Men's hockey: Sioux take aim at rookies

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- UND will try to pick on a new guy this evening. When the puck drops on the 2010-11 season at 11:07 tonight, the Sioux will be looking across at a goaltender who has never played a minute of college hockey. It may be Rob Gunde...

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- UND will try to pick on a new guy this evening.

When the puck drops on the 2010-11 season at 11:07 tonight, the Sioux will be looking across at a goaltender who has never played a minute of college hockey.

It may be Rob Gunderson. It may be Chris Kamal. Either way, it will be a freshman making his college hockey debut for Alaska-Anchorage at the Kendall Hockey Classic.

"We are young and it's going to take a while to sort things out," said Anchorage coach Dave Shyiak, whose team was picked to finish 11th in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. "Obviously, we don't have any game starts at the goaltender position. The bullets are in the gun with North Dakota coming in. We're excited about the tournament. We'll see what our team is about."

The Seawolves hope one of the young guys will be able to solve the team's goaltending woes. Anchorage's team save percentage the last four years -- .861, .881, .879 and .887 -- has been among the worst in college hockey.


The guys responsible for those numbers, Jon Olthuis and Bryce Christianson, have both departed. Olthuis graduated and Christianson signed an East Coast Hockey League contract in the offseason.

The Seawolves recruited Gunderson, a former Alberta Junior Hockey League all-star, in 2009. They added Kamal, a native of Alpharetta, Ga., (the hometown of former Sioux Brad Miller) in April. Kamal played junior hockey in Alexandria, Minn.

"They are a little different in size," Shyiak said. "Rob is a bigger goaltender. He takes up more net. Chris is smaller and relies on his quickness and reflexes a little more. We're not just one dimensional. They bring great work ethic. They are both good, team guys. Right now, they are competing against one another.

"It's an even race, tough to decide who is going to start. Until they get more games under their belts, we might go with a rotation to see who emerges."

Sioux excited for trip

Teams that travel to Alaska during the regular season get to play two extra games. It's an exemption created by the NCAA in order to encourage teams to make trips to the Last Frontier.

UND doesn't travel to Anchorage for a conference game this season, but this trip will allow it to get an exception. That means two more home games and more money for the athletic department.

But coach Dave Hakstol says that's not the only reason the Sioux scheduled this trip.


"It should be a great trip for us to team build and bond a little bit," he said. "I know that's a little bit cliché, but guys are chomping at the bit to get on the road and get out of the routine we've been in.

"It's a great opportunity to play two extra games. They count and we're going to do everything we can to win those games, improve and get better."

Captain Chay Genoway added: "I think it will be fun to get on the road. We'll face a little bit of adversity, I'm sure. But it's time to come together and come together fast."

Answering questions

Although UND has most of its lineup back from last season, there are still a lot of questions to be answered.

One of the big mysteries is how the Sioux will work all of their talented defensemen into the lineup. Hakstol said the coaching staff has discussed the possibility of dressing seven defensemen instead of the usual six, but that's unlikely for tonight.

"Nothing's off the table," he said. "We've discussed a lot of different things. We want to make sure young guys are developing and getting acclimated to this level. I'm not thinking we're going to (play seven defensemen) on Friday, but there are a lot of different possibilities. We want to get our best players in the lineup. We want everyone to compete to get in the lineup. So it's a possibility (in the future)."



UND will bring all 26 players on the roster to Anchorage. . . Tonight's game is a nonconference game. UND also has a nonconference game against Minnesota-Duluth this season. . . The fourth team at the showcase is Air Force, meaning a pair of Lamoureuxs will be in Anchorage. Air Force senior Jacques Lamoureux is the brother of UND junior Mario Lamoureux.

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

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
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