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UND's Ben Blood (24) checks Minnesota Josh Birkholz (left)to the boards in the first period of WCHA action Friday night in Grand Forks. (John Stennes/Grand Forks Herald)

Sioux dismantle Gophers 4-0 in hockey Friday night

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GRAND FORKS -- Minnesota coach Don Lucia wasn't in Grand Forks for last season's series against UND.

Now he knows what it was like.

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In a performance that was every bit as dominating as the back-to-back blowout wins a year ago, the UND men's hockey team took apart Minnesota 4-0 in front of a sold-out, white-out Ralph Engelstad Arena crowd.

Jason Gregoire, Derrick LaPoint, Chay Genoway and Mario Lamoureux all scored goals for the Sioux, while netminder Brad Eidsness posted a 22-save shutout to extend UND's home unbeaten streak to 15 games (13-0-2).

"I thought it was a good, grinding effort," UND coach Dave Hakstol said. "One of the things our team needs to try to accomplish every night is that we need to be tough to play against. That doesn't necessarily mean big, highlight-reel hits. It means tough, gritty play. I thought we did that for the better part of 60 minutes."

UND (3-0, 1-0 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) dominated almost every aspect of the Friday's WCHA opener. Consider:

- The Sioux outshot Minnesota 43-22.

- The Sioux scored on the power play, shorthanded and at even strength.

- All four lines and all three defensive pairings had points for the Sioux.

- UND dominated on draws, going 42-26. Brad Malone was 16-6 and Chris VandeVelde 11-5.

- Minnesota star forward Jordan Schroeder, who came within a point of winning the WCHA's scoring title as a freshman, was held without a shot on goal. He had a minus-one rating and won just 10 of 26 faceoffs.

"We came out strong," said LaPoint, who scored his first goal since returning from a broken leg suffered on Valentine's Day. "Obviously Minnesota is a good team, so we had a little bit of extra energy. I thought we played hard, had a good start, played simple and did what we needed to do."

Minnesota played an exhibition two weeks ago, but Friday was the team's first regular season game - a fact that showed several times during the contest.

The Gophers didn't click offensively, went 0-for-5 on the power play and were shut out by the Sioux for just the second time in the last 20 seasons.

"Our whole team needs to be better," Lucia said.

It was another nightmare in Grand Forks for the Gophers, who have now been outscored 16-4 in the last three games here. In January, UND posted 6-3 and 6-1 wins. Lucia missed that series because of health reasons, but it was much of the same on Friday night.

UND got on the board with its first shot of the game and didn't look back. Alex Kangas, who was pulled in both Gopher losses last season, was the only reason Minnesota was still in the game after two periods.

The Sioux were crisper and certainly more physical.

"The guys did a very good job, from the forward zone back to the D, putting a lot of pressure on (Minnesota)," said Eidsness, who earned his second-career shutout. "I don't think it was a pleasant place to be in our zone tonight."

The Sioux took advantage of a power play to get on the board at 2:17 of the first period. VandeVelde collected a loose puck behind the net and centered it into the slot. Gregoire won a race to the puck and knocked it past Kangas for a power-play goal.

The Sioux added to their lead with a shorthanded goal at 4:21 of the second.

Malone started a rush along the right wing and went hard to the net. Evan Trupp picked up the rebound and spotted LaPoint cutting down the slot. LaPoint's shot got through traffic and beat Kangas over the left shoulder at 4:21.

UND put it away in the third with a pair of goals at 5:56 and 8:18.

Genoway blasted a shot from the point for his first goal of the season and Lamoureux went hard to the net and banged in a rebound of a Darcy Zajac shot for the final margin.

"We played them tough all the way through," LaPoint said. "But we have to remember that Minnesota hasn't played yet. That was their first game. They're going to be sharper tomorrow. They're going to be better. So, we have to be on our toes and we have to be ready to play."

Notes: Freshman forward Brett Bruneteau played his first collegiate game. He replaced Corban Knight on the fourth line. . . Eidsness made his 37th consecutive start in goal for the Sioux.

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