by Tim Rosenthal/Staff Writer
Head Coach: Dave Hakstol
2006-2007 record: 24-14-5 (13-10-5 WCHA) Third consecutive Frozen Four appearance
Key Returnees: Robbie Bina D SR., Kyle Radke D SR., Philippe Lamoureux G SR., Ryan Duncan F JR., T. J. Oshie F JR., Matt Watkins F JR., Taylor Chorney D JR. Joe Finley D JR., Chay Genoway D SO.
Key Losses: Jonathan Toews (early departure), Brian Lee (early departure), Chris Porter, Erik Fabian
When the 2006-07 season began, there were many question marks surrounding the Fighting Sioux — about the scoring and some whether Philippe Lamoureux could be an every day goaltender. Those questions were answered early with the offense, but it was the second half where Lamoureux proved himself, and the Sioux made another late charge to the Frozen Four — the third in three years under Hakstol.
"It was extremely competitive and very exciting," the ever-understated Hakstol said.
The team made the Frozen Four again by defeating Minnesota in one of the greatest NCAA regional games that was ever played. Although it lost to Boston College in the semis, Sioux fans can still be happy about the team's performance.
The season ended when Ryan Duncan won the Hobey Baker award. Duncan was part of the second-half surge that helped the Fighting Sioux throughout that part of the year.
"There were a lot of factors for our good second half," Hakstol said. "The development of the underclassmen improved, the transition went well and we found an identity that helped us late in the year."
As for the 2007-08 season, the Fighting Sioux look to be loaded on all cylinders, even despite losing underclassmen Jonathan Toews and Brian Lee. Although the Sioux only have four seniors on the roster, there is plenty of leadership on the team with eight juniors.
As far as the recruiting class goes, Hakstol said, "It is a very solid class with a good core of guys."
Overall, there are six members of the class of 2011.
"There are high expectations about this freshman class," said Hakstol. "They have all contributed on their teams in the past."
"This is no different than any other year," Hakstol said about the team's expectations. "Our No. 1 goal is to be there in March and April. We have a good core coming back, and we want to come with a good start right out of the gates."
Even though the Sioux lost two players to the NHL, this team is still loaded. Expect this team to look towards a fourth consecutive Frozen Four appearance.
But expectations are sky high in Grand Forks, and anything less than a national title may be considered a disappointment.