Lots of news and accomplishments this week from Minnesota.
Hey hockey fans, it has been an exciting week in the State of Hockey. Though the Wild have had a couple of embarrassing losses this week, they have jumped all over the Oilers in Edmonton thus far tonight with a 6-2 lead through the second period. Wild superstar, Kirill Kaprizov also played his 100th game this week and has tallied 49 goals and 61 assists in that timeframe. Matt Boldy has been lighting up the scoreboard since his promotion to the Minnesota Wild, averaging almost a point-per-game.
The Wild lost to Winnipeg and Florida earlier this week, 6-3 and 6-2, respectively. It’s not like we lost to Arizona or something, but it appears as though Evason has righted the ship as they are blowing out the Oilers tonight, as I mentioned earlier. As we have seen this season, I expect the Wild to keep their foot on the gas and we will perhaps see a few more Wild goals yet tonight.
As any Wild fan knows, usually if we had a lead this big in most of the past 21 seasons, they would turn to a prevent defense quicker than the Vikings would, with usually the same results. Wild Head Coach, Dean Evason knows better, so Edmonton is already in for a long night.
Mavericks Claim CCHA Title, Gopher Women Win WCHA Title
Let’s turn to college hockey. For the fifth-straight year, the Minnesota State Mavericks (21-3-0) have won the MacNaughton Cup, as they beat Bemidji State in a home contest in Mankato. They are the number one seed in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) and will face No. 8 St. Thomas in the first round of the playoffs. If you don’t know, the MacNaughton Cup is the greatest (and oldest) trophy in collegiate hockey. It is 108 years old (first made in 1908) and weighs 40 pounds. Only the Stanley Cup itself, is older in terms of hockey trophies.
Mavericks Head Coach, Mike Hastings and forward, Nate Smith returned to the team after their appearance in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Certainly, it was a memorable experience, though after losing to Slovakia, it was a heartbreaking visit as well. However, coming back to another MacNaughton Cup, will lessen their disappointment. Congratulations to the Mavericks!! Horns up!!!
For the first time since 2019, the Minnesota Golden Gopher Women’s hockey team won the WCHA after a pair of 7-1 victories over St. Thomas this weekend. This is the 11th championship in program history, winning the Julianne Bye Cup and securing the #1 seed in the WCHA playoffs. With a 26-7-1 record for the regular season, the Gophers and Tommies will meet in the first round of the playoffs in a best-of-3 series (sorry Tommies).
The Men’s Minnesota Golden Gophers (swept Penn State in PA over the weekend. Most notably, the Gophers clawed their way back from a 3-0 deficit on Saturday, to win 6-4. Head Coach, Bob Motzko won his 350th career game in February and the Gophers have been hot in recent weeks, not surrendering a power-play goal in the last seven games. Three current Gophers will return from the Olympics in Beijing this week, Ben Meyers, Brock Faber and Matthew Knies. This year’s Olympics marks the 21st-straight Olympics in which Gopher hockey has been represented, dating back to 1936.
Though the winters in Minnesota blow, literally and figuratively, there’s just something about Minnesota hockey that just warms your heart. Find a rink, a frozen lake or a little pond, and you can be sure that the next generation of Minnesota hockey greatness is sharpening her or his skills. Until then, go MN Wild, IA Wild, Whitecaps, Mavericks and Women’s Gophers!!!!