In so many ways, Jocelyne Lamoureux’s junior season at North Dakota was one to savor.
She was named a top-three finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award, given to the nation’s top collegiate hockey player. She tied for the national scoring lead and led the nation in points per game and assists per game. She was a first-team All-America selection and an Academic All-American.
Lamoureux appreciated every accolade that came her way and is proud of what she accomplished, yet entering her senior season she was hungry for more victories, not more scoring championships and awards.
“Yeah, you ask anybody who is good individually, they would trade any amount of goals and assists to be winning the trophy at the end of the year,” she said. “I think we can make something special happen this year. It would be a good way to go out as a senior.”
Though North Dakota had a strong season in 2011-12, finishing 22-12-3, the team didn’t get into the NCAA playoffs and Lamoureux was left with a feeling of disappointment.
“You can win all the individual stuff in the world, but not winning the games at the end of the season, you find out how unimportant those are,” she said.
This year, Lamoureux has tried to make herself a better all-around player in order to help take North Dakota (now 20-10 and ranked No. 8 nationally in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll) farther.
While still potent offensively — she’s third in the nation in scoring with 62 points and second in the nation in goals (30) — Lamoureux has worked to cut down her penalties, get better in face-offs and be better defensively.
Cutting her penalty minutes has been a high priority. In her first two college seasons, she had 46 penalties each, for 92 and 100 minutes. Last season she cut those numbers to 29 and 69 and this season she has 24 for 59.
“My style of play, I’m really aggressive, very competitive,” she said. “With physical play is going to come penalties. I’ve really been focusing on not taking unnecessary penalties, just trying to play an even-keeled game emotionally, not getting too high, not getting too low. I think that’s when I get into penalty trouble.
“It’s important for me to stay out of the box as a leader on the team and not put the team down a man as many times I have before.”
It’s hard to back off, and she says it’s something she’s always going to have to work on.
“Physically, I get into the corners and play body position and so I just have to be careful with that,” she said. “It’s not easy.”
She believes, too, that improving her performance in face-offs can be a big step toward helping the team. She worked with her older brother Mario, a senior center on the men’s team last season, and one of his teammates, on how to refine her face-off skills, and she has spent time after practice working on them. This season, she’s winning face-offs at a 62 percent rate.
“When you’re winning face-offs there’s a lot less work for your team,” she said. “They don’t have to go try and get the puck back, so it’s worth [improving].”
Being known as a dynamic scorer is a good thing, of course. The bottom line to the game is scoring more goals than your opponent, and Lamoureux always has been one of the nation’s best, whether it’s been with Minnesota (where she played her freshman season with her twin, Monique), North Dakota (where she and Monique are in their third season playing in their hometown of Grand Forks) or the national team, where the sisters helped the U.S. to a silver medal at the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games in 2010.
This past weekend, in fact, she had a career-high six assists in a 7-0 win over Bemidji State while also passing Wisconsin’s Hilary Knight to become the Western Collegiate Hockey Association’s all-time scoring leader.
Yet she knows her scoring often eclipses the other things she does on the ice, such as her defense. Now more than ever, she knows that working to help shut down the other team’s top lines is a consistent way to make a contribution, even if goals aren’t coming. She understands if that work sometimes isn’t noticed.
“I think that’s kind of natural,” she said. “I’m known for one thing and other things get looked over.”
Now, with North Dakota on a six-game winning streak, Lamoureux is hopeful the momentum keeps flowing in a positive direction and ends with a team trophy.
“You want to give everything you have to this program,” she said. “I want to do what I can to leave a legacy, and winning is the best way to do that.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.