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Men's hockey: Zajac in, Hextall out

The injury shuffle continues for the UND men's hockey team. One key player will be coming back for the Sioux this weekend, but another one will be going out for a lengthy period of time. Alternate captain Darcy Zajac, who had hernia surgery three...

The injury shuffle continues for the UND men's hockey team.

One key player will be coming back for the Sioux this weekend, but another one will be going out for a lengthy period of time.

Alternate captain Darcy Zajac, who had hernia surgery three weeks ago, has healed and is expected to play this weekend against Minnesota State-Mankato. Zajac began skating lightly last week and is practicing with the rest of his teammates this week.

"By all indications, he'll be ready to play," UND coach Dave Hakstol said. "He has the mindset that he's 100 percent and ready to go. His work on the ice tells us nothing different."

Brett Hextall, who moved into a tie for the team lead in goals last weekend, will be out for four-to-six weeks with an apparent lower-body injury. Hextall sustained the injury during Sunday's 3-3 tie with Notre Dame.

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The injury comes just as Hextall started to heat up. He was named to the all-tournament team last weekend at Notre Dame's Shillelagh Tournament in suburban Chicago for scoring in both of UND's games.

Hextall has scored in the last three games and has nine points in the last eight contests.

"That's kind of typical of the last couple of months," Hakstol said. "We get some guys back, then lose a guy. The good thing is that we had Matt (Frattin) back for both games last weekend, Zajac is coming back into the lineup and Danny (Kristo) is coming back into the lineup. So, when you look at the positives of those three things, we're beginning to have some difficult lineup decisions."

Hakstol said that he was pleased with the play of the team's fourth line of Mario Lamoureux, Brett Bruneteau and Carter Rowney in Chicago. Hakstol said those three will stay in the lineup for Friday's game.

If they remain on the same line, that would mean that Zajac and Lamoureux will play on different lines for the first time this season.

"We're going to manage injuries and performances," Hakstol said. "We'll come up with the best combinations we feel that we possibly can."

Note: There is still no new update on captain Chay Genoway, who has missed the last 11 games with post-concussion syndrome. Genoway is out indefinitely.

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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