Trupp key to Sioux’s successOn game days, UND coach Dave Hakstol is as focused and intense as they come. But even he had a chuckle on the bench during the heat-of-the-battle of Saturday’s Western Collegiate Hockey Association championship game. That’s all he can do, sometimes, when he sees junior forward Evan Trupp try one of his creative tricks with the puck.
By: By Brad Schlossman, Grand Forks Herald, The Jamestown Sun
On game days, UND coach Dave Hakstol is as focused and intense as they come.
But even he had a chuckle on the bench during the heat-of-the-battle of Saturday’s Western Collegiate Hockey Association championship game.
That’s all he can do, sometimes, when he sees junior forward Evan Trupp try one of his creative tricks with the puck.
On this night, Trupp was standing in the left circle when the puck came to him. It was rolling on its side, so Trupp picked it up with the blade of his stick, carried it over the head of St. Cloud State defenseman Craig Gaudet, dropped it down in the slot and fired a backhand on net.
Linemate Brad Malone nearly scored on the rebound, but this time, UND’s opponent avoided being on the wrong end of an Evan Trupp SportsCenter appearance.
“We’ve seen him do some pretty spectacular things,” Hakstol said. “He’s scored some highlight-reel goals and he’s made some highlight-reel plays. Saturday night in the second period, he almost completed another one.”
Although the puck didn’t find the back of the net that time, it did plenty of other times last weekend. Trupp, who entered the Final Five on a 20-game goal drought, came out of it with MVP honors.
The Anchorage native had three goals and six points in the three Final Five games, helping the Sioux to the Broadmoor Trophy.
“He has been a good player for us all year,” Hakstol said. “A lot of things went right for him last weekend. I guess he saved the goals for the right time. He was all over the ice, whether it was five-on-five, on the power play or on the penalty kill. He played at a high level and that carries over to his teammates.
“He has been creating opportunities and been producing points through assists. It’s a real fine line for a goal scorer with that puck going in the net or not. But I think he just stuck with it, kept doing things that were giving him success and (last) weekend, they started going in for him.”
Trupp has become known for making spectacular plays the routine. He made SportsCenter’s No. 1 play of the day as a freshman for diving and batting a puck out of mid-air for an overtime, game-winning goal against Minnesota.
He’s made several other plays that were just as impressive, including his steal-and-assist to Malone in Friday’s semifinal against Denver.
“We have Can-Am games in practice sometimes and he always does stuff like that,” linemate Matt Frattin said. “It’s only a matter of time before he uses them in games. He’s always got tricks up his sleeve.”
Hakstol said: “Pretty much on a weekly basis, there’s something you see him do, where all of the coaches and players watching turn to each other and say, ‘Did he just do that?’ He’s one of those dynamic players. And his bag of tricks keeps getting deeper.”
Hakstol joked that when Trupp came to the bench after trying his lacrosse-style move against the Huskies on Saturday, he told him, “Great move, don’t try it again.”
“Nah, he’s a guy you have to allow leeway to,” Hakstol said. “He’s ultra-competitive. He’s very creative and he finds different ways to create offense. As long as he’s playing as hard in both directions and he’s as committed to the defensive side of things as he is right now, he’s a guy we want to give leeway to.”
Trupp’s line has been a catalyst to UND’s current 12-1 run in the last 13 games. During that span, only once have Trupp, Frattin and Malone been held off the scoresheet. They have 11 goals during the team’s six playoff games.
Frattin had four goals in three first-round games against the Gophers. Malone had one against the Gophers and two in the Final Five. Trupp joined his close friends and started putting the puck in the net in St. Paul as well.
“We knew it was going to come,” Malone said. “It was a great time for him to have a great weekend. I can’t really give him too much more grief about the monkey being on his back anymore. But maybe after the season, I’ll have to remind him how long that slump actually lasted.”
Reach Brad Schlossman at (701) 780-1129; (800) 477-6572, ext. 129; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.