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Key players could be out for UND and DU

The country's marquee series this weekend may be missing three of the country's marquee players. UND coach Dave Hakstol said Wednesday night that reigning Western Collegiate Hockey Association defensive player of the year Chay Genoway will not ma...

The country's marquee series this weekend may be missing three of the country's marquee players.

UND coach Dave Hakstol said Wednesday night that reigning Western Collegiate Hockey Association defensive player of the year Chay Genoway will not make the trip to Denver.

Genoway appeared to suffer an upper-body injury when he was checked from behind into the boards last Friday against St. Cloud State.

He was listed as "out indefinitely," by Hakstol after the game -- a status that has not changed.

"There's nothing different from Friday night, there's nothing more to go on," Hakstol said. "I don't mean to be difficult, but that's the simple fact. That's where we're at."

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Denver also is dealing with injuries to a pair of all-WCHA players.

The statuses of starting goalie Marc Cheverie and top defenseman Patrick Wiercioch are both in question heading into the series between the No. 2 and No. 3 teams in the country.

Cheverie, who is 4-0 with a 1.27 goals-against average and a .959 save percentage, suffered a deep cut to his leg in a series against Minnesota State-Mankato three weeks ago. His backup, freshman Adam Murray, has struggled in replacing the second-team all-WCHA goalie. Murray is 2-3-1 with a 4.36 GAA and .838 save percentage.

The school has listed Cheverie as doubtful, but coach George Gwozdecky says the goalie is pushing hard to play. Cheverie has been skating lightly and going through movements with his equipment on.

"Marc's made great progress," Gwozdecky said. "It's not up to me to say whether he's going to be ready to go on Friday. It's going to be up to the doctors. If I left it up to Marc, he'd be in the lineup on Friday.

"Patrick, I think he's in the same boat as Marc. It's a day to day thing with him."

Wiercioch suffered a knee injury in a series two weeks ago at Alaska-Anchorage. Denver had last weekend off, but Gwozdecky has said that Wiercioch wouldn't have been able to play if the Pioneers had games.

"We have juggled a lot of different line combinations on defense this year," Gwozdecky said. "We've played eight of our 10 'D.' I think that's positive, because you never know when you're going to have injuries.

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"We have a lot of confidence in the guys we do have who are healthy and we're looking forward to their contributions."

Gwozdecky also said he has confidence in his young goaltender, who may have to fill in for Cheverie again. Murray is a product of the U.S. National Team Development Program and was a member of the gold medal U.S. Under-18 team.

"I think Adam has really improved," Gwozdecky said. "He was really thrown into the fire. I think Adam was ready for it and I think he's done a nice job. The consistency of execution and performance is always a factor for freshmen, no more so than at that position."

The injury to Genoway has landed UND defenseman Corey Fienhage in the lineup. Fienhage was a healthy scratch at the start of the season, but the Sioux are expecting him to show continued progress. Fienhage is the team's highest-drafted defenseman (third round).

"The biggest thing, regardless of what our lineup looks like and who is available this weekend, the biggest thing is that we need to get him going," Hakstol said. "He needs to become part of the lineup on somewhat of a regular basis anyway. I'm not saying he's going to be part of the lineup each and every night, but he needs to play games to continue to progress.

"He has pretty exciting upside abilities. The first thing he needs to do is build a solid base of good, reliable defensive play. We're not looking for highlight reels out of the gate. We're looking for reliability and efficiency out of the gate."

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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