March 21, 2008 PRINT Bookmark and Share

Lip Service: North Dakota's Luck Runs Dry

Sioux Still in Good NCAA Position Despite Loss to Denver at WCHA Semis

by Dane DeKrey/Staff Writer

North Dakota defenseman Taylor Chorney's father, Marc Chorney, also a UND defenseman in the late 1970s, left his son some rather big skates to fill.

Taylor always knew that.

Among the elder Chorney's list of accomplishments: getting drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1979, winning the NCAA national championship in 1980 while at UND and playing five years of professional hockey with both the Penguins and the Los Angeles Kings.

Who knew that the one everybody's talking about these days would be his mustache?

"He [Marc] was giving me crap last week about how he still has the best mustache in UND history," said Chorney, who along with his teammates grew mustaches for playoff season, both as a nod to past UND team's such as his father's and also as a playful spin on the tradition in hockey of growing beards during postseason play. "You know, I've seen those pictures [of father Marc's Snidely Whiplash-like lip warmer] too, and he's a pretty good looking guy."

But in the locker room minutes after UND's 3-1 loss to Denver in the first semifinal game of the Red Baron WCHA Final Five tournament, any chance of Chorney surpassing his father in the "mustache bushiness" category was in serious jeopardy.

"Now that we lost with them [mustaches], I don't know what the plan is if we're going to keep them or not," Chorney said. "I was just talking to Chay Genoway [Chorney's teammate] about it, and you know, mustaches or any facial hair doesn't have anything to do with winning games, but it's definitely something to think about. We'll probably decide what to do as a team tonight."

One person whose opinion won't likely matter much is that of UND forward and recently named Hobey Baker finalist, T.J. Oshie, who, for whatever reason, is incapable of growing facial hair.

When asked about it, despite his disappointment with the team's loss, Oshie poked fun at his affliction.

"I've gotten a lot of questions about that," said Oshie, in reference to his mustache — or lack thereof. "You know, it's coming in; it's just bad lighting in here. If you look close, there are a couple hairs there."

Thus while the collective fate of UND's facial hair remains uncertain, one thing is for sure: with two losses in the last three games, young Chorney understands that his team's performance — not its grooming — will be the determining factor in whether or not this year will be the year he gets to check off winning a national title from the Taylor-versus-Marc list.

North Dakota made a great second-half run, with an 18-game unbeaten streak, and gunned for a No. 1 seed in the NCAAs. That can still happen with some help, but either way, there's still plenty of opportunity for another Frozen Four bid.

"From here on out is huge," Chorney said. "Even tomorrow, we know we're not playing for the Broadmoor Trophy anymore, but at the same time we're playing for Pairwise rankings and we're playing to put ourselves in the best possible position heading into the national tournament, so we're going to do anything we can tomorrow to win that game and put ourselves in good position."

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