Gopher Hockey fucks, plain and simple. After winning the Big Ten Tournament in typical Minnesota fashion the Gophers grabbed a 1 seed and a trip back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2016-17. While Gopher hoops fans fight with each other on whether Ben Johnson is the right choice for the program, Gopher hockey fans know Bob Motzko is the man. In his 3rd season with the team, he has helped the program look like the Gopher teams of old. You know, the ones that had Minnesota buzzin every March/April. The Gophers finished the season 23-6 and match up with Omaha, which many people question is even a real place, in the first round at 9 PM this Saturday.
This is, for the most part, a young hockey team, with some very good upper-classmen leading the charge. Goaltending which is big at any level of hockey may be the most important piece of the puzzle for this Gophers team. This region they are in have the top two goalies in all of college hockey, Dryden McKay of Mankato has been elite this season much like Lafontaine. The Gophers may need to get greasy (similar to the 10K boys in Vegas) to win this competitive region. For the first time in a while, the Gophers have a team that is loaded from top to bottom. The top 3 lines are as good as any team in the nation and the defensive core had 3 guys on the Championship team for USA at the World Juniors. Not to mention a Hobey Baker finalist goaltender.
A Name to look out for:
Bryce Brodzinski. The former Mr. Hockey winner had himself a nice Big Ten Tournament. From playing AAA hockey with my brother and even sending White Bear Lake to the losers bracket in the 2019 State Tournament, I’ve personally seen this kid show out when the lights shine brightest. Wouldnt surprise me if he scores a couple of big goals for the boys that sends em’ to the Frozen Four.
The State of Hockey
There was a certain someone questioning whether Minnesota was a basketball state earlier in the year… Not going to mention any names but yeah that take was thrown out on social media. Let me phrase it nicely, Minnesota will never, ever, EVERRRRR be a basketball state. Are there talented basketball players here, hell yes without a doubt but how many of those guys stay home and try to help their home state win a national title? Close to none. Minnesota has all five of their division one schools in the NCAA Tournament this season. That means even if our beloved Gophers choke, we still have UMD, Bemidji State, MSU-Mankato, and St. Cloud State to pull for. Not only did all five teams get in, but Minnesota also has BY FAR the most players playing in the tourney with 116 being from the State of Hockey. The next closest is Michigan with 33.
While I personally think the Gophers have the most complete team in the state, you’ve got to respect back-to-back natty champ UMD who will give Michigan then UND all they can handle in that region. Either way, the state of Minnesota has a 31% chance of one of its teams bringing home some hardware. Let’s hope the next time I’m writing to you guys it’s about the Gophs heading to the Frozen four or better yet an ALL Minnesota Frozen Four. Until then here’s a video to hold you over until Saturday night.
Sports gambling degenerate that enjoys getting drunk at golf courses and watching my favorite teams let me down.