Trupp's Resurgence Fuels North Dakota
by Scott Stone/CHN Reporter
ST. PAUL, Minn. Standing just 5-foot-8, it’s hard to be noticed on the ice. Couple that with a 20-game goalless streak, and you are virtually invisible.
Through two games of the WCHA Final Five tournament, however, North Dakota’s Evan Trupp has stood tall and shown up in a big way.
The Alaska native scored two goals and assisted on the eventual game winner in a 4-3 win against No. 1 Denver in the semifinals of the WCHA Final Five Friday night. The win gives North Dakota the chance to become the second team in as many years to earn the Broadmoor Trophy by winning three games at the Final Five.
Trupp broke the longest goal drought of his college career Thursday by netting a goal against Minnesota-Duluth in a 2-0 win; he now has three goals in the tournament along with four points in those two games.
“It’s playoff time,” said Trupp of his sudden goal breakout. “I’m just really starting to bear down on my chances. They were both just good plays by my teammates and I think both plays we’re kind of tic-tac-toe but I guess I’m just kind of bearing down on my shot.”
Already up 1-0 after a Chris VandeVelde goal, the first good play that Trupp referred to was a beautiful feed by linemate Matt Frattin from the corner that the junior one-timed past Denver goaltender Marc Cheverie, giving the Fighting Sioux a 2-0 lead.
A Matt Donovan goal made it 2-1 with just 1:35 left in the second but Trupp stood tall once again just 48 seconds later on the power play. Trupp again one-timed a beautiful feed, this time from defenseman Jake Marto, past Cheverie’s glove giving North Dakota a big 3-1 lead going into the final frame.
Two goals are great, but sometimes an assist can be bigger; especially when it comes on the penalty kill.
Rounding out a great night, Trupp made the play of the day on a hustle play, beating Denver’s Patrick Wiercioch to the puck shorthanded then fed linemate Brad Malone who beat Cheverie with a wrister for the eventual game-winning goal.
“I got a little bit of an adrenaline rush there and felt I could beat him,” said Trupp. “I probably was going to get the puck and shoot but (Malone) yelled for the puck and I dished it to him and he made a great play.”
Playing with Trupp for the last three years, Malone has become accustomed to the dazzling plays that Trupp made today.
“I have been playing with this guy all year and he makes some of the most ridiculous plays I have ever seen in hockey,” said Malone of Trupp. “I just usually put my stick on the ice and yell as loud as I can. Sometimes he’s a little deaf, but he heard me this time.”
North Dakota head coach Dave Hakstol believed this was the play of the game, and was just a credit to how hard Trupp worked.
“We’ve seen it from him before,” said Hakstol. “We’ve seen his ability to see plays before they happen and strip people of pucks. Honestly I think that was the play of the game and his play all the way through was tremendous. He was our best player tonight and that’s a good thing for our team.”
It was the first win on the season for the Fighting Sioux over the Pioneers; Denver swept the season series from North Dakota 4-0. In those four games, the Fighting Sioux scored only four goals against the Hobey Baker finalist Cheverie. In this game, they scored the same amount.
“We just tried to get pucks on net and get some more traffic,” said Malone. “Tonight we just found a way to get a few past him.”
The win moves North Dakota into the WCHA Final Five championship game tomorrow night against St. Cloud.
“Our guys are looking forward to playing in a championship game and we’re fortunate to be there,” said Hakstol. “This group of guys has had some ups and downs but they always show up and work their butts off. They find a way to have fun together and that’s a pretty good combination.”