Sioux’s season comes to a closeOne week after reaching the pinnacle of this rollercoaster season, it all came to a frustrating end for the UND men’s hockey team. There will be no trip to the Frozen Four this year. Those hopes, which seemed so realistic after the team’s run to the Broadmoor Trophy last weekend, were dashed by Yale in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
By: By Brad Schlossman, Forum Communications Co., The Jamestown Sun
WORCESTER, Mass. — One week after reaching the pinnacle of this rollercoaster season, it all came to a frustrating end for the UND men’s hockey team.
There will be no trip to the Frozen Four this year.
Those hopes, which seemed so realistic after the team’s run to the Broadmoor Trophy last weekend, were dashed by Yale in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
The No. 8 Bulldogs, a third seed, jumped to a three-goal lead after two periods and survived a mad dash by the No. 4 Sioux in the third to win 3-2 at the Northeast Regional in Worcester’s DCU Center.
“We didn’t play our best game today and that’s painful,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said. “Twenty minutes against good hockey teams at this time of year isn’t going to be enough. We weren’t sharp enough through the first part of the game.”
UND’s season ends at 25-13-5.
This is the second straight year that UND has lost a one-goal game in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Last year, it was New Hampshire that scored with one tenth of a second left to tie it before winning it in overtime.
This year, the Sioux hoped they would be the ones tying it up late.
Yale skated to a 3-0 lead on two goals by Denny Kearney and one by Mark Arcobello. Kearney tipped a shot with the shaft of his stick in the first, scored on a great deke in the second and Arcobello used a long rebound off the end wall to make it 3-0 late in the third.
That’s when the Sioux came charging back.
Brett Hextall scored on a wrist shot just 2 minutes, 59 seconds into the third and Matt Frattin blocked a shot, skated in on a breakaway and made it 3-2 with 14:02 remaining in the third. Yale coach Keith Allain called a timeout after that to settle his team down.
“If anybody in the building thought that we were going to come out, roll over and go away,” Hakstol said, “they don’t know our team very well. We didn’t play very well tonight, we didn’t start very well, but that doesn’t change how I feel about this team. We have a lot of good character in there.”
There were chances to tie the game, too.
UND had a power play with 5:21 remaining, but Ryan Rondeau was able to get his glove on a Frattin point shot and cover a rebound of a Ben Blood shot – UND’s two best chances during the two minutes.
In the waning moments, the Sioux pulled goalie Brad Eidsness (20 saves) and threw six forwards on the ice, looking for the tying goal. They had a goal-mouth scramble with 20 seconds left, but Rondeau covered it.
And although the Sioux outshot Yale 18-5 in the third, they couldn’t find the tying goal.
“We couldn’t get our legs going and we started off too slow,” said Frattin, who had nine shots on goal total and six in the third period. “That was not our best hockey in the first two periods. We came out flying in the third and we took it to them, but it was too little, too late.”
UND left Worcester late Saturday, having a hard time believing the season had ended.
The team that started the year with more freshmen and fewer seniors than anyone in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, ended the year as one of the most dangerous teams in the country. That made the loss to the Bulldogs harder to swallow.
“It hasn’t 100 percent sunk in yet that our season is done,” UND forward Jason Gregoire said. “When it’s one game and your done, it’s really frustrating to come out like that. It’s tough. A lot of guys know they are coming back, but for the seniors, it’s really unbelievable. I feel so much for them. It’s really a tough thing.”
Chris VandeVelde and Darcy Zajac played in their final game as members of the Sioux. UND’s only other senior, Chay Genoway, could apply for a medical redshirt. Genoway suffered a concussion in November and never returned the rest of the season.
“There has been ups and downs through my four years here,” Zajac said. “We had a great year. Yeah, we didn’t play as well as we wanted to today, but, you know, we won the Broadmoor, battled through adversity, I met a lot of friends and I had a lot of fun. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Reach Schlossman at (701) 780-1129 or send e-mail to email@example.com.