!

  • Suture1

    What did I say about 3 weeks ago? For those of you that missed it….I said that North Dakota was the best team in the country. Not because I am a Sioux fan…but if anyone truly knows hockey and they are capable of being objective then there is no question that ND has had the best team all year long. I am very proud of this team because they never thought for one second they could win a single game because they were a talented team. They have worked their tails off every single game and have shown great respect for every team they played. I hope the whole East/West arguments can subside for a moment and let the 4 teams involved at the FF decide the champion. As I said, I am a Sioux fan but I saw some pretty good teams from every corner of the country. Every conference had their share of success and lumps to swallow. I also realize that being the “best” team does not ensure a championship…..the Sioux will have to win 2 games against some great teams. Anyway, I hope some of the fans from any part of the country can appreciate the way the Sioux play the game of hockey. They work hard, fight hard and play with a tremendous amount of drive and inspiration. Nice work Sioux, can’t wait to see you at the FF…..!!!

    • Junkstink

      nah you never said that, i read all of these

  • http://profiles.google.com/emploch Eric Ploch

    Im a yale fan, im sure some of you know that from my constant yale posts the last day but after watching North Dakota play tonight…no doubt they are the best team in the nation

    • Q1

      Good of you to say man. I must admit, I like to see as many WCHA teams in the Frozen Four, but I thought it was a tough way for your Bulldogs to go out. You guys looked good. That was a pretty sketchy call on the O’Neil penalty. It’s pretty obvious the Frozen Four doesn’t always showcase the best 4 teams in the country. It’s too bad both Yale and UMD couldn’t be there.

      • http://profiles.google.com/emploch Eric Ploch

        the way the UMD goalie played friday and saturday i wouldnt be suprised at all if its a UMD – UND final…im definitely excited to see teams from the west play in the frozen four since we dont get to ever see them play on the east coast too much

    • Jdorf40

      I think the Sioux are playing the best right now. They’ve been hot for the last 6 weeks but there’s still 2 games to go before anyone can claim to be the best. I like our chances, but Michigan is a very good hockey team. They just took out UNO and CC (though I would like to say, controversy was ever present). The way we played this weekend is meaningless if we don’t win it all. Hakstol is leading us to our 4th Frozen Four in 6 years. I hope it’s time to hit pay dirt. For his sake and ours! What a great tournament so far though. The one and done format is so tough to predict. Only 1 number one seed was able to string together 2 wins. Crazy.

  • http://profiles.google.com/emploch Eric Ploch

    Im a yale fan, im sure some of you know that from my constant yale posts the last day but after watching North Dakota play tonight…no doubt they are the best team in the nation

  • GeauxSioux

    Who would have guessed 2 WCHA teams and 2 CCHA teams in the Frozen Four???

    • Anonymous

      Let alone 4 teams that were part of the WCHA at some point in their school’s hockey program.

  • GeauxSioux

    Who would have guessed 2 WCHA teams and 2 CCHA teams in the Frozen Four???

  • Suture1

    Anbody know where I can purchase some tickets for the FF? If anyone knows will you post it on here? Thanks…:)

    • Q1

      You can still get random upper deck seats on Ticketmaster. I couldn’t find 2 seats side by side thought. And that was right after the Sioux game.

    • Siouxper Fan

      Suture, where are you residing? I’m a season ticket holder and have an email from the Fighting Sioux Club that I have until Wednesday to buy reserved tickets for season holders. I’ll look back on this feed on Monday….. I just might drive down from ND to catch the tourney!

      • Suture1

        Thanks Siouxper. I am flying up from Atlanta on Thursday (April 7th)….tickets or not…;) We have a group of 6 or 8 depending…. We are all looking for tickets on various sites but it is hard to get this many together. May have to bust the wallet for one of the suites…lol. Anyway, if you have any info I will check on here Monday….thanks again Siouxper…:)

        • poptart

          In all honesty, you may have to break up into 2 separate groups and get them off stubhub or something like that.

        • Luv College Hockey

          It’s amazing how we love our Sioux. We’ll be flying in from all over the country. I got 4 yesterday off of Craigslist and I’m flying up from Phoenix on the 6th.

          • Suture1

            Yea baby…got my tickets! Cost me an arm and a leg….but I will be able to have some cold suds in our suite…:) We have 6 people flying in from GA, CA, IA, ND and MN (well, driving from IA, ND, MN). We have 2 suite tickets left….but be prepared to pay up boys…..lol. Funny how people are willing to pay just to have a few cold ones during the game. Can you tell I’m a UND grad….lmao!!!

          • B.D.

            Sadly I am projected to be on duty during the games, but will TEVO it all….

      • helmut

        you better hope u r a big doner other wise u aren’t getting any but good luck because tickets are expensive

    • heading to st paul

      stubhub.com might be your only chance left

    • Gemartin

      Check on E Bay, there should be some Eastern ticket holders ready to sell.
      I’ve got mine and cannot wait. The frozen Four in my backyard.

      And Go Sioux Sioux in reply to ” Can’t wait for #8″.

  • ddddangles

    Congrats to DU on a great season. There’s no question that the Pioneers will be a strong, STRONG team next year as long as Shore, Zucker, and the likes stay. The Sioux have played like champs thus far and I believe that they can continue! Go Sioux!

    • Anonymous

      I think Zucker will go to the NHL.

  • Can’t wait for #8

    Possibly the most complete game I’ve seen the Sioux play all year and it was against a great team. It was really good to see the two hometown boys, Marto and Lamoureax each get a gino! It’s gonna be a lonnnnng couple of weeks waiting for the frozen four.

    See all you Sioux fans in ST PAUL!
    SIOUX YEAH YEAH

  • http://profiles.google.com/pete.vandersteen Peter Vandersteen

    Loving life! Go Sioux! I’m only an hour from the XCel but as a graduate student I am broke. I’m gonna try to find a way to the FF.

  • Hockey Fan

    Had to throw this out there. Yale got criticized for being over rated because they lost by 2 goals to a WCHA team. Saying the WCHA was so much more superior than EACA. So what does it mean if Denver loses by 5 goals to a WCHA team?

    • Hockey God

      Denver is a WCHA team and lost by 5 goals to the best WCHA team, UND (regular season and tournament champs) and the number one team in the country.
      Yale was the number one seed in the tournament and barely beat 22nd ranked AFA, and lost to the 4th team in the WCHA, 16th ranked UMD.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BJZZEJRJHRZMUMTR2KZPFLIYDY Don

    I am by no means a Denver fan, but I think what happened to them was grossly unfair. It is also a measure of the second-class status with which the NCAA treats college hockey. One would never see a basketball team in the NCAA tournament asked to double back and play a second game on less than 24 hours of rest. Not only is hockey a more exhausting sport than basketball, but the chances of long overtimes are far greater on the ice. And yet the NCAA doesn’t space the playoff days in the same way they do for basketball. If your first round game is on a Friday, you should not play the final until Sunday. Yes, it would cost some money for the extra hotel day, but it would be far fairer.

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