Tag Archives: hockey

Golden Gopher Hockey


Mariucci, with the Extra M’s cut off

As I spend some time in the Twin Cities, I decided to drive onto the University of Minnesota campus Friday to take in some Gopher hockey. It’s starting to look like hockey weather down here with some snow in the air. The Golden Knights of Clarkson were taking on the Golden Gophers of Minnesota.

It was a very even game for two periods; both Clarkson & Minnesota are good skating clubs. The game was scoreless after one period, and Minnesota led 1-0 after two, on a Scott Reedy goal.

Minnesota seemed to gain an edge in the third period, with extended play in the Clarkson zone. Minnesota would score two more in the final period on goals by Rem Pitlick and Brent Gates Jr. Clarkson broke the shutout with a goal at the 18:42 mark.

Minnesota had a 3-1 non-conference win.
Stars of the game:
#3 Reedy for the first goal.
#2 Casey Mittelstadt with two assists
#1 Rem Pitlick for a goal and a constant presence on the ice.

Eric Schierhorn had 26 saves for Minnesota, and Jake Kielly had 25 for Clarkson.

The same two teams meet again for round two Saturday night.



MMMariucci Arena

Mark Coyle, the new athletic director at the University of Minnesota, has been threatening it for months. I suppose that softens the blow a bit. At least it comes as no surprise that the athletic department has sold out Mariucci Arena, the home of Golden Gopher Hockey, to Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing. Better known as 3M.

Mariucci will be rechristened 3M Arena at Mariucci on October 1, when the Gophers play an exhibition game against Alberta, and the University of Minnesota will receive $11.2 million over 14 years for the sell out.

Most of the press release will cause alum to vomit, but my favorite part was:
“Today’s announcement brings together three names instantly recognizable across Minnesota –Mariucci, Gopher Hockey and 3M — and that’s certainly exciting.” — Mark Coyle

Oh, I’m excited all right.

No word yet on when Pillsbury Doughboy at Williams will be announced for the venerable old Barn, where the basketball team plays. Expect that in the coming weeks.


Duluth takes on Denver in Chicago

The Frozen Trifecta was back at the United Center on Saturday for some college hockey. The University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs were facing the Denver University Pioneers for the Division 1 Championship. For the first time since the playoff selection went to the 16 team format, we had the #1 ranked team taking on the 2nd ranked team. Denver was the top seed, and they looked like it against Notre Dame in the semi-finals. Duluth would have their hands full.

Denver continued where it left off against the Irish, and really dominated play to start the first period. Duluth settled down around the 10 minute mark, and the game was scoreless after one.

Then things became interesting. Jarid Lukosevicius scored for the Pioneers at the 4:44 mark of period two. The announcer was still calling out who had assists on the goal, when Lukosevicius scored again, just 16 seconds later. Denver could smell blood, and Duluth was in chaos, when the official called a television timeout, and the Bulldogs were able to regroup.
Alex Iafallo, the hero from Thursday night, scored a power play goal for UMD, to make the score 2-1. Lukosevicius, out to prove that the third time really is a charmer, scored his third tally of the night. Lukosevicius’ hat trick happened over a span of 7 minutes, 39 seconds. The last time there was a hat trick in the championship game was in 1993, when the Denver head coach, Jim Montgomery, scored one for Maine against Lake Superior State.

The third period began with Duluth down 3-1, and they came out on fire. Much of the play was in the Denver zone, and the Bulldogs were flying to the puck. Riley Tufte finally put one behind Pionner goalie Tanner Jaillet. UMD suddenly had new life, and they stepped up the pressure even more. Duluth outshot Denver in the third period 17-3. But Jaillet, who had just won the Mike Richter Award as the Nation’s top college goal tender, held firm. Denver would keep that one goal lead, after a wild third period, to earn their 8th National Championship in hockey.


DU players celebrate on the ice

Jaillet would make 38 saves for Denver, and Hunter Miska would have 25 for Duluth.
Announced attendance was 19,783.

The Frozen Four moves to St Paul, MN for the 2018 championship.


United Center

Chicago, Illinois


Walking up to the United Center in Chicago. We have never parked this close to the arena before.

The Frozen Four moved to Chicago for 2017, and the Frozen Foursome was down to two of its regular members, and their ringleader unable to make the trip. All of this meant that we were getting by as the Frozen Trifecta.


Harvard & UMD during warmups

Harvard was to take on the University of Minnesota Duluth in the first game. Both teams had been number one seeds in their regional the week before.


Game One Introductions

Harvard would score first on a power play goal by Tyler Moy in the first period. Duluth had looked very good up to that point with several scoring chances behind an excellent forecheck, but it was the Crimson that would draw first blood.
The Bulldogs would tie things up 3-1/2 minutes later on a goal by Joey Anderson.
The second period was scoreless, and the game remained tied until late in the third. Duluth’s Willie Raskob placed a beautiful pass onto Alex Iafallo’ stick, and Iafallo slipped the puck between Harvard goaltender Merrick Madsen’s legs with 26.6 seconds remaining in the game, for a 2-1 UND lead.
UMD looked to be in great shape, but then they iced the puck. With the face-off deep in Duluth’s end, the Crimson furiously attacked the net, with a shot hitting the pipe, and another hitting the crossbar. Duluth would hang on to win, sending them into Saturday’s championship game.
Madsen had 36 saves for Harvard, and Hunter Miska had 39 for Duluth.


Denver and Notre Dame introductions

The University of Denver Pioneers would face the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame in game two. It was obvious early, that the Irish would have their hands full. Denver totally dominated play in all three periods and would go on to a 6-1 win.
Cal Petersen of Notre Dame would have 36 saves on the night, and Tanner Jaillet of Denver would save 16 of the 17 shots he faced.

Announced attendance was 19,626.


Ewigleben Ice Arena

Big Rapids, Michigan

Ferris State Bulldogs

After the cavernous Schott of Ohio State, I was in for a 180 degree turn of events when I walked into the home of the Ferris State University Bulldogs. In a word, the rink is intimate.

Bulldogs are in the house

Ewigleben officially seats 2493. It has a very low ceiling, and one side of the rink has the two benches and the two penalty boxes between the benches. There are no seats on that side. A very unique arena.

Opening face-off
Opening face-off

My seat was in the front row, which I rarely like to do, but in this case, I certainly got immersed into the Bulldog cult, so it was probably worth it. I did have a great view of the ice.

The Dawg Pound
The student section, or “The Dawg Pound”

As for the game: The Bowling Green Falcons were in town for game one of a two game series. The first period play was fast, and we saw some very good hockey. Tyler Andrew scored the only goal in the period for the Bulldogs, assisted by Rob Rutkowski and Zach Szajner. I thought Rutkowski had a good overall game on defense.
Tyler Spezia evened things up with a nice goal in the second for Bowling Green. Ferris answered 8 minutes later when Gerald Mayhew buried a pass by Corey Mackin. Mackin is a fun player to watch; he was all over the ice tonight.
Ferris seemingly had the game in control, until they took a 5 minute major for checking from behind. Bowling Green tied things up with a minute left in the penalty.

I had several young boys directly behind me, and at one point, when a Ferris player missed a wide open net, one of the boys, who was around 7 or 8, cried out in exasperation, “OH NUGGETS!” I damn near died laughing, which embarrassed the kid, but I couldn’t help it. Afterwards, when Ferris committed an offsides, or missed a pass, I would say “Nuggets!”, which caused the girl next to me to laugh hysterically. Her boyfriend, oddly enough, did not find me amusing.

The game went into overtime, and the Falcons ended the evening 34 seconds into the extra period on a score by Mark Friedman. A heartbreaking loss for Ferris State. No one had the heart to yell nuggets.

Chris Nell made 21 saves in the win; Justin Kapelmaster had 32 in the loss. The attendance was 1813.

Zamboni

Ewigleben is a tough arena to get any pictures of. I did not bring the Widelux, which really would have come in handy. I did climb up to the higher rows in between periods, just to get an idea of the rink’s layout. It is different, but provides a cool hockey experience.


The Schott

Schottenstein Center
Columbus, Ohio

The Schott exterior

I returned to the site of the 2005 Frozen Four, the Value City Arena inside the Jerome Schottenstein Center, at The Ohio State University, in the middle of Columbus, Ohio. Whew! That’s a lot to plug in an opening sentence.

OSU Pep Band

The OSU Pep Band was there to greet me as I came through the front door. Very considerate, as I had driven a long way to attend.

The Golden Bear

There is a lot of sports history at OSU, and all sports are represented on the banner that runs along both sides of the walkway around the rink, or court, depending on who is playing.

Warmups at the Schott

But, we are back to hockey, as the Wisconsin Badgers took on the Ohio State Buckeyes on the ice. The Schott is a nice venue, but I wouldn’t say it’s all that and a bag of chips for hockey. The first eight rows are temporary seating, where the rows rise slowly, putting everyone farther away from the action than should be. It’s a big venue, with over 17,000 seats for hockey, but the upper bowl is blocked off by black sheets, and even the seats at one end of the ice received the black sheet treatment. For all of Ohio State’s rich athletic history, hockey still remains an afterthought on campus.

Badgers during warmups

The Badgers would draw first blood, but they should not have. Ohio State was on the power play, and had a flurry in front of the Wisconsin net, Jack Berry made several saves, but seemed to lose sight of the puck in the melee. Somehow, the Badgers gained control, and Luke Kunin (of course) scored a nice short handed goal at the other end with one second left on the power play.
Matthew Freytag would score before the period was over, only his second goal of the year, for a 2-0 Badger lead.

Ohio State scored the only goal of the second period, with an absolutely beautiful pass out of the corner by Mason Jobst to Matthew Weis, who was right in front of the net. 2-1 Badgers after two.

Ohio State did finally step things up in the third period, but Berry was up to the task and didn’t allow another puck to get past him.
A lot of bad blood out there between the two squads. From early in the first period, the two teams were throwing punches, and there were constant skirmishes, often away from the puck.

Ryan Wagner finished up the scoring with an empty net goal for Wisconsin, which was assisted by Kunin. Giving Kunin a two point night. Berry finished with 26 saves for Wisconsin, and Christian Frey had 22 for OSU.

Most schools have some amusing traditions for the outsider, and OSU was no exception. I did enjoy the rendition of “The Hockey Song” during the second intermission, with the band members leading the way. Nice job. “Do I play hockey?”