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Brad E. Schlossman / Forum Communications Co., Published January 22 2011

Welcome back: Mavericks cruise to men's hockey in Blais' return to Ralph Engelstad Arena

GRAND FORKS – Dean Blais returned to Ralph Engelstad Arena on Friday night and his old team was a gracious host.

The University of North Dakota gave Blais’ Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks five consecutive power plays in the second period – three extended five-on-threes – and allowed the visitors to build an insurmountable, six-goal lead in the opener of a Western Collegiate Hockey Association series.

When the clock finally expired, Omaha had piled up more goals than any opponent in Grand Forks since 1992 with an 8-4 victory.

The fourth-place Mavericks (13-8-2, 10-5-2 WCHA) scored five power-play goals, two at five-on-three, one at six-on-three and one shorthanded en route to the victory.

“To come in and beat a team like North Dakota,” Blais said, “it’s something special.”

The game was nothing special for the No. 2 Sioux (17-7-2, 12-5 WCHA), who have now lost two of three games after going on a nine-game unbeaten streak.

“We weren’t good, and that starts with me,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said. “Bottom line. That’s where it starts. That’s where it ends.

“The difference in the game was that we weren’t ready to play tonight. I didn’t have the guys ready to play. Saw a few signs of it early in the week. We weren’t ready to play. We didn’t prepare well enough and you saw the results.”

Omaha forward Joey Martin had three goals and an assist to lead the charge. He was named the first star of the game. Mavericks defenseman Eric Olimb, a former Warroad star, had three assists and was named the second star.

Perhaps the only bright spot for the Sioux was that captain Chay Genoway scored two goals to extend his point streak to 12 games. That ties Bill Himmelright’s 1977-78 school record for most consecutive games with a point by a defenseman.

UND goalie Aaron Dell was yanked for the first time this season after allowing four goals in the first 30 minutes, 1 second of the game. Brad Eidsness, who last played against Omaha on Nov. 19 in a 6-5 Sioux victory, allowed the final four.

The Sioux played a decent first period, but couldn’t capitalize on chances. An opportunistic Omaha team scored twice – once on the power play and once shorthanded – to build a 2-0.

With time winding down in the first period, Omaha’s 6-foot-4, 228-pound Tony Turgeon fought UND’s 5-foot-9, 185-pound Mario Lamoureux – both of whom are Grand Forks natives. The bout lasted only a few seconds, but Turgeon had enough time to give Lamoureux a shiner.

Then, the wheels fell off in the second.

Derek Forbort and Brett Hextall both took penalties at 9:37 of the middle frame, giving the Mavericks a five-on-three for a full two minutes. Omaha scored on it and immediately got two more five-on-threes with penalties to Hextall and Ben Blood.

Genoway, Evan Trupp and Jason Gregoire scored the goals for UND.

“We saw this coming, I think,” Genoway said. “We pulled off a lot of wins in this last little while, but I don’t know if we’ve been playing the best hockey. Maybe that second intermission is a sign of things to come. I thought we played fairly decent in the third period.

“Boy, tomorrow night is going to be … a big moment in the season for us.”

FIRST PERIOD: 1, UNO, Martin (Purslow, Olimb) 11:43. 2, UNO, Young (Ambroz, Broadhurst) 13:32 (sh).

SECOND PERIOD: 3, UND, Genoway (Frattin, Blood) 3:36. 4, UNO, Walters (Aneloski, Searfoss) 6:23 (pp). 5, UNO, Martin (Olimb, Hudson) 10:01 (pp). 6, UNO, Purslow (Olimb, Martin) 11:05 (pp, ex). 7, UNO, White (Montpetit, Faulkner) 12:21 (pp). 8, UNO, Montpetit (Young, Sustr) 14:06.

THIRD PERIOD: 9, UND, Trupp (Simpson) 3:30. 10, UND, Genoway (Malone) 7:27. 11, UND, Gregoire (Hextall, Marto) 12:20 (pp). 12, UNO, Martin (Young) 13:47.

SAVES: UNO, Faulkner 8-10-15–33. UND, Dell 4-10-x–14, Eidsness x-6-5–11.


Schlossman writes for the Grand Forks Herald