UND HOCKEY: Growin' 'em big in Anchorage
Alaska-Anchorage coach Dave Shyiak says it's not totally by design. But without question, since he took over as coach in 2005, the Seawolves have become one of the biggest teams in college hockey. Their average size this season is 6-foot-1, 191 p...
Alaska-Anchorage coach Dave Shyiak says it's not totally by design.
But without question, since he took over as coach in 2005, the Seawolves have become one of the biggest teams in college hockey.
Their average size this season is 6-foot-1, 191 pounds. Of the 27 players on the roster, 20 of them are at least 6-1. Nobody else in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association has more than 14 players of that size.
The freshman class includes 6-4 defenseman Lee Baldwin, 6-4 forward Mitch Bruijsten, 6-3 forward Daniel Naslund and 6-2 forward Chris Crowell.
"We're recruiting guys who will fit into what we're building here," Shyiak said. "We want guys who are skilled and who can skate. If they have good size, that's always a bonus."
UND coach Dave Hakstol has watched Shyiak build a roster that's increasing in size and skill level.
"They are bigger and stronger than they were even last year," Hakstol said, "and they were probably the biggest team in the league last year. They have a lot of size up front. They're going to be a difficult team to play against with their mix of size and experience they have in their lineup."
Anchorage's game plan hasn't changed much over the last couple of seasons. The Seawolves like to use their size as an advantage by hitting, finishing checks, cycling the puck and wearing the opponent down.
The results were evident on the score sheet last season. The Seawolves were minus-14 in the first period and plus-one in the third, if you don't count empty-net goals.
UND has hit the four-goal mark only once in the last six times the teams have played.
"They've always had a great team and they play hard," UND defenseman Chay Genoway said. "We like the style of game they play. That's our style of game, too. We like to play in the corners, too, so it's going to be a big, physical battle all weekend. We're looking forward to it."
Mario Lamoureux started last season as a healthy scratch, trying to work his way into the lineup. He's now a guy that the Sioux can't afford to keep out.
Lamoureux's consistency and tenacity have earned high praise from the UND coaching staff as the sophomore is playing a key role on a line with senior Darcy Zajac and freshman Carter Rowney.
"Last year, even when Mario was in and out and things were up and down for him," Hakstol said, "we saw great consistency in his performance. He kept giving us a reason to put him in. He has simply taken advantage of an opportunity that he's created for himself. He's a hard-nosed player who shows up every single day.
"He's a leader, and I thought (last) weekend, he was a big difference-maker for us."
Lamoureux scored a goal during last Friday's 4-0 win over Minnesota and his line combined for 11 shots on goal -- more than any other line in the game -- even though none of them are on a power-play unit.
They also provided a physical presence and were key penalty killers in making the Gophers 0-for-9 with the extra man on the weekend.
"Consistently, we have to play a physical role and be a physical presence for our team," Zajac said. "So far, we've done a good job, but we can always do a better job."
Trupp feeling at home
It was like the old days for UND junior forward Evan Trupp on Thursday.
The Anchorage native celebrated his 22nd birthday in his hometown and he even got to practice in the arena where he made a name for himself as a prep star.
The Seawolves' home of Sullivan Arena was unavailable for practice, because Dane Cook was performing a comedy act there in the evening. So, UND went across the street to Ben Boeke Arena, where Trupp practiced and played home games as a high school freshman, sophomore and junior.
Trupp led Service High School to state championships in 2003 and 2004. South High School opened the next year and Trupp led it to the 2005 title. Trupp then moved on to the British Columbia Hockey League as a high school senior.
This is Trupp's second return trip to Anchorage as a member of the Sioux.
UND is 26-4-3 against the Seawolves in Grand Forks, but just 14-13 in Anchorage. . . UND traveled to Alaska on Wednesday morning -- one day earlier than a normal road trip -- in order to get used to the time difference. Alaska is three hours behind Grand Forks. . . Seawolves defenseman Curtis Leinweber is the cousin of former Sioux defenseman Chris Leinweber. . . Anchorage senior defensemen Nils Backstrom and Trevor Hunt are both out with injuries. They haven't played yet this season. . . Shyiak on the Sioux: "They are a very good team, well coached, and they don't change much as far as their style of play. They are very strong defensively, relentless on the puck and they have a very special player in Chay Genoway." . . . The door hasn't been closed on a WCHA television network, but the topic has cooled in the last couple of years. . . Minnesota forward Jay Barriball is one point away from becoming the first Gopher to reach 100 for his career since former Grand Forks Red River forward Danny Irmen in 2006.
Reach Schlossman at (701) 780-1129; (800) 477-6572, ext. 129; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org .