Maybe you remember Ben Cherski, Bill Reichart, and Jim Cahoon. Or you started watching Sioux hockey when Mark Taylor, Doug Smail, Phil Sykes, and Troy Murray were on the ice. Who can forget Bob Joyce, Steve Johnson, and Tony Hrkac? Perhaps your hockey heroes are Greg Johnson, Dixon Ward, and Lee Davidson? Jason Blake? Ryan Bayda? Brandon Bochenski? Zach Parise?
All of these hockey greats have one thing in common: they belong to UND’s most exclusive club. Not only are they members of the Fighting Sioux Century Club (100 career points), but they all scored more than one point per game during their time at UND.
And it’s time to make room for one more: T.J. Oshie.
T.J. Oshie became the 47th player to join the Century Club while averaging more than one point per contest (and the 76th Century Club member overall) by notching his third career hat trick in leading North Dakota past Michigan Tech, 6-0. Oshie now boasts career totals of 45 goals and 56 assists in his first 92 games.
And Ryan Duncan isn’t far behind. Duncan notched three assists on the night, and his 48 goals and 50 assists in 94 games leave him 2 points shy of joining Oshie in that exclusive company.
And this after the two junior forwards had notched just three points combined during their first four games of the season.
Oh, and by the way, in his first five games, senior goaltender Jean-Philippe Lamoureux has posted four shutouts to go along with a .983 save percentage and a goals-against average of 0.43. Lamoureux had four career shutouts in his first three seasons at UND.
The biggest difference in this game, to me, was the way this game was officiated. And, yes, it was officiated differently than Friday night’s contest. Interference, hooking, and holding were called as they should be called. And it worked both ways. But that allowed the skill players from both teams to create offense or draw penalties in the process.
UND went 3 for 8 on the power play tonight, while MTU went 0 for 7.
Chris VandeVelde (1 goal, 1 assist), Taylor Chorney (2 assists), and Robbie Bina (2 assists) also had multiple point nights for the Fighting Sioux.
VandeVelde with Oshie and Duncan seems to be working. When Oshie plays along the wall, and has fewer defensive responsibilities, it frees him up to create more up the ice. Look for this line to continue playing together.
Andrew Kozek notched his fourth goal of the season, and is showing signs of breaking out this year.
In his first game in a long time, Michael Forney showed poise and made a good first step toward cracking this lineup.
My three stars tonight would be Oshie, Duncan, and Lamoureux, but it would be a nice night to have 6 or 7 stars to give, as UND played well up and down the lineup.
UND moves to 3-1-1 (1-1-0 WCHA) on the season. Michigan Tech falls to 4-2-0 (3-1-0 WCHA). UND hosts Colorado College next weekend in WCHA action.
Thank you for reading. I welcome your comments, questions, and suggestions.