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COLLEGE HOCKEY: Gregoire, others still question marks

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The entire UND men's hockey team will make the trip to Green Bay, Wis., Thursday afternoon for the Midwest Regional.

Who will be in the lineup on Saturday afternoon when the Sioux take on RPI in the first round of the NCAA tournament?

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That's still to be decided.

UND coach Dave Hakstol said Wednesday afternoon that he didn't know yet whether standout Jason Gregoire would play against the Engineers, who received an at-large bid to the NCAAs.

Gregoire missed last weekend's Western Collegiate Hockey Association Final Five with an undisclosed injury. The Sioux beat Colorado College 4-3 and Denver 3-2 in his absence.

Prior to missing those games, Gregoire may have been UND's hottest player, tallying 27 points during a 14-game point streak, the longest of his career. Gregoire has 24 goals and 41 points in 32 games this season. He missed seven games due to injury earlier.

Last weekend, UND moved senior alternate captain Jake Marto from defense to forward to replace Gregoire on the left wing of the second line.

Hakstol said that Marto will be prepared to play either position this weekend.

"We're going to do what we've done to this point," Hakstol said. "We'll prepare each day, knowing that going into game day, you have to have some contingencies. Right now, it's too early to set things in stone."

Hakstol also said he didn't have any further comments on the statuses of forwards Derek Rodwell and Carter Rowney. Rodwell has missed the last three games. Rowney has been out for six games.

Whether they play or not, they will be in Green Bay.

"They've worked extremely hard since last April," Hakstol said. "Everybody is a part of that, whether they've been in the lineup and awful lot or haven't been in the lineup at all."

LaPoint heading back home

Senior defenseman Derrick LaPoint might be able to teach his teammates a thing or two about the Resch Center.

It is the place LaPoint starred for the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League during the 2005-06 season, his one and only in juniors.

LaPoint was the USHL's second-leading defenseman scorer, racking up 49 points in 53 games. He has been more of a defensive player at UND. LaPoint joked to associate coach Cary Eades earlier this week that the trip to Green Bay means it's time to throw him on the power play, where he can re-live his glory days in the Resch Center.

"I played in the Resch Center for a whole year," LaPoint said. "It's exciting to go back to where I played junior hockey. I'm looking forward to being back in that building. It's a great building and will hopefully be a fun atmosphere for our team. I think our fans will travel fairly well there."

Two other former Gamblers will be in the Midwest Regional. RPI's C.J. Lee was a Green Bay captain and Denver freshman David Makowski played there last year.

New opponent for Winnipeg game

UND is still planning to play a game in Winnipeg's MTS Centre next season, but Nebraska-Omaha will no longer be the opponent.

Omaha dropped out because of a scheduling conflict.

The Sioux will line up another opponent for the game that's tentatively scheduled for Jan. 7, 2012. It is unlikely that the new opponent will be a WCHA team.

The MTS Centre currently is the home of the Manitoba Moose in the American Hockey League. The Winnipeg game will provide exposure for the Sioux in Manitoba, which has served as a strong recruiting ground for the Sioux over the years.

CCHA commish bolts for Mich. State

Two days after the announcement that the Big Ten will form a hockey conference in 2013-14, Central Collegiate Hockey Association commissioner Tom Anastos left his position to take over as coach of Michigan State.

Anastos has been commissioner of the CCHA since 1998 and hasn't coached since 1991-92, when he was an assistant at Michigan State.

Anastos told Inside College Hockey that his change in jobs has nothing to do with the Big Ten.

The CCHA will be hit the hardest when Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State depart for the Big Ten. Eight teams will be left and none of them rank in the top 24 nationally in average attendance.

Reach Schlossman at (701) 780-1129; (800) 477-6572, ext. 129; or send e-mail to bschlossman@gfherald.com.

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Brad Elliott Schlossman
Schlossman is in his 11th year covering college hockey for the Herald. In 2014, he was named one of the top three beat writers in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He has voted in the national college hockey poll since 2007 and has served as a member of the Hobey Baker and Patty Kazmaier Award committees.
(701) 780-1129
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