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Brad E. Schlossman / Forum Communications Co., Published January 17 2010

Sioux men's hockey falls in rout to Gophers

MINNEAPOLIS – It happened so long ago, more than four years to be exact, that it may be hard to remember.

The last time the University of North Dakota men’s hockey team lost a game in Mariucci Arena, Minnesota scored three goals in the final 5 minutes, 11 seconds of the middle period and went on to rout the Sioux on January 13, 2006.

The recipe for ending Minnesota’s program-long win drought against UND here was eerily familiar on Saturday night.

Minnesota scored three goals in the final 5:09 of the middle frame to take control in a 5-1 Western Collegiate Hockey Association victory.

The loss ended UND’s seven-game unbeaten streak against the Gophers, six-game unbeaten streak in Mariucci and five-game unbeaten streak this season.

After the game, the Sioux couldn’t help but think of the decisive stretch in the second period.

Zach Budish scored a fluky goal off of a draw, when he swatted at the puck, sending it high into the air, over goalie Brad Eidsness and in the net for a 2-0 Minnesota lead with 5:09 left in the period. Tony Lucia and Jake Cepis later scored goals seven seconds apart – a Minnesota program record – to take a commanding 4-0 lead.

“They got a good bounce on the second goal and we shot ourselves in the foot twice on the third and fourth goals,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said. “You can’t give easy goals to a good team, and we did that for their third and fourth goals.

“I thought, for the majority of the game, we played better than we did last night (in a 3-3 tie). We absolutely had more of the play and the better of the play tonight, but that’s not what counts. Scoreboard counts.”

If there was any solace for the Sioux, it was that after they fell behind 5-0 on a power-play goal early in the second period, they outshot the Gophers 14-1 for the rest of the game and broke up Alex Kangas’ shutout bid when Darcy Zajac buried a wrist shot in the slot at 8:33.

The Sioux actually ended up outshooting the Gophers 35-23 for the game.

“It came down to them capitalizing on their chances,” Sioux forward Mario Lamoureux said, “and we didn’t. So, it’s back to the grindstone.”

Minnesota led 1-0 after the first period on a goal by Josh Birkholz, but the Sioux came out with extra jump after the first intermission.

They outshot the Gophers 10-2 to start the middle frame, but didn’t have anything to show for it. Kangas (34 saves) was fantastic and he got some help when Evan Trupp and Ben Blood rang shots off the pipe.

“In the first period, I didn’t think we came out hard enough,” Hakstol said.

FIRST PERIOD: 1, M, Birkholz (Sacchetti, Flynn) 18:11.

SECOND PERIOD: 2, M, Budisch 14:51. 3, M, Lucia 18:06. 4, M, Cepis (Schroeder) 18:13.

THIRD PERIOD: 5, M, Hoeffel (White, Fairchild) :55 (pp). 6, UND, Zajac 8:33.

SAVES: UND, Eidsness 8-9-1–18. UND, Kangas 9-12-13–34.

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