UND won't be complacent playing at X

  • Article by: ROMAN AUGUSTOVIZ , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 24, 2012 - 12:08 AM

North Dakota, the top seed in the West Regional of the NCAA men's hockey tournament, has an 8-1 record at the Xcel Energy Center since the 2009-10 season.

UND became the first team to win three consecutive WCHA Final Five titles last week, including a semifinal victory over the Gophers.

"We're happy to come here," captain Mario Lamoureux said. "It's not a lot of travel for us."

Asked about his team's comfort level in the Wild's rink, Lamoureux dismissed that image. "If you come in here comfortable," he said, "that's when you get beat. We have to come in on the edge."

One noticeable difference with UND on this trip will be the team's jerseys. The NCAA told the school it could not use the Fighting Sioux nickname or related logos in the national tournament.

The centerpiece of the new jersey, which will be predominately white with green shoulders in the regional, is the player's number with the words "North" above it and "Dakota" below it.

"It would be great to wear our normal logo and name," Lamoureux said, "but we can't do it, so we are not going to worry about it. Our [new] jerseys look fine."

Avalanche picks in nets

The Gophers' Kent Patterson and Boston University's Kiernan Millan are both senior goalies and Colorado Avalanche draft picks.

The Avs took Patterson in the fourth round of the 2007 NHL draft and Millan in the fifth round of 2009. Millan said he met Patterson last summer at a Colorado prospects camp. "He is a great guy," Millan said. "I haven't followed him too much this year. But I think he is having a great season and their team is doing well.

"It adds a little bit to the game but, at the same time, I am focused on how our teams plays and winning that game."

Murray back in Minnesota

Andy Murray, the first-year coach of Western Michigan, has a home in Faribault and has deep Minnesota roots.

Murray, 61, was a North Stars assistant coach when the team lost to Pittsburgh in the 1991 Stanley Cup finals. More recently, he was an NHL head coach, winning 333 games in a 10-year career with the Los Angeles Kings and the St. Louis Blues from 1999 to 2010.

His three children went to high school at Shattuck-St. Mary's in Faribault. Brady, one of his two boys, played for North Dakota from 2003 to '05, so he is familiar with his team's opponent Saturday.

On Thursday, he introduced his players to life in Minnesota. "We took our team to Shattuck," Murray said, "and practiced in the old Shattuck arena."

The Broncos also went to the Wild game, had lunch at Famous Dave's and dinner at Mancini's in St. Paul. "We kind of did the whole Minnesota thing," Murray said. "We had wild rice soup."

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