North Dakota FF Preview
No April Fools
by Avash Kalra/Staff Writer
NORTH DAKOTA IN A NUTSHELL
Head Coach: Dave Hakstol (North Dakota '92)
Regular Season finish: 3rd; WCHA tournament runner-up
How they advanced: Won West Regional (8-5 over Michigan, 3-2 over Minnesota)
Frozen Four Appearances: 17
NCAA championships: 1959, 1963, 1980, 1982, 1987, 1997, 2000
Leading scorer: Ryan Duncan, So (31 goals, 26 assists)
Starting goaltender: Philippe Lamoureux, Jr (2.37 GAA, .913 SV%)
SPOTLIGHT ON: T.J. OSHIE
Hobey Hat Trick finalist Ryan Duncan may be getting most of the attention this season for the Fighting Sioux — and deservedly so. But linemate and fellow sophomore T.J. Oshie leads the team with 33 assists, and his playmaking ability has certainly been instrumental in helping North Dakota advance all the way to the Frozen Four.
What makes the right-winger such a key player for the Sioux?
Answered coach Dave Hakstol, "He has very good hockey sense. He has some pretty good puck skills. And to go with that, he doesn't shy away from the physical part of the game. He's just a guy who goes out and plays. He's a dynamic player."
And for a team that has thrust sophomores into the limelight and into responsibility typically expected from upperclassmen, Oshie has led the way with his enthusiastic and stellar play.
His hat trick last weekend in North Dakota's 8-5 victory over Michigan in their NCAA first round game helped bring the Sioux back from an early — an embarrassingly early — 2-0 deficit. He also has amassed eight points over his last four games.
"He's just a tremendous young man," said Hakstol. "He's an exciting player to watch. He plays with an unbridled enthusiasm. It wouldn't matter to T.J. whether he was playing in front of 18,000 people or in a backyard rink. He just loves to play the game."
Now, if Oshie can continue his strong play in the national spotlight, he may just give Fighting Sioux a fighting chance at coming out of this weekend in St. Louis with an NCAA championship.