UND's Lamoureux twins as good as advertised
Coach Scott Sandelin brought the No. 2-ranked Minnesota-Duluth men's hockey team to Ralph Engelstad Arena for a series in November.
When the team went to drop off its gear, Sandelin noticed that only a few players were in the locker room. Most had filed out onto the bench to watch the UND women's hockey team skate.
The Lamoureux twins were practicing one-timers and the Bulldog players were wide-eyed.
"I had to go tell our guys that if they work as hard as those two do," Sandelin said, "that maybe some day they'll be able to hit one-timers like them, too."
Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux announced their transfers from Minnesota to UND almost two years ago and the Grand Forks twins arrived home amidst loads of hype and expectations.
As the Sioux prepare to host the University of Minnesota in the final series of the regular season (7:07 tonight and Saturday, Ralph Engelstad Arena), it's impossible to downplay their impact during their first season at UND.
The sophomores have already tallied more collegiate points in their careers than anyone to previously wear a Sioux jersey. Both of them broke the program's single-season goals record and shattered the single-season points record.
Together, they've tallied more goals than the entire St. Cloud State team and they're creeping up on Minnesota State-Mankato's team total as well.
Most important, their contributions have led UND to its best season ever. The Sioux have a program-record 102 goals, 17 wins, and no matter the results this weekend, they will finish in the top half of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association and host a playoff series for the first time.
UND's attendance numbers have more than doubled from last year, going from 483 per game to 1,154. It's the largest percent attendance jump in the country, men or women.
The school's officials believe a single-game attendance record can be set this weekend with rival Minnesota in town. In order to promote the series, UND launched an Operation 3,201 website, and they're giving away items such as a flat screen television, $500 gift cards, t-shirts, an autographed jersey and pizza.
The real draw this weekend, however, is the Lamoureux twins and an improving team that has a legitimate shot at beating their rivals at home for the first time ever.
Prior to the twins' arrival, UND was 0-28 all-time against the Gophers. Since, the Sioux are 2-0 with a sweep at Minneapolis' Ridder Arena. Only three other teams have pulled off that feat and all three went on to win the national championship.
"We know what it means to put on a Fighting Sioux jersey and play against the Gophers," said Jocelyne, who is 6-0 in the rivalry game. "It's the biggest rivalry. There's some added emphasis for Monique and I because we transferred from there. You obviously don't want to lose to the team you left.
"(Sweeping in Minneapolis) was pretty sweet. That has to be one of the top experiences in my college career and probably in my hockey career as well. To get a win in that building and to get a sweep, it's a pretty cool thing we were able to accomplish."
Minnesota is 16-2-2 since mid-November, led by sophomore Noora Raty, who Sioux coach Brian Idalski feels is the best goaltender in the world. Raty, who missed the rivalry series earlier this year to injury, has nine shutouts this season and 16 for her career.
The Gophers' leading goal scorer is Roseau, Minn., product Sarah Erickson, who has 16 tallies and 30 points.
"These games are huge for us nationally," Monique said.
UND currently is occupying the eighth spot in the Pairwise Rankings, which would likely earn the Sioux the last spot in the eight-team NCAA tournament field.
The Lamoureuxs believe that a large crowd against the Gophers could help give the Sioux an edge. In the season opener, 2,855 watched UND upset No. 4 Boston University 5-4.
"I think it would be a really great thing if we could get some attendance records," Jocelyne said. "I don't think it's out of the question to sell out the lower bowl or anything like that. I really hope Grand Forks and the community can embrace this opportunity for us."
The attendance record isn't the only one that the Lamoureux twins and the Sioux are aiming for at the end of the season.
"It's been a season of firsts for us," Jocelyne said. "But we won't be happy if we're not setting records and doing things in the postseason."
Reach Schlossman at (701) 780-1129; (800) 477-6572, ext. 129; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.