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Star UND player suspended one game for hit Sunday night in Gopher game

Matt Frattin

UND will be without its hottest goal scorer on Thursday night.

The Western Collegiate Hockey Association suspended Matt Frattin for one game, the result of a hit on Minnesota defenseman Kevin Wehrs during Sunday night's first-round playoff game.

The junior forward will miss UND's Final Five play-in game against Minnesota-Duluth on Thursday night in St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center.

Frattin was called for a five-minute, contact to the head charging major at the time -- a call disputed by both benches. UND's coaching staff argued against it, while Minnesota's coaching staff wanted Frattin thrown out of the game.

Referees Derek Shepherd and Marco Hunt called the major but allowed Frattin to stay in the game. He later scored a goal.

The hit happened during the second period of UND's 4-1 win over the Gophers. The puck was sent behind the Minnesota net. Goalie Alex Kangas pushed it along the wall to the corner. Wehrs followed the puck to the corner and Frattin came bearing down with speed.

Just as Wehrs chipped the puck, Frattin drove into the junior defenseman, sending him to the ground. A scrum ensued after the play.

Wehrs was slow getting to his feet and did not return for the final 35 minutes of the game. After the game, Minnesota coach Don Lucia said that the hit was "vicious" and that "it has no place in the game."

Rule 6, Section 6A in the NCAA rulebook defines charging.

It says, "A player shall not skate more than two steps or jump into an opponent. Charging is the action of a player, who as a result of distance traveled, checks an opponent violently in any manner from the front or side."

WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod said he notified UND on Monday morning that the league was considering additional sanctions on the hit under the league's supplementary discipline policy.

After consulting with WCHA supervisor of officials, "we decided it rose to the level of the additional game (disqualification)," McLeod said.

McLeod declined to say what specific action warranted the supplementary discipline.

"I don't want to get into specific things," McLeod said. "There were a number of factors that went into it, though. It wasn't one single thing."

McLeod said that if UND had lost the game against Minnesota and didn't make the Final Five, Frattin would have had to sit out the opener of the NCAA tournament.

The Sioux already have locked up a place in the NCAA tournament and they will enter the Final Five as one of the hottest teams in the country. They are 9-1 in the last 10 games. During that 10-game span, Frattin has nine goals, three assists and 12 points.

This is the second suspension for a UND player this season. Mario Lamoureux was suspended one game after he removed his helmet and gloves and challenged St. Cloud State forward Aaron Marvin to a fight in February.