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Eric Peterson, Published March 24 2010

NCAA hockey: Tournament populated with many local standouts

When the NCAA Division I men’s hockey tournament starts Friday, Moorhead Spuds hockey coach Dave Morinville will have a number of players to track.

Six former Spuds are spread over the rosters of three teams in the 16-team tournament.

“It’s a big feather in Moorhead High School’s hat, that’s for sure,” Morinville said. “It means a lot to our high school program, but also our youth hockey program. These guys they all grew up in our program.”

Jordy Christian, Brett Barta and Jon Ammerman play for St. Cloud State, John Lee and Brian Gifford play for Denver, and Chris VandeVelde plays for North Dakota.

Denver and St. Cloud State play their first-round games Friday, while UND opens Saturday.

“If there is anything that you can safely say about all those guys is that they’re extremely dedicated and extremely focused on where they wanted to go and what they wanted to do,” Morinville said.

VandeVelde is the top scorer in the bunch. He leads the Sioux in scoring with 41 points per game.

The 6-foot-2, 207-pound senior forward also has a plus-4 plus-minus rating through 41 games.

VandeVelde has scored 22 points in the last 15 games, including nine goals.

“He’s a tough hard-nosed guy that plays the game hard,” Morinville said. “He really fits into UND’s game the way they play. … The way they like to play the game hard, aggressive and that’s the way Vandy is. He is a power type of forward.”

Morinville also likes the way Lee has developed as a player this season. Lee is the brother of Ottawa Senators defenseman and former Spud, Brian Lee. John Lee has 12 points in 40 games for the Pioneers.

“It was great to see the way he played this year,” Morinville said. “He’s kind of been in the shadow of Brian, but all of sudden people are starting to realize that ‘Wow, this guy is starting to come around.’ ”

UND

Area players

- Chris VandeVelde, Sr., F, Moorhead, leads team with 41 points.

- Jake Marto, Jr., D, Grand Forks, leads team with plus-17 plus-minus rating.

- Mario Lamoureux, So., F, Grand Forks, has 12 points in 41 games.

Northeast Region game

Saturday, 4 p.m.

at Worcester, Mass.

vs. Yale

St. Cloud State

Area players

- Garrett Raboin, Sr., D, Detroit Lakes, Minn., has 23 points in 38 games.

- Jordy Christian, So., F, Moorhead, has 11 points in 40 games.

- Brett Barta, Jr., D, Moorhead, has a plus-8 plus-minus rating in 21 games.

- Jon Ammerman, Sr., D, Moorhead, has one point in 12 games.

- Aaron Marvin, Jr., F, Warroad, Minn., has 14 points in 37 games.

- Mike Lee, Fr., G, Roseau, Minn. (Fargo Force), has .918 save percentage.

West Region game

Friday, 4:30 p.m.

at St. Paul Xcel Energy Center

vs. Northern Michigan

Bemidji State

Area players

- Ryan Cramer, Jr., F, International Falls, Minn., (F-M Jets), has 21 points in 36 games.

- Tyler Lehrke, Sr., F, Park Rapids, Minn., has 24 points in 36 games.

- Chris Peluso, Sr., D, Wadena, Minn., has nine points in 28 games.

- Matt Carlson, So., D, Grand Forks, has one point in 12 games.

- Kyle Hardwick, Sr., D, Warroad, Minn., has two points in 29 games.

- Jake Areshenko, Fr., D, Port Coquitlam, British Columbia (Fargo Force), has plus-11 plus-minus rating in 32 games.

Midwest Region game

Saturday, 6:30 p.m.

at Fort Wayne, Ind.

vs. Michigan

Denver

Area players

- John Lee, So., D, Moorhead has 12 points in 40 games.

- Brian Gifford, Sr., F, Moorhead, have five points in 38 games.

East Region game

Friday, 2 p.m.

at Albany, N.Y.

vs. Rochester Tech

Wisconsin

Area players

- Aaron Bendickson, Sr., F, Thief River Falls, Minn., has plus-17 plus-minus rating in 39 games.

West Region game

Friday, 8 p.m.

at St. Paul Xcel Energy Center

vs. Vermont

Miami of Ohio

Area players

- Steven Spinell, Fr., D, Vernon Hills, Ill. (Fargo Force), has plus-12 plus-minus rating in 28 games.

Midwest Region game

Saturday, 4 p.m.

at Fort Wayne, Ind.

vs. Alabama-Huntsville

Alaska-Fairbanks

Area players

- Andy Taranto, Fr., F, Woodridge, Ill. (Fargo Force), tied for team lead with 41 points in 37 games and CCHA rookie of the year.

Northeast Region game

Saturday, 12:30 p.m.

at Worcester, Mass.

vs. Boston College


Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.