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Brad E. Schlossman / Forum Communications Co., Published March 07 2010

Men's hockey: Sioux sweep, Lamoureux shines in UND victory

GRAND FORKS – Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux were honored for their Olympic silver medals in Ralph Engelstad Arena on Friday night.

Their brother took back the spotlight on Saturday.

UND sophomore forward Mario Lamoureux broke a third-period tie with 12 minutes, 48 seconds remaining, lifting the Sioux to a 3-2 victory over Michigan Tech in the regular-season finale.

Jason Gregoire scored twice and Derrick LaPoint added a pair of assists for the Sioux, who honored their seniors at the conclusion of the game and started to shift their focus to the first-round of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs.

The opponent – Minnesota.

“It’s going to be fun,” Gregoire said. “I can’t wait to see our crowd. Hopefully, we can end their season, but it’s not going to be easy. They’re a good team. We know they’re a better team than where they finished.”

Minnesota is the seventh seed. UND, the No. 4 seed, will take the country’s longest winning streak into the playoffs. The team’s seventh straight victory – and third straight WCHA sweep – helped UND improve to 20-11-5 overall and 15-10-3 in WCHA play.

It certainly wasn’t UND’s best effort, though.

It only took the Huskies 22 minutes to reach their shot total from Friday night’s 5-1 loss (14 shots), and they built a 2-0 lead midway through the game on power-play goals by Jordan Baker and Malcolm Gwilliam.

But Gregoire scored his 17th goal of the season at the end of the second and added No. 18 at the start of the third to get the Sioux back in it.

“It’s fun for him,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said. “You get to that extra level of intensity, the game is on the line, and it’s fun for him. He competes at a little higher level in those situations. He has real good presence out there and finds a way to get the job done.”

Lamoureux got the game-winner with a persistent effort.

After heavy pressure by the Sioux, a Michigan Tech defenseman tried to clear the puck up the middle of the ice, but Lamoureux came off the bench and picked it off. His initial shot hit traffic in front and came back to him. A second attempt was saved by a diving defenseman, but Lamoureux put the third chance upstairs.

“Third time’s the charm,” he said. “I’m glad I could help the team. It wasn’t our greatest game, but we found a way to get the job done and I was happy to contribute to the win.”

Goalie Brad Eidsness made 28 saves and held the last-place Huskies (5-28-1, 4-24) off the board the rest of the way.

Then, it turned into a celebration for UND’s three seniors. Darcy Zajac, Chris VandeVelde and Chay Genoway all skated onto the ice as a video played on the big screen showing pictures from when they were young as well as shots of them playing for the Sioux.

At the conclusion, the trio skated to the center circle and gave a stick salute.

“I was getting a little emotional,” Lamoureux said. “The seniors have done a lot for me. I owe a lot to the seniors and it’s sad that it’s their last time, but they’ve done a great job for four years here. Hopefully, we can keep it going and win a national championship for those guys because they put a lot of work in and they deserve it.”

UND doesn’t know yet if this is Genoway’s last game in The Ralph, though. The injured captain is attempting to rejoin the team later this season, but if he doesn’t, he could apply for a medical redshirt.

The win was No. 150 for Hakstol, whose team reached the 20-win mark for the sixth time in his six years as head coach.

“We found a way to keep moving forward,” Hakstol said.

FIRST PERIOD: 1, MT, Baker (Cousens, Dobson), 2:53 (pp).

SECOND PERIOD: 2, MT, Gwilliam (Dobson, Pietila), 5:36 (pp). 3, UND, Gregoire (Kristo, LaPoint), 14:04.

THIRD PERIOD: 4, UND, Gregoire (LaPoint), 4:20. 5, UND, Lamoureux, 7:12.

SAVES: MT, Robinson 13-19-9–41. UND, Eidsness 11-7-10–28.

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