Commentary

Lamoureux twins lead Team USA

Updated: February 17, 2010, 12:38 AM ET
By Lindsay Berra | ESPN The Magazine

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- The first goal in Team USA's lopsided 13-0 victory over Team Russia on Tuesday afternoon was scored by Monique Lamoureux, with an assist by her identical twin sister, Jocelyne. Vancouver is no stranger to high-scoring twins, but Canucks forwards Daniel and Henrik Sedin, currently starring for Team Sweden, are no longer the only show in town.

[+] EnlargeJocelyne Lamoureux
Harry How/Getty ImagesJocelyne Lamoureux can set up her twin sister without even looking.

The Lamoureux sisters are 20 years old, virtually identical blue-eyed blondes with virtually identical skills and virtually identical stats. Like the Sedins, who also are accustomed to playing together, one has developed into the playmaker, the other into the finisher. Jocelyne is the center whose blind passes find her sister every time. Monique is the winger, the scorer, there to bury her sister's feeds.

"When Monique has a shot, she normally buries it," Jocelyne says. "She really finds the open play in front of the net; she's hard to get the puck away from and really battles in the corners."

"Jocelyne is a very good center," Monique says. "She's always in the defensive zone helping the D out, and in the offensive zone she's very shifty and can make plays out of nothing. She's typically the first one in on the forecheck, and a lot of times will beat the defenseman to the puck."

The sisters, typically just referred to by their teammates as "The Twins" or "The Lams," ironically switched roles in their Olympic debut with Team USA on Sunday afternoon, leading the Americans to a 12-1 rout of Team China. Monique had four assists in the game, a U.S. women's single-game record, and Jocelyne scored a stunning, Ovechkin-worthy, between-the-legs, one-on-one goal in the second period.

The Lamoureuxs grew up in Grand Forks, N.D. Their father, Pierre, was a backup goaltender on UND's national championship teams in 1980 and 1982. Because Pierre was born in Saskatchewan, the twins have dual Canadian and American citizenship. Once, Team Canada's head scout Wally Kozak spoke with Pierre after watching the girls play a tournament in Manitoba, long before they ever played their first games with Team USA at age 16. "It was one or two conversations, that was it," Monique says. "The rumors that we got cut by Team Canada are completely untrue. We never even went to a tryout." Kozak is probably kicking himself now.

[+] EnlargeMonique Lamoureux
Harry How/Getty ImagesMonique Lamoureux scored Team USA's first goal Tuesday off an assist from her sister.

The twins attended renowned hockey prep school Shattuck-St. Mary's in Faribault, Minn., before heading to the University of Minnesota. In their freshman year, Monique ranked third in the NCAA and first among rookies with 75 points in 40 games. Jocelyne was fourth in the nation with 65 points. They then transferred to the University of North Dakota, but have yet to play a game for the Fighting Sioux because of their commitment with Team USA; both won gold medals with the American team at the 2009 world championship in Hameenlinna, Finland. Although the twins often don't play together with Team USA, they did skate together for the university. "I very much prefer to play together," Jocelyne says. "I don't even need to look to pass it. We know each other's tendencies so well." As she says this, the same phrase comes out of Monique's mouth. "See?" she says. "We even finish each other's sentences."

Their dominance is no surprise. The twins grew up playing hockey on a frozen creek near their house with their four older brothers. Mom Linda would blow a whistle when it was time to come in, and she would chastise the girls for complaining if the boys were too rough. Says Monique: "If we ever cried, my mom would say, 'You'd better toughen up.'"

Now, Jean-Philippe, 25, is a goalie in the Sabres system; Jacques, 23, is a forward at the Air Force Academy; Pierre-Paul, 22, is a volunteer assistant coach at UND; and Mario, 21, is a UND forward. Each of the six Lamoureux kids sports a tattoo designed by Pierre-Paul -- a family crest, with a half-star, half-maple leaf and six hearts -- and applied on the Lamoureuxs kitchen table in Grand Forks by a local tattoo artist. The boys each have their tattoo on their left thigh. Monique's is on her back, about the size of her hand, and Jocelyne's is smaller, on her foot. "Mine is a modest version of the tattoo," she says.

According to Team USA defenseman Angela Ruggiero, who has a hard time telling the twins apart on the ice, the tattoos are just one of many off-ice differences. "Their hair is different, one has pointier ears, one has a scar on her forehead and they have totally different personalities," Ruggiero says. "Jocelyne is more outgoing and likes to make fun of Monique."

No one else is making fun of them now.

Lindsay Berra is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.

Lindsay Berra is an avid CrossFitter and a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on twitter @lindsayberra.

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