This past Sunday, the Golden Gopher women narrowly missed a chance to win their third consecutive NCAA Hockey Championship, falling to Clarkson University 5-4 in an unexpected heart-breaker.
This upcoming Saturday, the Gopher men will begin their pursuit of tournament glory, taking on Robert Morris at the Xcel Center in the opening round of the 16-team NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Championships.
The Gophers skated to an impressive (26 – 6 – 6) record this season, earning the inaugural Big Ten Conference regular season title, and the #1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. Their opponent, the Robert Morris University Colonials, finished with a (19 – 17 – 5) record playing in the Atlantic Hockey Association.
It’s hard to believe, but it’s been eleven years since the Gophers last hoisted the NCAA Championship trophy. Back in in 2002 and 2003, the Gopher men accomplished what the women did just recently, winning back-to-back national titles. (The women have actually won consecutive titles twice — in 2004-2005 and in 2012-2013—since the men’s last title).
Since their triumph in 2003, the Gopher men have made the NCAA Tournament seven times, but have failed to advance past the semi-finals in each of those appearances.
The Gophers push for a trip to the Frozen Four and a shot at this year’s title begins at Xcel Energy Center on Saturday at 4:30 pm. The first round game will also be televised on ESPN2.