Its been a busy but very positive few days for both the Gopher members on the Women’s US Olympic Team, and for the Minnesota Golden Gophers men’s team. The US Women are 2-0 headed into a big game against Canada Wednesday night, and the Gopher Men are back in a home-ice spot in the Big Ten Tournament after a sweep of the Wisconsin Badgers in Madison.
The US Women’s Olympic Hockey team is off to a 2-0 start in PyeongChang after defeating Finland 3-1 very early Sunday morning, and defeating the Olympic Athletes from Russia 5-0 on Tuesday morning.
The US got off to a bit of a slow start against former Gopher Nora Raaty and Finland in their olympic opener. Finland had a 1-0 lead after the first period, but the US found a way to get two goals past Raaty in the second period. Raaty was pulled near the end of the game, and the Gophers got their first goal of the Olympics when Dani Camaranesi picked up the pick in her own end and skated the length of the ice and put in an empty net goal to give the US a 3-1 win.
Even more Gophers got into the action in the US’s 5-0 win over the Olympic Athletes From Russia Tuesday Morning. Gigi Marvin would get an assist on the first goal of the game scored by Kacey Bellamy to put the US 1-0 after on period.
One-time Gopher for a year Jocelyne Lamoreux would add the next two US goals...in six seconds. It was the fastest two goals in Olympic history—men’s or women’s.
Marvin would get back on the scoresheet with her first goal of the Olympics late in the second period. She cleaned up a rebound of an Amanda Pelkey shot and out the US up 4-0 after two periods.
After Hanna Brandt got a goal taken away due to a “controversial” hand pass call, she made sure her next chance would have no worries of being overturned. Camaranesi made a great play coming into the zone and cutting to the front of the net before she was tripped. But, as she went down to the ice she send a gorgeous pass to Brandt who took it and lifted a backhand shot into the back of the net to put the US up 5-0.
Hannah Brandt gets credit for this goal but Cameranesi should get one too because she sets this whole thing up. VICIOUS cut to the middle before she gets tripped up. pic.twitter.com/qC55ThL3sd— Hannah Bevis (@Hannah_Bevis1) February 13, 2018
With the win, the US clinched a spot in the Semifinals. They still have one pool play game remaining Wednesday night at 10 PM against rival Canada.
Badgers—We Don’t Need Any Stinking Badgers
Meanwhile back in the USA, the Gopher men went into Madison and squeaked out a 4-2 win on Friday night before dominating Wisconsin 7-1 on Saturday night to get the sweep. The sweep gets Minnesota back into fourth place in the Big Ten Standings, three points behind third place Michigan and one point ahead of fifth place Wisconsin, but with a pair of games in hand on both teams. The Gophers also remained at #9 in the pairwise after the weekend and are much closer to clinching an at-large NCAA Tournament bid. According to the most recent predictions by www.collegehockeyranked.com Minnesota appears to just need one more win in their last four regular season games to pretty much put an at-large berth on ice, and they may even be safe if they go 0-4 in their last two series.
The weekend was owned by Tyler Sheehy for Minnesota. The Gopher captain scored three goals and recorded two assists on the weekend including scoring both game winning goals. For his efforts he was named the Big Ten’s #1 Star of the Week and the #2 National Star of the Week!
Sophomore Mat Robson started both games for the Gophers and moved his record to 6-2 on the season. He stopped 61 of 64 shots he faced on the weekend and was named the Big Ten’s #3 Star of the Week!
After backstopping the #Gophers to a #BorderBattle sweep in Madison, @matrobson1 is your Big Ten Third Star of the Week.— Minnesota M Hockey (@GopherHockey) February 13, 2018
The netminder made 61 saves on 64 shots in the series including a career-high 38 in Friday's opener. #PrideOnIce pic.twitter.com/RuT7Vr57M9
Here are the highlights from the weekend
The Gophers will be back in action for the last regular season series at Mariucci Arena when they host second place Ohio State in a series. The two teams will play at 8 PM on Friday and 4PM on Saturday. The Gophers will honor their five seniors on the roster prior to Saturday’s game in Mike Szmatula, Leon Bristedt, Steve Johnson, Nick Lehr, and Jack Glover.
Nick Seeler to Make NHL Debut
Former Gopher defenseman Nick Seeler will make his NHL debut with the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night when they face the New York Rangers and Gopher alum Vinni Letteri. Seeler will be the 23rd former Gopher to play in the NHL this season, the most of any college hockey program. He will be the 117th alum in school history to make it to the pinnacle of the sport.
Seeler is an Eden Prairie native who played just one season for Minnesota after transferring from Nebraska-Omaha after his sophomore season and sitting out a transfer redshirt year. In Seeler’s only season as a Gopher, he recorded 10 assists in 36 games. He led the Gophers with a plus-21 rating as well as 91 blocked shots.