MINNEAPOLIS – It’s been a whirlwind eight months for Bob Motzko, and it commenced before ever stepping foot on the ice with the College of Minnesota men’s hockey group.
Past July, the unthinkable grew to become truth. His 20-calendar year-old son, Mack, was killed in a vehicle crash. The driver of the motor vehicle he was in, 51-12 months-previous James Blue, was allegedly impaired at the time and charged with legal vehicular murder.
Speedy ahead to two weeks in the past, and Bob Motzko aided lead the Gophers to a sweep of Wisconsin and the Significant 10 typical season title. Past Saturday, Sammy Walker scored late in the third interval as Minnesota conquer Penn State 3-2 to progress to this weekend’s Huge Ten title recreation.
The Gophers will host Michigan Saturday evening, with both equally groups in the top rated-four of the PairWise rankings and confirmed to be in the NCAA Event, no matter of who normally takes the Big Ten hardware. This week, Motzko was named the Huge Ten Mentor of the Calendar year for the 2nd time in a few seasons. Ben Meyers was named the Player of the Calendar year, and Brock Faber was named the Defensive Participant of the Calendar year.
“This is a excellent time of yr as prolonged as you preserve winning. Great accolades for our fellas, no concern this 7 days. Nicely-deserved,” Motzko mentioned. “We dodged a bullet past 7 days, but it sets up for a good championship activity with Michigan. We’re in a fantastic spot suitable now.”
“He’s surely taken care of it like the Big Ten Mentor of the Calendar year would,” Faber reported of Motzko’s whirwind calendar year.
Motzko has dealt with personal decline, having players get harm and dropping Jack LaFontaine to the NHL. To this stage, the Gophers have not blinked. They’ve won nine straight, together with the past eight of the normal period, heading into Saturday’s Big 10 title match.
“The biggest detail I’ll take to the end is when you think in your players and you just like becoming all around your workforce, have a excellent staff and good players and throw in a goalie, very fantastic components,” Motzko stated. “They’ve just been a constant group.”
The Wolverines are no slouch. They’re 15-3 because the calendar turned to 2022, with one particular loss to the Gophers and a pair to Notre Dame. The Gophers are 16-3, with losses to Alaska, Michigan and Notre Dame. But none of that actually issues occur Saturday.
“It’s one activity to gain the Significant Ten playoffs, that is all it is,” stated Meyers, also a Hobey Baker Award top rated-10 finalist.
What they do know is they’ll have an electric powered environment at 3M at Mariucci Arena on Saturday, bringing back reminiscences to the Gophers’ times in the WCHA. All five sections for college students are marketed out, and it should be as packed a residence as any because Minnesota joined the Large 10.
Saturday is just the start in the Gophers’ eyes. They have not been to a Frozen 4 because 2014, and they have not gained a nationwide title since 2003. They have to defeat Michigan ahead of setting up that journey.
“We’re on the clock now. This is when Gopher hockey is considered to do even larger and far better points and we want to guaranteed get just after it,” Motzko explained.
“It’s likely to be an fascinating weekend. It is going to be a fun group, a exciting environment and we’re unquestionably thrilled over in that locker place,” Faber stated.