No. 1 Minnesota looks poised to defend its back-to-back national championships after finishing the regular season 32-1-1. “We want to get to that ultimate prize, but we have some other things we need to do before that,” head coach Brad Frost said. This weekend, the Gophers will kick off their playoff run with a series at Ridder Arena against St. Cloud State in the WCHA First Round. While the team that hits the ice this weekend is the same team the Gophers started with in September, the players on the team have grown since then.
In the State of Hockey, even law schools have hockey teams. And while the Fighting Mondales might not be the official team of the University of Minnesota Law School, they’re as close as it gets. Mondales member Joe Lewis said he first learned about the team when he was researching the law school. “If you go on the [University] Law School Wikipedia page, there’s a section on the hockey team,” Lewis said. “That’s something that’s unique to Minnesota.”
Minnesota, plagued by pitching struggles, dropped two of three games to Creighton over the weekend in Fort Myers, Fla. “We have to pitch, and we have to play defense,” head coach John Anderson said. “We didn’t do those two things very well this weekend.” The Gophers gave up 24 runs and committed four errors in three games. Minnesota came back from a four-run deficit in Friday’s 10-5 win. It was the team’s only win of the series.
The U.S. women’s hockey team lost to Canada 3-2 in overtime in Thursday’s gold-medal game. Team USA took home the silver medal with the loss, and Switzerland won the bronze. The United States led 2-0 late in the third period, but Canada scored at 56:34 to pull within one goal. Team Canada pulled its goalie, and the Americans nearly sealed the gold medal with an empty-net goal. That chance came and went late in the game when the puck slid across the ice and collided with the post.
No. 1 Minnesota, on the hunt for a third straight NCAA title, will head into the playoffs on a high note. The Gophers swept rival Minnesota-Duluth at home with two dominating 6-0 wins over the weekend. This weekend built on the momentum from last weekend, when Minnesota swept No. 2 Wisconsin on the road. “[We’re] coming away with three shutouts here in the last three games against pretty good teams,” head coach Brad Frost said. “We’re as healthy as we’re going to be, so that’s a positive going [into the playoffs].”
The U.S. men’s hockey team advanced to the Olympic semifinals after beating the Czech Republic 5-2 on Wednesday. Former Gophers forward Phil Kessel scored the team’s final goal early in the third period. Before the former Gophers men’s hockey player scored, Team USA had already jumped out to a commanding 4-1 lead. The Czechs scored a late goal to make it 5-2, but that goal had no impact on the end result. The Americans will play Canada on Friday at 11 a.m.
The longest-standing argument between the seniors on the Gophers women’s hockey team involves a sugar spoon. Some of them think it’s OK to put a sugar spoon back in the bowl after using it to stir coffee. And others say it’s best to get a new spoon. Now, however, they have a spout for their sugar and those who want to use spoons to stir can do so. That said, the four teammates and roommates — Kelly Terry, Bethany Brausen, Baylee Gillanders and Sarah Davis — don’t argue a lot.
Mark Tatera is the only player on the Gophers baseball roster that has the letters “UT” by his name. While many players on the roster play multiple positions, Tatera is the only one listed as a utility player. “No matter where I’ve gone, I’ve never really had a position,” he said. The junior played a combination of shortstop and catcher growing up and also spent time in center field. As a freshman at Duke, Tatera caught and played third in the fall but was put at second in the spring season.
Austria’s men’s hockey team, which sports former Gophers hockey player Thomas Vanek, lost Tuesday to Slovenia. The Austrians were shut out 4-0. Vanek had four shots on goal in the game. Team Austria is 1-3 in Olympic play and has been eliminated from medal contention. Team USA The U.S. men’s hockey team will return to action Wednesday at 11 a.m. against the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals. If the Americans win, they will move on to play the winner of the Canada-Latvia quarterfinal matchup in the semifinals.
The U.S. women’s hockey team guaranteed itself at least a silver medal early Monday morning with a 6-1 win over Sweden in the semifinals. Team USA dominated Sweden up and down the ice and grossly outshot the Swedes 70-9 in the semifinal win. Former Gophers defenseman Megan Bozek lit the lamp once and added two assists. Her former teammate, Gophers forward Amanda Kessel, added a goal and an assist of her own. Gigi Marvin, who also played at Minnesota, added an assist.