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College hockey: UND-Yale notebook

WORCESTER, Mass -- When Yale's line chart was not posted an hour and a half before the game, it was time to wonder if the Bulldogs had a trick up their sleeve.

WORCESTER, Mass -- When Yale's line chart was not posted an hour and a half before the game, it was time to wonder if the Bulldogs had a trick up their sleeve.

They did, indeed.

Yale gave Ryan Rondeau a surprise start in goal during the Bulldogs' 3-2 win over the UND men's hockey team in the NCAA Northeast Regional.

Rondeau, a senior from Alta Loma, Calif., had only played four games this season and hadn't started since Nov. 21. But the 6-foot-2, 210-pounder was the first on the ice as his team started warmups and helped his team to advance to today's regional final against Boston College.

Rondeau, who entered the game with a 3.84 goals-against average and an .880 save percentage, stopped 34 of 36 shots in the game.

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UND coach Dave Hakstol said the Sioux weren't really caught off guard by Rondeau's start, because Yale had rotated goalies throughout the season. A total of four guys had played for the Bulldogs and the guy who has played the most -- freshman Nick Maricic -- wasn't among the three who were dressed.

"By the looks of what they've been doing, they've been looking for their guy in net," Hakstol said. "That's obviously a good call by Keith Allain. The young man played well."

Allain, Yale's coach, said the two weeks of practice prior to the regional determined that Rondeau would start.

"It's really no different than anything we've been doing all year," Allain said. "It's one of those things where I told the team after we got knocked out in our conference tournament that the goaltender who deserved to play after these two weeks of practice was going to play. It's open season and Ryan won the competition."

Rare penalty shot

There was a rare sight in DCU Center on Saturday -- a UND player taking a penalty shot.

Darcy Zajac drew the call with 4 minutes, 12 seconds left in the second period, when he beat a Yale defenseman, got separation and was hauled down as he tried a wrist shot from the slot. One of the referees, who usually works in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association, immediately signaled for the penalty shot.

It was UND's first penalty shot since December 2006, when T.J. Oshie missed an attempt against Dartmouth during a holiday tournament.

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Zajac tried to shoot to the blocker side, but hit the post.

"I came in and saw it open low blocker," Zajac said. "I shot it and hit the post. Obviously, it was a crucial point of the game. We needed that to go in. The next shift or a couple of shifts after that, they came back down and scored. That obviously would have been a huge momentum swing for us and I'm disappointed that I didn't put it away."

The last Sioux player to make a penalty shot was Drew Stafford. He scored against Maine goaltender Jim Howard in overtime to open the 2004-05 season.

Too tired?

UND played six games in nine days before heading to the NCAA tournament, while the Bulldogs had 13 days off.

Was that a factor? No, not according to Hakstol.

"I didn't think it was going to be a factor yesterday and I still don't think it was a factor," Hakstol said. "We've played at a very high level for the last six weeks. We've been involved in a lot of emotional games, a lot of tough, close battles and we continually responded. Quite honestly, tonight was a very bad time for us to be a little bit off of our game and there are no excuses for it. We just didn't get the job done and that has nothing to do with the past couple of weeks."

Marto plays

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through pain

By the end of the season, it's anybody's guess when it comes to who is playing with significant injuries.

But during the last couple of weeks, it became obvious that UND defenseman Jake Marto was never at 100 percent after missing the regular-season finale against Michigan Tech.

After the season had ended Saturday, both Marto and Hakstol acknowledged that the junior was battling severe shoulder pain during UND's stretch run.

"At this time of year, you look inside everybody's locker room and I'd doubt that you'd find 20 healthy bodies," Hakstol said. "Jake Marto has been a warrior the last four or five weeks of the season. You know the number of games we've played. . . and he has continually found a way to put himself in the lineup and play at a high level. That's simply mental toughness as much as physical toughness. He found a way to rise above things."

Hakstol said that Marto has barely practiced for the last month.

"That's something most people don't know," he said. "He's just a great natural athlete who was able to keep his mind very sharp and rise above some of the physical limitations he's had. You see some of that in what he's able to do with the puck and the situations he avoids.

"I thought that tonight, he laid it all on the line. He was good defensively, he skated the puck well and he had a couple of opportunities where he actually tried to one-time pucks, which is not easy for that young man right now."

Briefly

UND finished the season just shy of setting a record for the best penalty kill in school history. UND, which killed off all three Yale power plays, finished the season with an 87 percent success rate. The school record is 87.2, set in 2002-03. . . Danny Kristo's 13-game point streak came to an end. That streak was the longest of any Sioux player this season. . . UND outshot Yale for the game 37-23. It was the first time since January that an opponent has outshot the Bulldogs.

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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