Gopher Hockey Advances to the Frozen Four


Charlie Rapheal, Editor

The 2023 NCAA Men’s Hockey tournament is through two of its four rounds, meaning the original sixteen teams from all over the country have been shrunk down to the Frozen Four. Each remaining team has won their first two games, and looks forward to playing in the semifinals on April 6th to get a chance to play in the championship on April 8th. Among the remaining teams are your Minnesota Gophers, Boston University, Michigan, and Quinnipiac. 

The Gophers started off the tournament sporting the No. 1 seed in the country, and the score of their first game against Canisius reflected that. The Gophers defeated the Golden Griffins 9-2, however the game was still close into the second period with the Gophers down 2-1. “We all saw it, I mean it was probably the closest 9-2 game I’ve ever seen,” said head coach Bob Motzko. “We stuck to our game plan and kept getting pucks deep and we had to grind tonight because of how they were gonna play” he added after. The Gophers tied it up and then took the lead during the second, and ran away with the help of some Canisius penalties in the third. The other game from our region consisted of St.Cloud State vs Minnesota State, in which a relatively uneventful game led to a 4-0 win for St. Cloud State.   

“They won a championship to get into the tournament, so they were kinda playing off that high of winning a championship and being in a championship game and they brought the ‘they have nothing to lose’ factor into the game” -Bryce Brodzinski about Canisius’ strong start. 

Moving into our second round, the Gophers played St. Cloud State and defeated them 4-1 with the help of an empty net goal to finish the game. This secured their spot in the Frozen Four, and booked them a trip to Tampa, Florida to keep their season going. 

“Our guys just held so strong tonight to finish that thing out”

— Bob Motzko

Michigan’s region went as expected with Michigan defeating Colgate in the first round at a staggering 11-1. The Penn State vs Michigan Tech game was similar, with Penn State sporting a shutout and winning 8-0. In the second round, the game between Michigan and Penn State was much closer, as it went into overtime with a score of 1-1. The teams who scored a combined 19 goals in each of their first games kept each other to only one a piece throughout three periods, and the game was decided when Mackie Samoskevich from Michigan scored in overtime. 

The first real upset of the tournament came from Boston University’s region, in which Cornell gave Denver an early first round exit by a score of 2-0. After the game, Cornell’s head coach Mike Schafer commented “I commend our guys to come out tonight, and on a big stage, play the kind of hockey that we know we’re capable of, and we’ve been playing all year long. I’m very proud of our players.” Before the game, Cornell was ranked No. 12 in the country to Denver’s No. 4. Boston defeated Western Michigan 5-1 in the other game, and played Cornell to get into the Frozen Four. Boston beat Cornell 2-1, and secured a spot in Tampa. 

The region with Quinnipiac, Merrimack, Harvard, and Ohio State also had two high scoring games in the first round. Quinnipiac, who some coaches voted to give the No. 1 rank over the Gophers, defeated Merrimack with a score of 5-0. In the Ohio State Harvard game, Ohio State put up 8 goals to Harvard’s 1. Quinnipiac and Ohio State faced off to get into the Final Four, and Quinnipiac won 4-1. 

The first two rounds are over, and the Final Four schedule has been decided. It will be the Minnesota Gophers facing off against Boston University, and Michigan facing off against Quinnipiac. Both of these games take place on Thursday, April 6th at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. The winners of these games will play two days later for the championship.