MINNEAPOLIS - We’re talking hockey this week on the Fox 9 Gopher Coaches Show as Bob Motzko and the University of Minnesota men’s hockey team are getting ready for the NCAA Tournament.
Motzko joined Fox 9's Hobie Artigue, and KFAN Gophers' analyst Justin Gaard to talk about winning the Big Ten Tournament, and refocusing for the NCAA Tournament.
The Gophers received a No. 1 seed, and were ranked No. 3 overall, after holding off Wisconsin in a 6-4 win to take the Big Ten Tournament championship last week. Motzko is in his third season at Minnesota, and it’s his first trip to the NCAA Tournament with the Gophers. Not a bad way to celebrate the 100th season of Gopher hockey.
"It’s a special group. They care deeply about each other, they care deeply about this program. They’ve had a terrific season, we just want to keep it alive right now," Motzko said.
The Gophers (23-6) have won four straight heading into the NCAA Tournament, including winning three games in three nights to take the Big Ten Tournament. They’re the No. 1 seed in the Loveland Regional and will head to Colorado to face Nebraska-Omaha at 9 p.m. Saturday. The winner advances to face the Minnesota State-Mankato/Quinnipiac winner Sunday night, for a trip to the NCAA Frozen Four.
For the first time ever, all five Minnesota Division I programs (Gophers, MSU-Mankato, Bemidji State, St. Cloud State and Minnesota-Duluth) are in the field.
It’s the Gophers’ first trip to the NCAA Tournament since the 2016-17 season, when they lost to Notre Dame in the opening round. Minnesota hasn’t been to a Frozen Four since the 2013-14 season, when it lost to Union in the NCAA title game. It’s Motzko’s ninth trip as a head coach.
"The celebration is over. It’s back to work," Motzko said.