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Sioux forward making waves with improved play

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Confidence is a scary thing. In the case of the University of North Dakota junior Colby Genoway, a little-known forward prior to this season, a renewed sense of confidence has buoyed him from the outhouse to the penthouse in ...

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Confidence is a scary thing.

In the case of the University of North Dakota junior Colby Genoway, a little-known forward prior to this season, a renewed sense of confidence has buoyed him from the outhouse to the penthouse in the span of one season.

After recording just three points in 31 games last season, Genoway has become a force on the offensive end. Centering UND's top line, the Morden, Man., product is the second-leading scorer on a club boiling over with offensive fire power.

"I've just been a lot more comfortable this year," said Genoway, who trails only line mate Brandon Bochenski -- the nation's top scorer -- in points per game in WCHA contests.

"Over the summer I put in a lot of hard work just trying to get in better shape and get my confidence-level up."

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Genoway's offseason resume included getting stronger on his feet as well as dropping some weight to add quickness to his steps.

But perhaps the main reason for his success has been the defined role he's played on a team of superstars.

Last season, Genoway -- mainly an offensive-minded player in his previous levels of hockey -- spent time on the second, third and fourth lines when he was in the lineup. He was asked to fill different skates literally on a nightly basis.

This year, Dean Blais has given the 6-foot-1 center one objective: find ways to put the puck in the net.

And Genoway has delivered.

"Last year I played on a lot of different lines, so I was asked to play both offense and defense," Genoway said.

"Now I know that I have to come in and put up points, and as a line we're expected to score."

Since being moved to the Fighting Sioux's top line with Bochenski and Quinn Fylling before the Christmas tournament, Genoway has blossomed with 11 assists in UND's last eight contests.

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"You can't help but get points when you play with those guys," he said. "They just have so much talent. Even if I'm not at my best, we still score."

While the benefit of playing on the same line as the nation's top scorer is evident, Bochenski believes Genoway is the right man to deliver the puck.

"He brings a lot of creativity to our line," Bochenski said.

"There are a lot of plays that he may not have tried to make last year, he's making this year. He's just a lot more confident."

While confidence has boosted Genoway to the top of his game, it has also played a role in his team's opposition this weekend.

When UND swept a struggling Minnesota at home in early November, it seemed as if the two-time defending national champions had lost their swagger.

But since then, the Golden Gophers have reeled off 12 wins in 17 games, including a current nine-game unbeaten streak. Second in the WCHA, only to North Dakota's 14 game stretch.

"They have the most talent in the league," Genoway said of the No. 5-ranked Gophers.

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"They have just been getting better and better and hopefully we can outwork them and beat them."

While a lot has been made about the fans' mutual distain for each other's programs, Bochenski says it carries over to the ice as well.

"We don't like them and they don't like us," he said.

"The rivalry is as big as everyone makes it. It should be a battle."

With these two long-time rivals squaring off, we should expect nothing less.

Readers can reach Mike Cummings at (701) 241-5549

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