When I interviewed UND goalie Jean-Philippe Lamoureux for US College Hockey Online near the end of January, I reminded him that before the season started, many "experts" considered goaltending UND's weak link. He responded by saying:
"The confidence that I have in myself and the amount of work that I put in to be successful and be prepared, it’s almost music to my ears. To know that if I’m going to be the only weak link on the team this year, that’s going to be fine with me because I know what my abilities are. I understand the amount of work I have to put in and the type of preparation I need to be mentally and physically ready to play. If I’m going to be the only weak link, then so be it. If I’m the weakest link, we’re going to be all right."
Just look at where UND's "weak link" is today. Lamoureux's 1.68 goals-against average is No. 1 in the nation and his .934 save percentage is tied for first nationally. His .719 winning percentage is fifth nationally. He's a big reason why UND gives up a nation-best 1.79 goals per game and why the Sioux kill 89.3 percent of their penalties, despite being the second most penalized team in the country.
As the regular season winds down, Lamoureux is the one Sioux player with a legitimate shot at the Hobey Baker Award. Given the talented NHL draft choices on the team, who would've predicted that at season's start? Certainly not me. But just as Hobey winner Ryan Duncan was UND's most consistent player last season, Lamoureux has been Mr. Dependable this season.
It wasn't long ago that some Sioux fans were decrying UND's inability to recruit a world-class, shutdown goaltender. Well, now you've got him, and he was right under your noses all along.