March 25, 2006 PRINT Bookmark and Share

West Regional Notebook

by Bryan Engelson/CHN Correspondent

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — A NCAA West/Midwest Regional single-game record 11,153 fans came out to see hometown North Dakota defeat Michigan 5-1 in the second game of the West Regional on Friday.

The crowd at Ralph Engelstad Arena, already buzzing from the earlier upset by Holy Cross over Minnesota, was rocking throughout the game, especially after UND opened up a three-goal lead at 4:08 of the second period. Sioux forward Jonathan Toews, who had a goal and an assist in the win, said the crowd gave his team a lift.

(photo: Gregg Huber)

(photo: Gregg Huber)

"It definitely pumps up the adrenaline a little and gets us going," Toews said. "It was a great help for us."

That same crowd was on its feet and cheering nearly as loud for Holy Cross in the Crusaders' win over Minnesota, UND's biggest rival. Holy Cross, whose home attendance averages less than 2,000 people, was appreciative of the support by Sioux fans, but expects to be on the other end of the spectrum in Saturday's championship game.

"Any time you get support from a crowd it gets you going," Holy Cross' Tyler McGregor said.

A half a continent away, in Holy Cross' hometown of Worcester, Mass., the crowd at the Northeast Regional exploded upon hearing word of the final score.

Parise, Pa-mazing

Sioux goaltender Jordan Parise continued his late-season hot streak. The junior made 34 saves as he won his fifth consecutive game in net.

"The team in general is making it a lot easier in front of me," Parise said. "They are clearing lanes and making my job a lot easier. But yeah, the puck is pretty big right now."

Parise, who was named the Most Valuable Player at the WCHA Final Five last weekend, is coming up big late in the season for the consecutive year. After struggling early on last season UND rode Parise all the way to the national championship game, and are trying to make a similar run this year.

"(Parise) has been very good throughout his career at North Dakota," Sioux coach Dave Hakstol said. "The area where he has really moved forward is as a team leader, in the locker room and that carries out onto the ice."

Michigan coach Red Berenson said he didn't think it seemed like a 5-1 game, and Parise played a big part in that. The Wolverines had scoring chances to match UND, and outshot the Sioux 35-33, but Parise was there to deny them time after time.

"We thought we had some idea on how to beat him," Berenson said. "Obviously he showed up and made some big saves."

Back with a vengeance

Drew Stafford returned to the UND lineup Friday night after missing four games with a leg injury suffered during the first-round WCHA playoff series against Minnesota State. And he made his presence felt.

Stafford gave the Sioux a 3-0 lead with a shorthanded goal early in the second period. Michigan captain Andrew Ebbett said that was the goal was really costly to the Wolverines.

The shorthanded goal was Stafford's nation-leading seventh of the year when the Sioux are on the penalty kill. He said the secret to scoring all the goals with a man disadvantage is simple — linemate on the penalty kill Travis Zajac.

"That's about it," Stafford said of Zajac. "Me and him out there together we can catch the other team off guard sometimes we can make plays."

Final Curtain

Friday night's loss was the final game in maize and gold for Michigan seniors Ebbett, Brandon Kaleniecki and Noah Ruden. Wolverine sophomore Chad Kolarik couldn't say enough about what the senior trio brought to this year's Michigan team — both on and off the ice.

"They are guys you are going to want in your wedding," Kolarik said. "Guys you will keep in touch with the rest of your life. Just great guys."

Ebbett was sad to hang up his skates for the last time as a Wolverine, but thinks he is leaving the program in great shape.

"When you are playing for Michigan and playing for coach Berenson you are going to be right back there next year. You are a perennial contender," Ebbett said.

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