Minnesota Duluth was off last weekend and moved up two spots in the Inside College Hockey Power Rankings to No. 9. This week’s road opponent — North Dakota — is No. 10. That means six WCHA teams in the Top 10. A complete look at the INCH rankings are here.
Also, below is the game story from Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald on North Dakota’s 8-1 win at St. Cloud State on Saturday:
ST. CLOUD, Minn. — The North Dakota men’s hockey team vowed to play for injured captain Chay Genoway this weekend and did it in every sense on Saturday night.
North Dakota’s Mario Lamoureux challenged St. Cloud State’s Aaron Marvin to a fight in the first period, the Sioux scored six times in the second and finished off an 8-1 rout in the third, handing No. 4 St. Cloud State its worst loss in 14 years.
Chris VandeVelde capped off a six-point weekend with a goal and three assists Saturday, while Corban Knight added a goal and an assist for a four-point weekend to help the Sioux improve to 14-11-5 and 9-10-3 in Western Collegiate Hockey Association play.
The Sioux dominated play in Friday’s series opener, but didn’t get any of the breaks and lost 4-3. Looking for better fortunes, they threw on the lucky black jerseys and came alive offensively.
The power play, which entered the weekend scoreless on 32 straight chances, went four-for-seven in the series finale. Matt Frattin snapped an 11-game goal drought by scoring twice. And the eight goals matched UND’s output from the previous five games combined.
“It’s about time the floodgates open,” said VandeVelde, who notched his 100th career point with a goal in the second period. “We haven’t been getting a lot of bounces or puck luck, so it was nice to see. Now, we just have to keep it rolling.”
Lamoureux didn’t get on the scoresheet, but his teammates gave him credit for the jumpstart. Midway through the first period, he challenged Marvin — who injured Genoway with an illegal hit from behind in the teams’ last series in November — to a fight off of a face-off.
Both players removed their gloves and helmets and prepared to go, but the referees quickly jumped in to prevent the fight from happening.
“It was a long time coming for this whole situation,” Lamoureux said. “I don’t think it was any secret that there might be some type of situation this weekend. I wasn’t afraid to step up. I’ve been in this situation before. I don’t know if it’s revenge — I guess that would be the best word to call it — for Chay. The referees jumped in, but I think the message was sent to our team.”
Darcy Zajac, who scored the eventual game-winning goal and added an assist, said: “He’s a teammate and a key player right there. I would have liked to see that (fight). That’s what we’re all about as a team here. Marvin. . . it was coming for him. Unfortunately, the refs didn’t let it go and that’s why it escalated in the end.”
The teams combined for 135 penalty minutes because of altercations throughout a game that got out of hand on the scoreboard quickly.
St. Cloud State goalie Mike Lee, who entered the weekend with a 1.81 goals-against average and a .950 save percentage since winning gold at the World Juniors, was chased after allowing six goals in the second. It was UND’s most prolific period in eight years.
VandeVelde scored on a snapshot 41 seconds into the frame. Zajac and Derrick LaPoint added tap-in goals on centering feeds at 3:22 and 5:27. Jake Marto threaded a point shot at 6:01. Knight scored on a rebound at 14:11 and Danny Kristo snapped a shot in the net at 17:52.
“You want to take a look at it and wonder if we could have spread these out over the last few games,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said. “We’ve been working so hard and doing a lot of good things. Sometimes it’s hard to continue believing in yourself unless some things start going the right way.
“It’s one of the things we talked about this morning. Just keep doing the right things and sooner or later, the tide will turn in the right direction and it did tonight.”
Frattin capped the game with a pair of goals in the third period – his first two since rejoining the team in January. Before the game, the Sioux coaches joked with Frattin that if he doesn’t score in the finale, he’s not riding on the bus back home.
After his first goal, Brad Malone brought the puck back to the bench and said, “Here’s Fratt’s bus ticket.”
The Sioux hope it’s also a sign that the tide is turning.
“If you look back at the last couple of weeks here, we had a lot of series where we were making plays and the opportunities were there, the puck just wasn’t going in for us,” Zajac said. “We knew it was a matter of time.”
Notes: UND is 4-0-1 in the black jerseys this year. . . UND made one lineup change for the series finale. David Toews was scratched and replaced by Brett Bruneteau. . . St. Cloud State captain Garrett Raboin returned to the lineup after missing Friday’s game with the flu.