The name Evan Trupp should mean something to Gophers' fans. I first became aware of the North Dakota forward as a freshman.
The Sioux and the Gophers were in overtime at Mariucci and ... well the unbelievable happened.
A North Dakota player flips the puck from behind the net over it and Trupp swats it into the net -- past a startled Alex Kangas -- out of mid-air on a dive by the cage.
It was the "Play of the Day" on ESPN's SportsCenter. The goal gave North Dakota a 2-1 victory on Feb. 1.
He has not been in a my personal spotlight much since until this week. Trupp has three goals and an assist in two games in the Final Five.
Attendance for Thursday's play-in game between North Dakota and Minnesota Duluth drew 15,292, that's 2,319 fewer than a year ago. Teams in that first game were 2009 the Gophers and UMD.
The numbers were down a bit for Friday's semifinals, too. The first semifinal between St. Cloud State and Wisconsin drew 13,113, the second semifinal had 14,170 for a second-day total of 27,283, or about 5,000 below the 2009 totals.
A year ago the second-day crowds on Friday were 14,722 and 17,729 for a total of 32,451.
So going into the third day, the 2010 Final Five has drawn 42,575 compared to 50,062 last year.
Final Fives have drawn more than 80,000 the past four years and five of the past six. It's doubtful with three out-of-state teams and St. Cloud State playing the final day that 80,000 mark will be reached this year.
KICKING THE GOPHERS
It almost seems some people revel in the Gophers' troubles. And they have had plenty the past three seasons.
On Friday, several people in the press box at the Xcel told me that sophomore defenseman Aaron Ness had signed with the New York Islanders. That would have been another body blow.
Checked my sources, finally reached his dad who insisted Ness is coming back. This is at least the second Ness rumor I have had to follow. Shortly after sophomore defenseman Sam Lofquist left, there were reports Jordan Schroeder would be turning pro and Ness would transfer to North Dakota.
Not sure if it's because the U has had so much success, or maybe people dislike Don Lucia, but there seem to be those hoping it all blows up.
As for Ness, young men change their minds. I believe his dad. I have no reason not to. But if Ness left in the offseason, it would not be a huge surprise as long as Garth Snow remains the New York Islanders general manager.
He ripped Lucia on the development of his players two seasons ago when Kyle Okposo signed with the Isles at the holiday break.
FINAL FIVE BOXES
Thursday's play-in game
North Dakota 0 0 2--2
Minnesota Duluth 0 0 0--0
First period: No scoring. Penalties: MacWilliam, UND (boarding), 3:23; Lamb, UMD (boarding), 7:37; Gregoire, UND (interference), 16:55.
Second period: No scoring. Penalties: Fontaine, UMD (slashing), 5:30; DeLisle, UMD (hooking), 10:11; Hextall, UND (interference), 19:21.
Third period: 1. UND: Gregoire 20 (VandeVelde, LaPoint), 12:22. 2. UND: Trupp 6 (Kristo, VandeVelde), 18:01. Penalties: Fienhage, UND (interference), 6:10; Lamb, UMD (slashing), 7:41; Bordson, UMD (hooking), 9:46; Trupp, UND (tripping), 11:40.
Shots on goal: North Dakota 10-15-9--34; Minnesota Duluth 4-6-12--22. Power-play chances: North Dakota 0-for-5; Minnesota Duluth 0-5. Goalies: North Dakota, Eidsness (22 shots-22 saves); Minnesota Duluth, Reiter (34-32). A: 15,292. Referees: Don Adam, Tim Walsh. Linesmen: Bob Keltie (replaced by Jarod Moen in second period), Rob Schiel.
Wisconsin 0 0 0--0
St. Cloud State 0 1 1--2
First period: No scoring. Penalties: Gardiner, Wis (high- sticking), 4:05; B. Smith, Wis (contact to head), 5:08; Raboin, SCSU (cross-checking), 12:26; Gaudet, SCSU (slashing), 15:26; Lasch, SCSU (high-sticking), 18:31.
Second period: 1. SCSU: Lasch 19 (Mosey, Roe), 19:07, pp. Penalties: Goloubef, Wis (5-min. major, contact to head), 11:39; Mosey, SCSU (hooking), 15:53; B. Smith, Wis (tripping), 17:38.
Third period: 2. SCSU: Novak 10 (Mosey), 19:04, en. Penalties: Hanowski, SCSU (hooking), 2:03; C. Smith (goalie interference), 10:00.
Shots on goal: Wisconsin 12-5-20--37; St. Cloud State 9-8-5--22. Power-play chances: Wisconsin 0-for-5; St. Cloud State 1-5. Goalies: Wisconsin, Gudmandson (21 shots-20 saves); St. Cloud State, (37-37). A: 13,113. Referees: Derek Shepherd, Marco Hunt. Linesmen: Jarod Moen, Matt Ullwelling.
North Dakota 1 2 1--4
Denver 0 1 2--3
First period: 1. UND: VandeVelde 15 (Knight, Frattin), 7:59, pp. Penalties: Vossberg, DU (goalie interference), 6:11; Malone, UND (tripping), 9:20; Rakhshani, DU (tripping), 11:44; Blood, UND (hooking), 15:02; Rakhshani, DU (hooking), 18:10; Hextall, UND (interference), 18:10.
Second period: 2. UND: Trupp 7 (Frattin, Malone), 4:41. 3. DU: Donovan 7 (Ostrow, Martin), 18:25. 4. UND: Trupp 8 (Marto, Kristo), 19:13. Penalties: Wiercioch, DU (holding) 12:15; Blood, DU (cross-checking), 16:39; Ruegsegger, DU (goalie interference), 17:35; MacWilliams, UND (slashing), 19:38.
Third period: 5. DU: Lee 2 (Phillips, Shore), 4:15, pp. 6. UND: Malone 10 (Trupp), 13:59, sh. 7. DU: Knowlton 3 (Martin), 19:23, sh. Penalties: Blood, UND (cross-checking), 4:10; Knowlton, DU (high-sticking), 8:26; UND bench (too many men), 12:29; Ostrow, DU (hooking), 18:33.
Shots on goal: North Dakota 10-8-6--24; Denver 10-4-12--26. Power-play chances: North Dakota 2-for-6; Denver 1-6. Goalies: North Dakota, Eidsness (26 shots-23 saves); Denver, Cheverie (24-20). A: 14,170. Referees: Todd Anderson, Brad Shepherd. Linesmen: Tony Czech, Dan Carey.