A senior moment of silenceST. PAUL — After addressing the team in a silent locker room, the University of North Dakota captain Mario Lamoureux walked to the other side and embraced fellow senior Ben Blood. The captain then walked to goaltender Brad Eidsness and did the same.
By: Brad Schlossman, The Dickinson Press
ST. PAUL — After addressing the team in a silent locker room, the University of North Dakota captain Mario Lamoureux walked to the other side and embraced fellow senior Ben Blood. The captain then walked to goaltender Brad Eidsness and did the same.
The three seniors shared some tears and some private words as their college careers came to an end with a 5-2 loss to the University of Minnesota in the West Regional final on Sunday night.
The trio helped UND to three Broadmoor Trophies, two MacNaughton Cups and a Frozen Four appearance.
“They are just tremendous people,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said. “That’s where it starts. Everyone evaluates the product of their play on the ice. I evaluate the people. You’ve got three high-quality individuals there.
“It’s a class of three seniors with nine or 10 freshmen. It’s a big group of new guys. It’s a big job for a group of leaders. Those guys did a great job. They are going to be successful in the future. It really hurts that this is the last time we get to go to the rink and go to work with those three guys.”
Their teammates also credited the seniors with getting the rookies to buy-in to UND’s style of play.
Blood, who earned all-conference honors as a senior, posted on Twitter after the game: “There are no fans like Sioux fans. You guys made my four years here very special. Thanks for everything and all the support. I’ll miss you guys.”
Lamoureux said he will leave proud.
I’m proud of the way every team I’ve ever been on has pulled together,” he said.
All that will leave?
While UND will say goodbye to the three seniors, now it wait and see if it loses any others.
This offseason, UND will likely have to wait for decisions from junior forward Danny Kristo, sophomore forward Brock Nelson, junior defenseman Andrew MacWilliam and junior goalie Aaron Dell.
Kristo and MacWilliam are four years removed from their draft year, which opens the door for them to become a free agent if they withdraw from school and are unsigned for 30 days. Kristo is a second-round pick of the Montreal Canadiens. MacWilliam is a seventh-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Nelson is a first-round pick of the New York Islanders and Dell is a free agent.
All of the players were on the bus back to Grand Forks on Sunday night.
for next season
UND had a young squad with just two seniors during the 2009-10 season. That group went through ups and downs, but ultimately went on a run to win the Broadmoor Trophy and gain momentum for a special 2010-11 season.
Depending on how many players return, the Sioux could parlay this season’s late charge into confidence for next season.
“Guys have got great learning experiences from this stretch run — a lot of life lessons and game experiences,” MacWilliam said. “That’s something we can use for next year.”
The Sioux also plan on having several players who were unavailable at the end of this season — forward Rocco Grimaldi (knee), forward Derek Rodwell (shoulder), forward Brendan O’Donnell (shoulder), forward Colten St. Clair (NCAA) and forward Mitch MacMillan (transfer).
Schlossman is a sports reporter for the Grand Forks Herald, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.