Friday Game React: UND vs. New Hampshire

After two periods, North Dakota senior goaltender Jean-Philippe Lamoureux had set the all-time school record for consecutive starts (41) and UND held a 1-0 lead over the New Hampshire Wildcats. At 5:49 of the third period, Jerry Pollastrone beat Lamoureux glove-side, spoiling the Sioux netminder’s bid for a fifth shutout.

The following minute was the key to the hockey game. 27 seconds after Pollastrone’s tally, Sioux freshman forward Evan Trupp knocked in a rebound of Matt Frattin’s breakaway attempt. Just 41 seconds after UND took the lead, Ryan Martens gave the Sioux a two-goal cushion, stealing all of the momentum away from the Wildcats.

Lamoureux finished with 29 saves on 30 shots, lowering his goals-against average to 1.68 (second in the nation). Remarkably, through the first sixteen games of the season, he has allowed two goals or fewer eleven times.

The key line for UND was Darcy Zajac centering Ryan Martens and Kyle Radke. Zajac scored the first Sioux goal, and Martens (1 goal, 1 assist) and Radke (2 assists) led North Dakota with two points each . The three had not played together since a March game at St. Cloud, when they notched three goals and two assists in a 7-2 Sioux victory.

There was energy up and down the North Dakota lineup. Kaip was effective on the top line with Oshie and Duncan, and I liked Bina and Chorney paired on defense.

The one area of concern was the UND power play. North Dakota went 0 for 6 with the man advantage and has not scored on its last 15 chances. A unit that was clicking at over 18% through the first two months is now hovering around 14% (10 of 70). New Hampshire had an effective penalty kill that generated momentum for the Wildcats.

UND (9-6-1) saw a nice bounce in the pairwise rankings after the win, and is now sitting in sixth. New Hampshire (9-5-1) is seventh. The two teams take the ice tonight for the second game of the series.

Thanks for reading. As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. Check back after Saturday’s game for more reaction and commentary. For more on the matchup between the teams, click here.

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