In her hockey dream world, Monique Lamoureux would probably be playing forward all the time. She’d be on the same line with her twin sister, Jocelyne, and spend her time on the ice going forward, making pretty passes and shooting the puck.
But Monique Lamoureux plays for the University of North Dakota, and her primary goal is winning games, not playing fantasy hockey.
She knows she brings an invaluable versatility to her team, so she’s perfectly happy playing on defense if that is what’s best for UND.
Just getting the chance to play for one of the best hockey programs in the country in her hometown of Grand Forks is a good thing, no matter where she plays on the rink.
“For me, it’s whatever is going to make our team successful, and for now that’s me playing defense, and I don’t have a problem with that,” Lamoureux said. “I played D up through high school, so it’s nothing I’m not used to.”
The senior played the first 10 games of this season at forward, but when the defensive ranks were thinned by injuries, Lamoureux made the transition to defenseman.
“I don’t mind,” she said. “There’s sometimes you see a play happen and you think, ‘I wish I was playing forward,’ but it is what it is and I think if anything, it’s helped me become a more well-rounded player.”
As a defenseman, she’s able to jump into a play and help on the offensive end; as a forward, it’s helped her be more defensive-minded.
And through it all, Lamoureux not only is playing a role her coach and teammates need, but her stats don’t look too bad, either.
Through 26 games this season, she is ninth in the nation in points (43), with 15 goals and 28 assists, which ranks fourth in the nation. Her play has helped 16-10 North Dakota achieve a No. 9 ranking in the Jan. 22 USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine College Hockey Poll.
As a junior, when she finished sixth in the nation in points (71), she was a 10 top finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award, given to the nation’s top player. As a sophomore, when she was a Kazmaier nominee, she had 54 points and led North Dakota in assists.
In addition, she and her sister have silver medals from playing on the U.S. Olympic Team at Vancouver in 2010.
Throughout her career at North Dakota, Monique has played forward and defenseman and won honors as Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
“She’s everything you could ask for in an offensive defenseman and more,” North Dakota coach Brian Idalski said last season. “Statistically she’s producing at that pace while having the responsibility of playing against the other team’s top offensive players and shutting them down. That’s pretty unique.”
It’s that ability to be an offensive threat as a defenseman that Monique believes adds an extra dimension to her team.
“I’m able to jump into a play, jump in as that second wave of offense off the rush,” she said.
The thing she always has to keep at the front of her mind as a defenseman is that it is her No. 1 job; she can’t forget it.
“Sometimes that can get me in trouble defensively,” she said. “That’s the biggest adjustment [from forward]. Knowing you’re the last guy back and you have to be responsible. … You can’t put your team in jeopardy.”
Though the record may not show it, Lamoureux believes this year’s team might be the best she’s been on at North Dakota. Now, however, is the time for the team to come together after some games it let slip away. Now it’s the “do or die” time of the year. North Dakota just took care of business with a two-game sweep of St. Cloud State this past weekend, but eight conference games remain, plus the WCHA playoffs.
This season will bring Lamoureux’s tenure to an end at North Dakota, but not her hockey career.
She hopes to play for the national team in the Olympic Winter Games at Sochi, with Jocelyne — where she does play forward on her sister’s line.
It’s the opportunity she’s had to play with her sister — for her country and her hometown team — that has been most special.
“We never considered not going to the same college or not playing together,” she said. “We always knew we were going to do this together. When we had our goals, regarding playing for the national team, it’s always been ‘we,’ it’s never been ‘I.’ ”
At North Dakota, too, where Jocelyne last season tied for the national lead in points, led the nation in assists and was a top-3 Kazmaier finalist, Monique was proud, not jealous.
“For her to be successful and be recognized, I couldn’t be more happy for her,” she said.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.