Gopher Hockey: Catching up on the Boys


Since we last talked, the University of Minnesota Men’s Ice Hockey team has been busy. With 16 games played following their split series at home against the Ohio State Buckeyes and a 10-6 record in those 16 games, the Golden Gophers have had their fair share of ups and downs in their push for a hopeful 2022 National Championship Title.

After their BigTen tilt against Ohio State, the Golden Gophers stayed at home the following weekend for another BigTen matchup against the Penn State Nittany Lions. During their Friday night matchup, the Gophers struggled to pull ahead against the Nittany Lions, in turn falling 3-5. The following night, the Gophers came back with a different deal, taking a 4-2 win against Penn State, and splitting the weekend with the conference rival. 

The following weekend, Goldy and the boys made the road trip west to take on the NCHC powerhouse North Dakota Fighting Hawks. The Gophers strolled into the Ralph with swagger and confidence and played great hockey. On night one of the weekend, the Gophers put a beating on North Dakota, taking home a 5-1 victory in enemy territory. It didn’t take much for the Fighting Hawks to recover, beating the Gophers the next night 3-2, giving the Gophs yet another weekend split.

Continuing on to the Weekend of December 3, the team headed east to the state of Michigan to take on the Wolverines on the road. On Friday, December 3, the Gophers once again strolled into another team’s barn and rolled them 5-1 making the highly touted Wolverines look like a Minnesota high school hockey team, but once again couldn’t close the weekend on Saturday. The Gophers fell by a score of 2-6, once again giving the team a weekend split for their third in a row.

After taking a month-long break over the holiday season, the Golden Gophers started their new year with a special exhibition hockey week starting Sunday, January 2nd and finishing on Monday the 3rd. On Sunday at 2:00 p.m. the boys took on the newly announced Division I hockey team in Minnesota, the University of St. Thomas Tommies, at the historic Doug Woog Arena in South St. Paul. The Gophers rolled the Tommies 5-2 in this exhibition match. The following day the Gophers took on the U.S National Under-18 Team at home. This ended in a 5-3 victory for the Gophers, giving the team two wins on this exhibition doubleheader.

Heading back to Michigan at the end of the exhibition week, the Gophers took on the Michigan State Spartans. Looking to close out a weekend with two wins after splitting the last three weekends, the Gophers showed up with a lot of energy. Taking Friday night’s game by a score of 4-1, and Saturday nights by a margin of 6-3, the Gophers finally closed out a weekend with two wins for their first time since Halloween weekend against Notre Dame. 

After being postponed from the first weekend of the season, the Gophers were back home at the University of Minnesota, battling against the University of Alaska. With a two-win weekend under their belt again, the boys were looking to keep the momentum going, and did so with a Friday night win at Mariucci by a score of 4-1, but weren’t able to carry this through Saturday, losing Saturday night by a tally of 2-3. But this weekend the Gophers were thrown through a loophole. Star goalie Jack LaFontaine signed his first NHL contract with the Carolina Hurricanes and played his first professional game on January the 13th.

On the weekend following, the Gophers again played the Michigan Wolverines; and split another weekend with the total of one win and one loss. Following the split with Michigan, the Gophers split with Notre Dame in Indiana with a 5-1 win and a 2-3 overtime loss.

To close out their 2021-22 hockey season, the Gophers will have four big ten matchups. Starting at home they play Michigan State on February 4 at 7:00 p.m. and February 5 at 5:00 p.m. February 11 and 12, the team will head to Columbus to play Ohio State at 5:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. Next, they head out to University Park, PA to take on Penn State, and the boys finish out the regular season at home taking on their border rival Wisconsin Badgers Friday, February 25 at 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, February 26.