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UND AT SOCHI: Lamoureux twins prepare for another shot at Olympic gold

Jocelyne (left) and Monique Lamoureux of Grand Forks will represent the the United States for the second time when the 2014 Olympics open today in Sochi, Russia.JOHN STENNES/GRAND FORKS HERALD

Jocelyne and her twin sister, Monique, were just about to receive their silver medals.

But this was not a happy picture.

“I think some people had given them a hard time about not smiling or being happy about a silver,” UND coach Brian Idalski said. “But if you understand how competitive they are, you know that they didn’t look at it as if they won silver. They looked at it like they lost gold.”

So, after returning to Grand Forks, the Lamoureuxs placed the photo in a spot where they would see it every day.

“I put that picture there just to remind me of how much I hate to lose, and how I don’t want to feel like that again,” Jocelyne said.

With the 2-0 loss to Canada in the finals of the 2010 Games in the back of their minds, the Lamoureux twins spent the last three seasons transforming UND from a bottom-of-the-pack Western Collegiate Hockey Association team to a perennial national contender, all while preparing for another shot at Olympic gold.

Now, the wait is over.

The 2014 Sochi Games begin at 2 a.m. Saturday as the Lamoureux twins and Team USA take on Finland in a preliminary-round game. The Americans also will take on Switzerland (4 a.m. Monday) and Canada (6:30 a.m. Wednesday) before advancing to sudden-death tournament play.

“It’s exciting,” Jocelyne said. “We’re ready for the challenge. The team is ready. We feel like we’ve done everything to prepare for the next (two) weeks. We’re feeling good about how this team has come together.”

Prepping for Sochi

Since losing in the 2010 finals, the Lamoureux twins have been at the forefront of every World Championship for the Americans.

In 2011, Monique was named the most valuable forward of the tournament. The U.S. won gold.

In 2012, Monique led the tournament in scoring, racking up one of the highest point totals in the event’s history with 14 in just five games. Jocelyne was right on her heels with nine points. The U.S. got silver.

Last year in Ottawa, Monique finished second on Team USA in goals. Jocelyne was second on the team in assists. The Americans, again, won gold.

“The Olympics were always in the back of their minds, preparing for the next cycle,” Idalski said. “They didn’t just want to be there, they wanted to take on more of a leadership role and be more go-to players in that environment. In the last few worlds, they were really huge components for Team USA and really play well. A lot of that goes to their work ethic.”

The road hasn’t all been smooth sailing.

Team USA coach Katey Stone scratched Monique for a game at the Four Nations festival in November, and the Lamoureux twins both admitted that they felt like every day from August to December was a tryout.

But after they starred in USA’s exhibition game victory over Canada in their home rink, Ralph Engelstad Arena, on Dec. 20, the Americans made their final cuts and the Lamoureuxs celebrated Christmas knowing they were on the team.

It’s here

The Lamoureuxs left Boston (where the team has trained since the fall) on Saturday, stopping in Germany for a day. There, they went through processing and received all their Team USA clothing — so much that they hardly packed anything on the trip.

They have practiced for a couple days in Sochi, but they’re ready to get started.

“We’re getting cabin fever,” Jocelyne said.

Because of all their unique storylines — being twins, having standout hockey-playing brothers, playing a physical-style game, having a brother who just served in the Middle East — the Lamoureuxs already have created a media buzz in Sochi.

There’s a two-page photo spread and story of them in Time Magazine. They have a photo and story in Sports Illustrated. They were interviewed on the Today Show.

The Lamoureux twins hope that it’s just the beginning, because if the attention is to continue, it probably means that Team USA is having success.

“You have to take it one game at a time,” Jocelyne said. “It’s no secret that the goal is to win a gold medal. It has been a long four years waiting to come around again. I remember losing in Vancouver like it was yesterday.”

They had the picture to remind them.

Brad Elliott Schlossman

Schlossman is in his 12th year covering college hockey for the Herald. In 2016, he was named the top beat writer 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.

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