March 24, 2007 PRINT Bookmark and Share

Headed For a Rematch

Fighting Sioux Earn a Date with the Gophers to Make it to the Dance

by Theresa Spisak/CHN Reporter

DENVER — When your goaltender lets up five goals, odds are you aren't going to win a game this time of year.

When your opponent's netminder allows eight goals, however, you have a chance, as was the story in Saturday night's West Regional game between North Dakota and Michigan.

"Certainly the team that wins shouldn't give up more than one or two goals," said Wolverine coach Red Berenson. "This time of year, you're not going to win games giving up five and six goals, so it really was a weird game."

In the weird game that had seemingly more lead changes than a basketball game, the power play ended up being the difference-maker, with UND going five-for-eight while the Wolverines went one-for-five.

"We got pucks to the net and that's one of the things we talked about," said Sioux coach Dave Hakstol. "Michigan is extremely aggressive on their penalty kill, obviously T.J. Hensick had a breakaway on it in the second period, but they're extremely aggressive — up-ice as well as in-zone.

"So there's two things we wanted to try and do was number one, get traffic and pucks to the net [and] number two, when we did have a second or two with the puck, is try and hit some seams. Most of the goals that we scored tonight were due to just getting the puck to the net and just getting some traffic in front of the net.

"Tonight our power play was effective by just doing the simple things," he added.

In a game as wild and crazy as this one, however, the power play was not the only story.

"A couple of the real keys I thought for us was Phil Lamoureux getting off to kind of a poor start tonight, but really showing a great deal of mental toughness to battle back and I thought he provided the real turning point in our game, with the breakaway save on T.J. Hensick in the second period," said Hakstol.

T.J. Oshie, Fighting Sioux sophomore and St. Louis Blues draft pick, also had four points (3g, 1a) to help aid his team to victory, including getting his hat trick on a short-handed breakaway empty net goal with 2:11 to go in the third period, a goal that finally helped Hakstol breathe a bit easier for the first time all night.

"I relaxed a little bit when T.J. scored the empty net goal," he said. "The way the night was going, there was no way to relax until the final buzzer."

The relaxation won't last long, however, for Hakstol now has to prepare for a rematch of the WCHA Final Five title game against the Gophers.

"They're a heck of a hockey team," he said. "I guess from our standpoint, we had a goal to achieve tonight and that was to wake up tomorrow morning and prepare for another game regardless of who it is. It's going to be a heck of a match-up tomorrow night.

"You can take everything in the past and throw it out, including last Saturday, the regular season — you can throw that all away. We're playing right now for an opportunity to advance to the Frozen Four."

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