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College hockey notebook: Family connections golden for UND

HOUGHTON, Mich. -- Two weeks ago, an Alaska-Anchorage player told Chay Genoway to stop living in his brother's footsteps. That's probably been a common jab at UND men's hockey players over the years. Family connections have been a staple with the...

HOUGHTON, Mich. -- Two weeks ago, an Alaska-Anchorage player told Chay Genoway to stop living in his brother's footsteps.

That's probably been a common jab at UND men's hockey players over the years.

Family connections have been a staple with the program. The names are endless. There are the Marvins, Christians, Panzers, Johnsons, Wilsons, Hoogsteens, Lundbohms, Parises and Ulmers to name a few.

A scan at the top scorers on the Sioux team this season shows that family members are again playing a big role for UND. Four of the top six scorers are players who arrived on campus after a standout career by an older brother.

Genoway's older brother, Colby, led the 2005 national runner-up Sioux team in scoring. Mario Lamoureux came to UND a year after his older brother, Jean-Philippe, was a Hobey Baker Award finalist. Darcy Zajac and David Toews have brothers who are currently first-line centers in the NHL.

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"All four of them are having a heck of a pro career right now," said Chay, UND's captain and the reigning Western Collegiate Hockey Association defensive player of the year. "I think all four of us were around the program quite a bit before we came into it. But I think we all wanted to be our own guy and do things our own way. We're all different. But it's pretty neat to have their names out there."

Genoway has been one of the WCHA's best early this season. He has seven points in six games from the blue line. He's already surpassed Colby's career point total and could become the first Sioux defenseman to reach 100 points in more than a decade. He's 13 short entering this weekend's series against Michigan Tech.

Toews is averaging a point per game so far this season, while Lamoureux and Zajac had teamed up on one of UND's best two-way lines.

"As far as having an understanding of the way we do things, the mentality and what's expected of them, there's no question that those guys have a head start," UND coach Dave Hakstol said of the younger brothers of family members. "Families always have been a part of our program. They are a big and important part."

Hakstol also said it's easy to recruit those players and have confidence in them, knowing their backgrounds.

"If you know a player's family, parents and experiences through one of the brothers, you're going to know and understand that player and the character he may or may not bring to the table. Beyond skill level, that's the next important characteristic, maybe equally as important, in the way we recruit young men to come to North Dakota."

Comeback kid

Michigan Tech senior Malcolm Gwilliam had a stroke during a road trip to Minnesota last season.

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He was rushed to the hospital after the left side of his body went numb during a pregame skate. Hospital staff repaired his heart through surgery and gave him medication through an IV. Gwilliam spent a couple of days in the hospital and the prevailing thought was that his playing career was over.

"We weren't worried about Malcolm's eligibility -- we were just worried about his health," Michigan Tech coach Jamie Russell said.

Within two months, however, Gwilliam was OK'd to exercise. He applied for a rare sixth year of eligibility (he had a medical redshirt after his sophomore year as well) and the NCAA granted it.

Gwilliam was unanimously voted as captain and has turned in a fast start. He scored just 19 seconds into his first shift in the exhibition game -- his first action since the stroke.

Gwilliam has proceeded to score five goals and add three assists for eight points in six games. His line, along with sophomores Brett Olson and Alex MacLeod has 11 goals on the season. Tech only has two goals from its second line, one from its third line and none from the fourth line.

"They are playing very well for us," Russell said. "They are strong at both ends of the ice. They are seeing a lot of ice time offensively and putting up good numbers. Brett probably led our team in ice time as a freshman last year. He can play penalty kill and against top lines. He's picked up right where he left off.

"Malcolm is a finisher. He shoots the puck very well. He's a physical, big-bodied, strong kid who is very good on the cycle."

Russell said he needs to get more out of his other lines in order to be successful, though. Drew Dobson and Jordan Baker, expected to be two of the team's top offensive threats, have combined for just one point so far.

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Injury report

If the Sioux had to play last weekend, Hakstol figures that three players would have been out with injuries. But it appears the bye week has allowed UND to regain some of its health. Hakstol said everyone should be available for the weekend series.

Other WCHA teams can't say the same.

Minnesota announced Thursday that forward Jay Barriball will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury suffered Tuesday in practice. Barriball, who is the WCHA's third-leading career scorer with 102 points, will be able to apply for a medical hardship and return as a senior next year.

The Gophers also will be without defenseman Nick Leddy for six to eight weeks. The Minnesota Wild first-round pick injured his jaw against Alaska-Anchorage last weekend.

Denver will be missing its top goalie, Marc Cheverie, for two to five weeks. Cheverie's numbers (1.27 goals-against average, .959 save percentage) are outstanding, but UND may not see him this month. The Sioux visit Denver in two weeks.

Colorado College's Andreas Vlassopoulos (knee) is out for the year.

Briefly

Michigan Tech will start freshman Kevin Genoe (2.22 goals-against average, .924 save percentage) in goal tonight. . . During the summer, Michigan Tech added 10 suites and two corner skyboxes on the west end of its rink. "I couldn't be happier with the results. Everything has turned out first-class," Russell said. . . Tech will induct seven people into the school's Hall of Fame on Saturday. Two have hockey connections: Herb Boxer played for the Huskies and Dave Fischer was the longtime sports information director. Fischer is now with USA Hockey.

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

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at bschlossman@gfherald.com.
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