Golden Gopher Hockey at Mariucci
The 2018-19 Division 1 college hockey season is now underway.
The University of Minnesota opened the season against last year’s national champion Minnesota-Duluth with a home and home series.
On Saturday the two programs skated to a tough 1-1 tie in Duluth.
Stub & Herb’s, a campus tradition
Minnesota came out in a flurry for new coach Bob Motzko’s first home game. At the end of the first period, the Gophers held a 3-0 lead, with sophomore Brannon McManus netting two.
The Gophers were overtaken by an unnatural desire to sit in the penalty box for period two, which gave Duluth some life. The Bulldogs would score the first two goals of the period, but Sammy Walker would follow up with a goal for Minnesota and Rem Pitlick would add a short handed tally for the Gophers. Minnesota now led 5-2.
The two teams would trade goals in the final frame, giving Minnesota a 7-4 win over their in-state rival.
The Bulldogs outshot Minnesota 46-23, mainly due to the nine penalties the Gophers took. Junior goaltender Mat Robson was solid in net for Minnesota.
It was a good atmosphere at Mariucci, with 8000+ fans in the stands for a Sunday night game.
Two Harbors, Minnesota
Gooseberry Falls with Lake Superior in the far background
My cousin and I decided we needed a hiking trip when I was back in Minnesota, and her suggestion to head up I-35 to Duluth was met with enthusiasm by me. The Duluth area is special to her, and I had not spent much time along the North Shore of Lake Superior in years.
We ended up at Gooseberry Falls State Park, which allowed us to jump on the Superior Hiking Trail. The SHT runs along Lake Superior’s North Shore for 310 miles between Duluth and the Canadian border. We would hike 8-10 miles of it on this warm April day.
The Gooseberry River
We spent much of the hike within sight of the river. The Gooseberry flows 23 miles before it reaches Lake Superior. It was an incredible day for a hike, with temps in the mid seventies, which was warmer than the Twin Cities on this day.
I had hiked a good section of the SHT years ago, and it is a wonderful trail. Grouse were drumming all along the hike, and one flushed right next to my cousin, which was amusing to watch. How was I to know that she had no idea the bird was within a few feet of her?
The river provides five waterfalls within the park, and all are accessible by trail.
After making my loop through the UP to Duluth, I had to stop by Canal Park for a visit to Grandma’s Saloon and a walk along the shore. The wind had already been working on the waves, and everything was coated with a slick glaze of ice. Still, it was a nice day to be alongside Superior.
I made it over to the city’s iconic aerial lift bridge. The lift bridge began life as an extremely rare transporter bridge in 1905. One of only two such bridges ever built in the United States, a transporter bridge carries a section of roadway across a span – like a gondola. In 1929, the bridge was converted to a vertical lift bridge, which is also uncommon.
The span is 390 feet, and can be raised to it’s full height of 135 feet in 60 seconds.
This Minnesota senior class has won four consecutive regular season championships, been to two Frozen Fours and one National Championship game, but they have not won a tournament championship. It’s their last chance, and the Michigan Wolverines stand in their way.
The season series has each team with two wins. This is the rubber match. It should be a very entertaining game at Joe Louis. The winner is guaranteed a spot in the National Tourney, and Michigan has to win to get in.
Graphic courtesy of Golden Gopher Hockey
Update: 22 March
Captain Kyle Rau with the B1G Tournament Trophy. Photo credit: StarTribune
The University of Minnesota Golden Gophers defeated the University of Michigan Wolverines 4-2 in the Big Ten Championship game. The victory gives Minnesota the automatic bid into the NCAA tournament, and the loss knocks Michigan out of the field for the third year in a row after 22 consecutive appearances.
The Gophers will move on to the Northeastern Regional in Manchester, NH to face the Bulldogs of Duluth. It will be the fifth meeting this year between UM & UMD.