Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Gopher Hockey Season Over

As a dedicated Minnesota Gopher Hockey fan, I have been licking my wounds the last few days. The second-ranked University of Minnesota men's hockey team saw its season come to an end last weekend as sixth-ranked North Dakota Fighting Sioux edged the Gophers 3-2 in an overtime blitz in the 2007 NCAA West Regional Championship Game at Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. Minnesota tied the game at 2-2 with seven minutes to go in the third period to push the game to overtime where Chris Porter scored on a wraparound to give the Fighting Sioux a berth in the 2007 NCAA Frozen Four.

Minnesota finished its season as the 2006-07 WCHA Regular Season and Playoff Champions and recorded the most wins in a season since the 2001-02 national champion squad went 32-8-4. The game marked the final contest for Minnesota's two seniors - defenseman Mike Vannelli and goaltender Kellen Briggs – both players will be deeply missed next year.

The Fighting Sioux have definitely been worthy opponents this year after they swept the Gophers at home a few weeks back, but the Gophs responded with a victory over them in the WCHA playoffs and I was expecting a hard fought game in the regionals for sure. I have to admit I was shocked the Gophers ended the season outside of the Frozen Four, but I wish the University of North Dakota much luck this weekend in St Louis – if it can’t be the Gophers, then let it be the Sioux!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Gophers Basketball Team has a New Head Coach

The Minnesota Golden Gophers Mens Basketball team has a new head coach, Tubby Smith. Tubby has an impressive winning record as a head basketball coach and I am excited to see what he can bring to the Gophers. Tubby comes to Minnesota from the University of Kentucky Wildcats where he has won an NCAA championship. Unlike some of our past coaches, Tubby know what it feels like to win and it feels good. I am certain that Tubby will not come into a losing situation and I am looking forward to his fast results on the court at Williams Arena. Gopher Basketball Tickets just became a hot Minnesota commodity.

Monday, March 19, 2007


Gopher Hockey fans everywhere can't stop talking about Blake Wheeler's game winning goal Saturday night vs. University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux. It was definitely one of the best goals of the season. In fact, it's extremely rare that college hockey is featured on ESPN's Sportcenter, but Blake Wheeler's overtime goal against North Dakota did just that. Wheeler's diving game winner was featured as one of the top 10 plays on Saturday. The goal was reminiscent of Neal Broten's game-winning goal in the 1979 NCAA Championship, which ironically, also came against UND.

Let’s go Gophers!!!

Up next: NCAA Regionals! The University of Minnesota men’s hockey team was named a Number 1 seed (6th consecutive year) for the 2007 NCAA Tournament and will head to the West Regional at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. The Golden Gophers (30-9-3) will face Number 4 seed Air Force (19-15-5) in the first round of the national tournament on Saturday, March 24 at 2:30 p.m. The Gophers have never face the Air Force team before so it should be an interesting match-up.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Gopher Hockey advances to WCHA Final Five

The Minnesota Golden Gophers hockey team opened the postseason with a 6-2 win over the Alaska Anchorage Seawolves on Friday, March 9th. The maroon and gold never trailed during the Friday night game, taking a 2-1 lead into the first intermission and a 4-2 lead into the second. The Gophers padded its lead in the third period with two more goals to cruise to the 6-2 victory.

The Gophers looked like they were on top of the world Friday, but it came crashing down when Alaska Anchorage shocked Minnesota 2-1 in overtime on Saturday night to force a decisive game three. It was the first ever WCHA Playoff first-round loss for the University of Minnesota men's hockey team at Mariucci Arena. Leading 1-0 in the third period, the Golden Gophers allowed the Seawolves to tie the game at 16:25, setting the stage for Luke Beaverson's game-winning goal at 5:45 of the extra session. Minnesota out-shot UAA 22-14 through two periods, but Alaska Anchorage turned the tables in the last two stanzas, owning a 14-4 advantage on the shot board in the third period and overtime. It was pathetic! The puck was in the Gophers end the entire third period and overtime. Even the start of the game looked sloppy with both teams spending a lot of time in the penalty box. It was a disturbing loss.

On Sunday, the Gophers used a gritty defensive effort to upend Alaska Anchorage 3-1 and claim the best-of-three WCHA Playoff series 2-1 at Mariucci Arena. The Golden Gophers trailed 1-0 after the first period, but rallied with three unanswered goals in the second and third periods. With the win, the Golden Gophers head to the 2007 WCHA Final Five as the tournament's top seed. Minnesota will take on the winner of Thursday's play-in game between Wisconsin and Michigan Tech on Friday, March 16 at 7:07 p.m., at the Xcel Energy Center. There are still Gopher Hockey tickets available so don’t miss this hot, hot playoff series at the “X.”

Monday, March 5, 2007

Gophers hockey looked lazy

The University of Minnesota men's hockey team wrapped up the regular season Saturday night with a lackluster effort, to say the least, losing 5-4 to Michigan Tech in front of 9,998 fans at Mariucci Arena. The 2006-07 WCHA Champions were not playing like champions and Coach Lucia demanded that the Gophers wake-up early for a Sunday morning practice (because that is what champions do.) I commend Lucia for trying to rope the boys in, come on Gophers don’t get lazy on us!

After a stellar game Friday night to win the coveted MacNaughton Cup, Saturday night’s period one and two looked pathetic. The goal tending was lethargic especially when Gopher goaltender Jeff Frazee surrendered four goals on 15 shots. I expect more out of Frazee, he needs to get his head in the game!

The Gophers head into the round one WCHA playoffs at Mariucci Arena as the No. 1 seed. The Gophers play 10th-seeded Alaska Anchorage in game one on Friday March 9th, game two Saturday March 10th and, if needed, game three on Sunday March 11th. Now, Gopher Gal loves her Gophers, but I hate that the games coincide with the Minnesota State High School hockey games and the Xcel Energy Center. It’s almost hockey overload for me!

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Gopher Mens BBall End the Season

The Minnesota Golden Gophers Mens Basketball team ended the regular season with 66-47 loss at Purdue. The Gophers wrapped up the regular season with a 9-21, 3-13 record.

Carl Landry scored 25 points for the Boilermakers and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead Purdue to the win. Minnesota shot 41 percent from the field and owned a 34-26 advantage on the boards. Turnovers were a thorn in Minnesota's side and aided in the teams demise. The Gophers coughed the ball up a season-high 28 times including 15 in the first 15 minutes of the game. The turnovers helped Purdue build an early 13-2 lead as the Gophers did not make a basket until the 13:28 mark when Kevin Payton finally broke into the scoring column for the Gophers.

Minnesota has a bye in the final weekend of conference play. The Gophers will play Thursday at the Big Ten Tournament at the United Center in Chicago. Seeding will be announced following Saturday's conference games. I hope the University of Minnesota will play with more tenacity in the tournament than they did during the regular season. Come on Gophers, turn it up a notch!

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