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Brad E. Schlossman / Forum Communications Co. , Published January 04 2010

Men's hockey: Sioux, Irish skate to tie

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. – Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson has seen plenty of shootouts since his league, the Central Collegiate Hockey Association, adopted them last season.

“I hate them,” he says. “Kids play their hearts out and when you lose a game in a shootout it’s like you’ve been shot. The outsiders don’t recognize what it does to your team when you lose in a shootout. It’s an unfortunate, individual way to end a team game.”

Jackson’s comments summed up two locker rooms after a game that officially does down as a

3-3 tie between the University of North Dakota and Notre Dame in the championship of the Shillelagh Tournament.

In order to hand out a trophy, they used a shootout and the Irish came away victorious in sudden death.

So, while the Notre Dame players sang their school song and blasted music in their locker room, UND players came out stone-faced saying they were already hungry for next weekend’s Western Collegiate Hockey Association series against Minnesota State-Mankato.

“The guys in the locker room are competitive and don’t want to lose at anything they do,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said. “The shootout means nothing. My overall message is that this was a real good night for our team. I really liked the way we competed. We played as well as we have over a 60-minute period in a long time. I’m real happy with the guys in the locker room.”

Plenty of good highlights came out of the weekend for UND, which moved to 10-6-4 overall.

The Sioux stayed unbeaten in nonconference play, something that will be important come NCAA tournament selection time. They are now 4-0-2 with just a road series against Cornell left.

The Sioux also got a pair of first-career goals in the Irish-hosted tournament. In Saturday’s 3-1 win over Niagara, it was Carter Rowney. In Sunday’s tie, Brett Bruneteau potted his first college goal on a strange play behind the net.

“It was kind of fluky but I’ll take it,” Bruneteau said. “It was a nice weight to get off of my shoulders. The first goal is obviously a big moment for you, so it felt really good.”

Also, three lines scored for UND. Top-line center Chris VandeVelde had an even-strength goal in the first period and sophomore Brett Hextall, a second-line winger, scored a power-play goal in the second period. Bruneteau is a fourth-line winger.

“We need a little more scoring from all areas,” Hakstol said.

The game featured many momentum swings. At certain points, UND was peppering Notre Dame goalie Mike Johnson (25 saves, all-tournament team pick) with point-blank shots. Then, the Irish would take over and put pressure on Sioux goalie Brad Eidsness (29 saves).

The scoring was indicative of that.

Notre Dame scored the first goal to go up 1-0. UND scored the next three to claim a 3-1 lead, but the Irish rallied for the tie.

Kevin Deeth scored midway through the second period to make it 3-2 and tournament MVP Billy Maday had the game-tying goal with 18:24 left in the third.

“It was just a heck of a college hockey game,” Hakstol said. “There were quite a few good opportunities in both directions. Nobody likes to end in a tie, but what it really adds up to is a good weekend for our team – a win and a tie. I really liked the way our team played today.”

Jackson also liked the way his Irish played.

“I thought that we played one of our better games of the season against a real good team,” Jackson said. “I felt confident in the way our team was playing, except we went brain dead for a span of about 10 minutes in the second period.

“For us to get a game like that under our belts before we get to conference play is really important for us.”

UND also returns to league play with a home series next weekend against the Mavericks.

“We came here looking to improve and mature as a team and get better,” UND defenseman Jake Marto said. “I think a lot of the things we did, we improved on. But obviously, we wanted to win this one. It’s a tie, so it leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. You want to start the second half as well as you can.”

FIRST PERIOD: 1, ND, Ryan (Cole, Larson), 3:59 (pp). 2, UND, VandeVelde (Gregoire, LaPoint) 16:54

SECOND PERIOD: 3, UND, Hextall (Marto, Gleason) 2:15 (pp). 4, UND, Bruneteau (Lamoureux, Rowney) 8:47. 5, ND, Deeth (Guentzel, Blatchford) 12:22.

THIRD PERIOD: 6, ND, Maday (Minella, Lavin) 1:36.

SAVES: UND, Eidsness 9-9-8-3–29. ND, Johnson 4-7-12-2–25.


Brad E. Schlossman is a writer for the Grand Forks Herald, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.