Gopher's men's hockey gets enough big games to earn splits with the Buckeyes - Twin Cities | MCU Times

Gopher’s men’s hockey gets enough big games to earn splits with the Buckeyes – Twin Cities

In addition to being a college hockey coach, Bob Motzko has spent a lot of time on ice rinks in the role of hockey dad, and he knows how much time and money parents earn from building their children’s skills on the ice.

As such, he never tells his players to be conservative if they have a chance to play. That advice paid off late in Gophers’ 2-0 win over Ohio State on Saturday night at the 3M Arena in Mariucci, which earned a split of their two-game Big Ten series.

With Gophers leading with a goal in the third period and skating on their only powerplay in the game, freshman sensation Matthew Knies made an eye-catching individual game for his fifth goal of the season, doubling the team’s lead at a critical time.

“Our guys have the green light to play any game they can. I’ve always said their parents spent a lot of money developing them and $ 300 for a stick. Use the damn thing,” Motzko said. “They have the ability to make plays.”

Minnesota Gophers goalkeeper Jack LaFontaine received a hug from teammate Blake McLaughlin after making 13 saves for his first shutout of the season in a 2-0 final by Ohio State on Saturday at the 3M Arena in Mariucci, Minneapolis. Bjorn Franke / University of Minnesota Athletics

After perhaps their most disappointing game of the season – a 4-3 loss to the Buckeyes on Friday after leading 3-0 – the Gophers (7-5-0, 4-2-0 Big Ten) made the necessary bets to win and get their game back on track. Motzko effectively distorted the line chart in advance and got enough offensive and solid defense – keeping the Buckeyes to just 13 shots on goal – in front of goalkeeper Jack LaFontaine. After an uncharacteristic off night Friday, LaFontaine got its first shutout of the season.

“We needed to play like that for him. We’ve hung him out to dry too many times this year and we had to play a complete match in front of him,” Motzko said. “We did that tonight. He is our workhorse, and we can not do that to him. That’s many times ago. Tonight was a good night for him. “

Jonny Sorenson, who started the game on the fourth line, got Gophers on the board in the waning seconds of the opening period. Freshman Aaron Huglen made a no-look pass from below the goal line to Sorenson, and he ripped a high shot that came over the shoulder of Ohio State goalkeeper Jakub Dobes, caught the far post and ricocheted in with 4.2 seconds on the clock. the second goal of the season.

“I knew time was running out, so I just wanted a shot on the net, honestly. It was a good shot, I think,” Sorenson said. “My eyes were closed if I remember correctly.”

The Buckeyes appeared to have taken an early lead on a powerplay in the first period when Jake Wise shot a puck past LaFontaine, but the referees immediately signaled that there was no goal because an Ohio State player was in the fold of the game. The call got up after video review.

“We did what we had to. We came hard in the first period and we did not give up much,” said Buckeye coach Steve Rohlik. “Suddenly we get a dismissal and they score with four seconds left of the period. It was still a one-shot match in the third, we just did not do enough to win. ”

Knies joked that he fainted after his goal, which came after he made a deft pull around a Buckeye defender and then turned a backhand shot past Dobes. Knies is from a Slovak-American family and speaks the language. He joked that it might mean more to score on Dobes, who is from the Czech Republic.

“I said ‘good fight’ to him in Slovak, so hopefully he understood,” Knies said. “There’s a little bit of rivalry there.”

Dobes finished with 20 saves as the Buckeyes dropped to 7-3-0 overall and 4-2-0 in the conference. The Gophers are home next weekend for a Big Ten series with Penn State.

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