UND, Minn. battle with fist and puck

34 penalties littered the two O.T. battles ending in a Sioux win and a Saturday tie.

Brian Deutsch

Sixty-five minutes of action weren’t enough Saturday night in the Minnesota men’s hockey team’s 1-1 overtime tie with North Dakota.

up next

Denver
what: Men’s hockey
when: 8:37 p.m., Friday
where: Denver

After the Gophers’ tough 2-1 overtime loss to the Sioux on Friday, tension was flared by another close game on Saturday.

Thiry-four penalties were called in the tie, many of them coming after the game’s conclusion when two different scuffles resulted in a game disqualification for Gophers sophomore forward Tony Lucia and North Dakota sophomore forward Darcy Zajac.

“With the rivalry that we have and the history of the series, it’s going to be like that,” senior forward Ben Gordon, who recorded Minnesota’s goal on Saturday, said. “Tempers are going to flare up and guys are going to be having high emotions. That’s just the way it is.”

With Tony Lucia out for next Friday’s game at Denver, coach Don Lucia will have just one healthy scratch, and none if he chooses only to dress two goalies – a common roster move during road trips.

Late struggles

Overtime games have not been kind to the Gophers this season – in nine overtime contests, Minnesota is a winless 0-3-6.

“It is a bit of a broken record isn’t it?” Don Lucia said. “It is frustrating. We have lost three overtime games. These games just kill you.”

On the other hand, North Dakota (17-8-2 overall, 14-7-1 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) is an undefeated 1-0-1. The Sioux played their first two overtime games of the season this weekend.

And, despite scoring first in both of this weekend’s battles, the Gophers struggle on offense again tarnished the performance of a defense that held the third-ranked Sioux to just three goals.

“Our defense has been a positive,” Don Lucia said. “(Freshman goalie) Alex (Kangas) has been playing great since we let him run with it.”

Part of the reason Minnesota (12-12-6, 6-10-4) was able to shut down the Sioux was the ejection of junior forward and Hobey Baker Award winner Ryan Duncan just seven seconds into Saturday’s game for checking from behind.

With Duncan out of the line-up, Sioux coach Dave Hakstol had to improvise to replace the team’s leading scorer and assistant captain.

“Losing Duncan wouldn’t be part of the game plan if you drew it up that way,” Hakstol said. “It was the right call, and we just had to adjust from there.”

Minnesota also struggled on the power play – going 0-for-7 over the weekend and landing just two shots on goal Friday night in four power-play opportunities.

“I just hope that sooner or later, luck turns our way a little bit,” Don Lucia said. “We certainly haven’t had any all year.”

It’s no Trupp-le

Freshman forward Evan Trupp’s game-ending overtime goal Friday night is already garnering claim for the goal of the year.

It may be just that.

Junior forward Ryan Martens sent a spectacular back-handed pass around the net toward a streaking Trupp.

The freshman from Anchorage then took a sprawling swipe to hack the puck out of mid-air and past Kangas to end the game.

“We’re kind of starting to rely on him to produce highlight reel goals,” Hakstol said. “It seems like every goal he scores is of the highlight variety.”

The Sioux’s second-most productive freshman, Trupp leads the team with four game-winning goals this season.