SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- At 3:33 a.m. last Thursday, Jan. 10, a photo was Tweeted from a hockey locker room in an otherwise empty arena in northern Indiana.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- If you want to silence the Fighting Irish, you call on an Irish kid from northern Minnesota, apparently. That was the secret for the Minnesota Gophers on Saturday, Jan. 12, at Notre Dame, as they earned their first sweep of the season when Blake McLaughlin, a freshman from Grand Rapids, Minn., scored a dramatic goal with 7.8 seconds left for a 2-1 win.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- When you’re playing on the road versus defense-first Notre Dame, forget about the notion of trying to be the first team to get three goals on the board. For the Minnesota Gophers, a lone goal in the second period gave them the confidence needed to cruise on Friday, Jan. 11. Stymied early by the Irish defense, the Gophers scored first in the middle period and broke things open in the third, notching a 5-1 win at Compton Family Ice Arena.
MINNEAPOLIS -- If you’ve ever walked out of a deafening, theatrical Taylor Swift concert and directly into a staid concerto by a dignified chamber orchestra, you may have an idea of the challenge facing the Minnesota Gophers over the current four-game stretch. They survived their dates with a quick-shooting, offense-first Penn State team last weekend, earning a split to stay in the thick of the Big Ten race. Now the Gophers (7-8-4 overall, 4-3-3-0 Big Ten) go on the road to Notre Dame, facing an Irish team that seemingly scores goals only begrudgingly.
MINNEAPOLIS -- The instructions given to players by college coaches can sometimes be endlessly detailed and confusing. Other times, the direction given by the person who holds the whistle is relatively simple and easy to follow. Last week in practice, the Minnesota Gophers hockey coach jokingly claims he gave senior forward Jack Ramsey some simple instructions. The results were immediate, and positive.
MINNEAPOLIS -- The holiday lights are turned off and the tree has been put away in most homes. But while the Minnesota Gophers men's hockey team returned to practice late on Christmas Day and started playing games again three days later, the University of Minnesota remains on break for a few more weeks. That means that the dorms are quiet, and there are no classes to attend. Rather than let cabin fever fester among the hockey team, the Gophers headed off campus this week for a unique few hours of ice time.
MINNEAPOLIS -- If scoring three or more goals in a game was a New Year’s resolution made by the Minnesota Gophers, they’re doing good work in the opening week of 2019. The Gophers got a pair of second period goals on Saturday, Jan. 5, and rallied from an early deficit to beat Penn State 4-1, snapping streak of five consecutive losses to the Nittany Lions.
MINNEAPOLIS -- An early third period goal by visiting Penn State, and more failures to score five-on-five, doomed the Minnesota Gophers on Friday, Jan. 4, as the Nittany Lions rallied from an early deficit for a 4-2 win in the opener of their Big Ten series. Brent Gates gave the hosts an early lead, and Jack Ramsey got his first goal of the season in the third, but the Gophers could not come all the way back after falling behind 3-1 in the third. They got 26 saves from goalie Mat Robson.
MINNEAPOLIS -- One does not need a degree in wildlife biology, or to have watched every episode of the late Marlin Perkins’ exploits on “Wild Kingdom” to discern that trying to out-race a lion might be a bad idea. But with eight straight weekends of Big Ten games ahead of them, that’s what the Minnesota Gophers might have to do on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 4-5. With high-scoring Penn State coming to visit, the Gophers primary challenge is finding a way to counteract all of the offense being generated by the “shoot first, last and always” mentality of the Nittany Lions.
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Gophers begin 2019 with 16 consecutive Big Ten games over the next eight weekends, and for at least the first few of them, they will be without senior forward Darian Romanko. “He’s out for a while,” Gophers coach Bob Motzko said on Wednesday, Jan. 2, as the team preps for Penn State’s visit on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 4-5. “A couple weeks more for sure.”