March 30, 2008
Midwest Regional | Regional Final
North Dakota Rallies to Reach Denver
Sioux come back in the third, win in OT to reach fourth straight Frozen Four

By James V. Dowd

North Dakota 3,
Wisconsin 2 OT

Team Goal Str
Time Assists

First Period

No Scoring

Second Period

1-UW Jamie McBain (5) EV
5:38 K. Turris, D. Drewiske
2-UW Cody Goloubef (4) PP
19:21 P. Johnson, K. Klubertanz
Third Period
1-ND Rylan Kaip (8) EV
3:33 M. Frattin, M. Watkins
2-ND Ryan Duncan (18) EV
4:20 T.J. Oshie

Overtime

3-ND Andrew Kozek (18) EV
1:47 R. Bina, T.J. Oshie
Goaltending
ND: Jean-Philippe Lamoureux, 61:47, 41 saves, 2 GA
UW: Shane Connelly, 61:47, 28 saves, 3 GA
Penalties: ND 5/10; UW 4/8
Power Plays: ND 0-3; UW 1-4
Attendance: 9,816

MADISON, Wis. – They say a two-goal lead is the worst lead a team can have in hockey. If anyone needed a reminder as to why that is, the first five minutes of the Midwest regional final’s third period gave it to them.

The hometown Wisconsin Badgers watched a two-goal lead evaporate in a span of 47 seconds early in the third period with goals from North Dakota captain Rylan Kaip and Ryan Duncan en route to a 3-2 overtime victory for the Fighting Sioux.

“I guess life is kind of ironic and paradoxical tonight.” Eaves said. "We’re at the lower end of the spectrum tonight and last night we were very excited. I think it stings a little bit more tonight because we were so close. We couldn’t get that next goal that would have given us a bit more of a spread that would have been harder to come back from.”

The letdown for Wisconsin was particularly disappointing for Eaves, whose team has prided itself on third period scoring all year long. Heading into this weekend’s regional, the Badgers had scored 29 goals in the final frame in comparison to 16 and 23 in the first and second periods, respectively, and had surrendered only 15 in the third period.

“It was not very characteristic of us,” Eaves said. “Usually, we score goals in the third period, and we didn’t do that tonight, or in overtime. That was a thing that was out of character for us, not being able to score goals in the third period as we have all year.”

Jean-Philippe Lamoureux showed great flexibility throughout the game, and in the postgame celebration.

Trailing by two goals in the second intermission and well aware of Wisconsin’s third-period prowess – the Fighting Sioux gave up three third-period markers in a 4-0 loss to the Badgers on Nov. 9 – North Dakota coach Dave Hakstol knew it was time to make some changes. By moving players around and taking advantage of special teams situations, Hakstol found the right mix to get his team back into the game.

“You know, we had gone through 40 minutes and hadn’t scored a goal,” Hakstol said. “The guy sitting next to me, to my right (Lamoureux) gave us an opportunity through two periods to do what we were able to do in the third. Sometimes we just need to make some changes to jump start some things. Everybody is trying, everybody wants to play well but sometimes things just aren’t working.”

Having taken advantage of the good chemistry that Hakstol had engineered with those two early goals in the final frame, the Fighting Sioux weren’t above taking advantage of a little puck luck in the extra frame, when senior Andrew Kozek notched his 18th and most important goal of the season on a shot through Badger netminder Shane Connelly’s legs.

“I kind of just saw the puck laying there between the hash marks and took a whack at it,” Kozek said. “Someone told me that it skipped off the ice, so I wasn’t really trying to put it anywhere. It just, fortunately, went in for us.”

SEEN AND HEARD AT THE KOHL CENTER

INCH's Three Stars of the Night

3. Andrew Kozek, North Dakota
Kozek found the net at the most important junction of the game – overtime and achieved something few players have done: four Frozen Fours in four years.

2. T.J. Oshie, North Dakota
Oshie continued to keep his name in the Hobey Baker hat with assists on North Dakota’s tying and game-winning goals Sunday.

1. Jean-Philippe Lamoureux, North Dakota
Lamoureux was once again spectacular, making the saves when his team needed them most: on the penalty kill and in the late stages of a tied game. After a fluke goal bounced off the end boards and then ricocheted off of his leg into the net, Lamoureux kept his

• A lot has been made of how North Dakota’s power play succeeded in such a critical role during Saturday’s victory over Princeton, but it was a penalty kill that helped stop the Fighting Sioux from falling behind very early on Sunday.
North Dakota forward Matt Watkins was whistled for obstruction-holding at the 9:28 mark of the opening frame and Wisconsin used its man advantage to build upon momentum they gained from the onset of the game and completely controlled the puck deep in North Dakota’s zone throughout the entire power play.

While Jean-Phillippe Lamoureux only made three saves on the kill, an important glove save on Michael Davies late in Watkins penalty gave his team an important breather and a chance to regroup.

“One thing for me is that shutting them down early would be huge,” Lamoureux said. “That takes the crowd out of it, this is one of the best crowds in college hockey. I just wanted to leave it all out on the ice tonight.”

In the second period, however, the penalty kill was North Dakota’s downfall, surrendering a goal on three Wisconsin power plays, and gave up another an instant after one of the penalties ended.

• For the second game in a row, the Fighting Sioux were significantly outshot by their opponent. During its semifinal game, Princeton took more than twice as many shots (39) as North Dakota (18). And Sunday’s game proved another shot count massacre, as Wisconsin ousthot the Fighting Sioux 43-31.

Despite the old Gretzky adage that “100-percent of the shots you don’t take don’t go in,” the shots on goal discrepancy doesn’t worry North Dakota coach Dave Hakstol.

“I don’t count the shots one way or the other,” Hakstol said after Saturday’s semifinal win. “We’ve had some games this year where we have outshot teams two-to-one and have lost, and we’ve had games like this. At this time of year, it’s about finding a way to advance.”

Hakstol’s laid back approach to shot count can likely be attributed to the success his team has had being on both sides of the coin. Heading into the weekend, the Sioux were 18-7-2 in games where they held the edge in shots on goal and 7-2-2 when being outshot.

• A defenseman scoring goals? Not particularly uncommon. Wisconsin alum Tom Gilbert has made a living of it during his rookie season with the Edmonton Oilers and might bring a tear to the eyes of Badger fans who remember his majestic wrist shot that won his alma mater the national title in 2005.

But knocking in goals from a goalie’s back side?

That’s a forward’s job, as Fighting Sioux forward Ryan Duncan did all of last year en route to a Hobey Baker award, and did again during Saturday’s win over Princeton.

But it was Wisconsin blueliner Jamie McBain who ruled that category this weekend, scoring two key goals on redirections just feet from the goal line. Cycling the defenseman low while on the power play was something that the Badgers worked on in practice, and it paid off with McBain’s Saturday goal coming on the power play and his Sunday marker just two seconds after a North Dakota penalty expired.

“It’s a play that we’ve drawn up and practiced,” McBain said. “Kyle (Turris) made a great look and a great pass, and they really had no chance, all I had to do was put it in the empty net.”

McBain’s goal looked curiously familiar to those who watched Saturday’s North Dakota-Princeton game, when Ryan Duncan slid a goal behind the Tigers’ netminder Zane Kalemba just three seconds after a power play had expired.

Goaltender Jean-Philippe Lamoureux shrugs away a breakaway bid by Michael Davies.

• It’s fair to say that North Dakota and Wisconsin are quite familiar with each other, having met twice during the regular season this year and 148 times throughout the programs’ histories.

But that familiarity between programs can either play into one team’s hands as an advantage or make it incredibly tough to find an inch as the team’s key on each others’ strengths and aim to exploit weaknesses.

After Friday’s game, knowing they were going to meet a familiar WCHA foe in the regional final, Hakstol and Lamoureux talked about the possibility that facing a team they’ve seen before could either go in their favor or against them.

But in Sunday’s game, it seemed to favor Lamoureux as he robbed old acquaintance Michael Davies on a breakaway in the middle stages of the second period. Having seen the Badgers before, Lamoureux was able to rely on his proven instincts.

“I feel comfortable poke checking,” Lamoureux said. “Being a smaller guy, I try to be aggressive when I can. (Davies) came into the slot and put his head down. With him being a right-handed shot, I was able to cut off his ice and force him to make a good shot. If he can put it upstairs from that position, you have to tip your hat to a guy. I have confidence in my decision making.”

• If there is one thing North Dakota coach Dave Hakstol knows, it’s how to win an NCAA Regional. Although they haven’t won a national title during his tenure, the Fighting Sioux have now reached the Frozen Four in each of his four years as a head coach.

This record puts Hakstol in rare company, as the only other coaches who have achieved such early success are legends Jack Parker at Boston University and Doug Woog at Minnesota. Hakstol’s fourth trip ties him with Woog for second on the list of consecutive Frozen Four appearances to start a career and leaves him one behind Parker, who took his first five teams to the Promised Land.

PLUSSES AND MINUSES

While the stands held a heavy majority of Wisconsin fans, a strong contingent of Fighting Sioux diehards made for some of the dueling cheers and banter which makes the college hockey environment what it is. During the third period, as Wisconsin fans grew weary of North Dakotans trying to drown out the home team’s “Let’s Go Red” cheer with “Sioux” replacing “Red”, the Badger faithful brought a chuckle to neutral fans with a rendition of the classic “Get Your Own Cheer” chant.

Although the review came several minutes after Davis Drewiskie’s shot clanged off of a goal post in the second period, it was refreshing to see that officials did take a complete look to verify that it had not crossed the goal line. While a reversal of a call saying it was a goal might have proved awkward much like a delayed review in Saturday’s Minnesota-Boston College game, better safe than sorry?

The Kohl Center announcer had to remind Wisconsin fans not to throw objects, like coins onto the ice surface. Honestly, it’s something hockey fans shouldn’t have to be told. Please stick to hats in the future, Badger fans.

WHAT'S NEXT

North Dakota heads to Denver and will skate against Boston College in the national semifinal.

The two teams have met on this elite stage before, and losses to the Eagles have left the Fighting Sioux with a sour taste in their mouth and revenge on their mind.

“These two programs know each other well,” Hakstol said. “We know how to find each other at this time of year.”

Look for North Dakota to focus on a successful power play and strong goalkeeping from Lamoureux as a key against the Eagles and the always-deadly Nathan Gerbe.