Men's hockey: Trupp providing spark for Sioux
GRAND FORKS - Brett Hextall knew Evan Trupp was fearless, even before watching Trupp play a hockey game with a ruptured appendix. It only took one game to figure it out. Back in the British Columbia Hockey League, Trupp missed the first 25 games ...
GRAND FORKS - Brett Hextall knew Evan Trupp was fearless, even before watching Trupp play a hockey game with a ruptured appendix.
It only took one game to figure it out.
Back in the British Columbia Hockey League, Trupp missed the first 25 games with a shoulder injury. His first game back was against the Merritt Centennials, a squad that his junior teammate, Hextall, describes as "a tougher team with not a lot of skill."
During the game, Hextall stopped in front of Merritt's goalie, who had covered the puck.
"One of their guys absolutely buried me after the whistle," Hextall said. "I remember being on my back, looking up and seeing Trupper come in with this really mad look on his face. He sucker punched a guy and a big melee ensued."
While that's far from your typical Evan Trupp moment, the 5-foot-9, 174-pound forward from Anchorage has showed he's not afraid to mix it up.
Last weekend against the University of Minnesota, Trupp was one of the more physical players on the ice, finishing checks throughout the weekend. On a couple of instances, he even knocked opponents off their skates.
"Just trying to keep up with my linemates," joked Trupp, who plays with heavy hitters Brad Malone and Matt Frattin.
"He didn't have the bone-crushing, highlight-reel hits," UND coach Dave Hakstol said. "But he had a lot of good, solid body checks. He always has a purpose when he's finishing a check. He's very smart and very intelligent in the way he does it. Watch the way he uses his body. He separates people from pucks by winning physical battles.
"I thought he was our most consistent player up front. His linemates are right with him, too."
Trupp has always been one to make highlight reels for other reasons. Consider:
E The first time he suited up for the Sioux, he earned a standing ovation - not for his goal or assist, but for a diving backcheck that broke up an opponent's breakaway.
E Later in the year, he wound up on SportsCenter for his diving, overtime goal against Minnesota. It was named the No. 1 play of the day.
E Last season in the Final Five, he created a scoring chance by putting the puck on the blade of his stick, carrying it over a St. Cloud State defenseman's head, dropping it in the slot and batting the bouncing puck out of the air.
"You should see him when we play Can-Am games or scrimmages," Hextall said. "You don't even want to play against him when he starts doing stuff like that. You don't even want to defend him because he's going to make you look like an idiot or make you trip over yourself."
Hextall said he learned his favorite shootout move from Trupp.
"One time in juniors, we were in overtime against Westside and he got a penalty shot," Hextall said. "He came down and faked like he was going to pick the puck up on his backhand. While he was pretending to do that, he quickly snapped a shot five-hole. Because of the type of player he is, everybody thought he was going to do something, including the goalie. It works every time he tries it."
Trupp said he learned most of his moves playing street hockey in Anchorage with his brothers and friends. His father, Rick, also flooded the backyard to make a rink for his children to play on.
"That's where I got my first stitches," he said. "I decided to play goalie with no helmet."
That was Trupp's last attempt at playing goalie.
Trupp is a perfect complement to his linemates. Frattin is a pure sniper with great speed. Malone is a power forward who creates space with his physical play.
And Trupp is a setup man who is brilliant when given time and space.
As a freshman, Trupp tallied 13 points. That increased to 20 as a sophomore. Last season, he tallied 34 points, including 26 assists. This year he already has 22 points in 25 games, on pace for a career year.
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Schlossman writes for the Grand Forks Herald