So. | F | Moorhead, Minn.
VandeVelde scored seven points in North Dakota's
last nine games after notching just two in his first
Key Statistics: VandeVelde
was third among rookies in scoring for the Fighting
Sioux last season, notching three goals and six assists
while skating in 38 of the team’s 43 games. But
he hit his stride at the right time, recording seven
of his nine points in NoDak’s final nine games
of the season as the team made its third straight Frozen
What He Does: VandeVelde
is blessed with decent size that allows him to work
well low in the offensive zone. Anyone who watched him
average more than two points per game for Moorhead High
School and lead the Spuds to the 2005 Minnesota State
Tournament in St. Paul wasn’t surprised when VandeVelde’s
breakout college game came at the Xcel Energy Center.
It was on that familiar ice sheet where he lit up St.
Cloud State for a pair of goals in the WCHA Final Five
last spring, and served notice that his scoring touch
hadn’t been lost when he crossed the Red River
to play college hockey.
The Bigger Picture: On
the northern plains, flipping the calendar page to March
means that spring and the season’s related blossoming
is on the way. VandeVelde’s first season of college
hockey had a March rebirth as well, as he entered the
month frustrated, looking for his first collegiate goal
and quickly became the team’s playoff surprise.
An injury to Matt Watkins prompted North Dakota coach
Dave Hakstol to move VandeVelde up to the team’s
second line, and the forward responded to the extra
ice time with an offensive outburst. Those late-season
feats have many betting on VandeVelde to be the man
joining reigning Hobey Baker Award winner Ryan Duncan
and preseason Hobey favorite T.J. Oshie on the top Sioux
line when the season starts.
Fighting Sioux coach Dave Hakstol
on VandeVelde: “Chris is a guy that we
feel can step up. Playmaking-wise, he does a great job
up the middle. He’s very efficient down low and
strong on faceoffs.”