It's already been 10 years?
My oh my, time sure does go by fast! It was April 9, 2003 when PrideOnIce.com went down during the week of the Frozen Four in Buffalo where our Gophers were about to repeat as NCAA Champs. If I recall correctly... I think the problem was that Matt & Kyle Barron, the guys who ran POI, were both in Buffalo following the team and could not do anything to get POI back up and running. The fans had no place to go to talk about the team. So I used my family domain to create a temporary message board so the fans had a place to go until POI came back up... That "temporary" message board celebrates 10 years of existence today.
The message board was all the site was at first. Then in August of that year I switched it over from my family domain to GopherPuckLive. Most people came here to see the highlight videos that I would post from each game. That was until someone at FOX saw the Danny Irmen penalty shot video that went a bit viral. They forced me to stop posting videos. This was long before the days of YouTube, so it sucked that I had to stop created them. But I really didn't feel like messing with lawyers. The funny thing is that many of those videos have since been posted to YouTube by other people.
GPL really took off after Matt & Kyle Barron decided to shut down POI on February 11, 2005. At the time we had about 200 registered users, but it was still pretty quiet on the site. Over the next few days GPL added over 150 new users and it's been growing slowly ever since.
I believe that Ryan Cardinal started writing articles for GPL back in the fall of 2005. Though I am not quite sure on the dates. He was joined by Jeff Oftos in early 2006. Were started getting credentialed by the UofM in the fall of 2006. Covered our first Final Five in 2007. This past season Erik Vegoe came on as a full time writer since Ryan Cardinal decided to retire. We also added Chris Eckes to help out when Jeff & Erik were not available. GPL would not be what it is today without them. So a big thanks goes out to the writers!
I need to thank Scott Hamilton (Hammy) who along with Cardinal & Vegoe have made doing the GPL Podcast a ton of fun to do. I think we do great podcast and other fun live broadcasts that give the fans something a bit different compared to other websites. Sure we're not professional broadcasters, but we really don't care. We have fun and that's all that matters!
I also would like to thank Sean Sullivan (Greyeagle) and Jerred Kline (Bert). Both of these guys have been the main GPL message board moderators since POI shut down in 2005. They have kept order on this site and that is no easy feat! Many message boards have turned in to utter crap due to lack of rules and moderating. I think GPL is the best moderated board out there and it's all due to these two!
Finally... I want to thank all of you! The GPL users! You guys make this place a great community for Gopher fans and college hockey fans! Your love for college hockey is what makes you special. I have had the chance to meet a lot of the GPL'ers and it's a great group of people! So thank you for making GPL what it is today!
So cheers to GPL making it to it's 10th anniversary!
Craig "Jupiter" Cotner
Yale Ends Minnesota Season 3-2 in Overtime
Schmidt and Budish Goals Force OT, But Yale Scores Nine Seconds in Extra Period
Minnesota had high expectations going into the 2012-13 season and while a MacNaughton Cup defense was a big achievement in their last season as part of the WCHA, many fans were disappointed with their early exit in the NCAA losing to Yale 3-2 in overtime.
Minnesota had a five period streak of scoreless of hockey end as Nate Schmidt scored midway into the third and then Zach Budish forced overtime with a goal minutes later. The Gophers didn’t get much of a chance in overtime though, as Yale capitalized on a giveaway and scored nine seconds into the extra period ending the number two overall’s season earlier than most expected.
Erik Haula had one of his strongest games in maroon and gold, but the team effort wasn’t enough to overcome a game where Minnesota was content to play on the edges of the ice at Van Andel Arena. The Gophers too often tried to generate chances from outside the dots, and weren’t able to generate legitimate scoring chances throughout much of the game.
Yale capitalized on two lapses in effort by the Minnesota attack. First, Yale got on the board first in the second period when the Elis took advantage of a turnover at their own blue line for a 4-on-2 rush. Kenny Agostino was the fourth player to join the rush and took a pass from Andrew Miller and snapped the puck into the top left corner at 7:08. Second, Yale added to their lead at 15:28 when they were able to get another chance after the Gophers turned the puck over at the offensive blue line. Yale capitalized on the Gophers scrambling as a point shot from Gus Young got through traffic and past Wilcox. It looked like Antoine Laganiere might have got a stick on the puck to keep it from going wide, but Young was credited with the goal.
Schmidt finally broke the Gopher goalless streak at 108 minutes, getting a goal by getting a shot through traffic at 8:12 of the third period. Kyle Rau and Haula got assists on the play as Minnesota was finally able to get a shot from the middle of the ice on net.
Budish evened up the score just over five minutes later at 13:40 of the third period when he was able to convert a Haula pass from the corner of the post and past Yale goalie Jeff Malcom to tie the game at two.
Minnesota won the draw to start the overtime period but Ben Marshall mishandled a reverse pass to Seth Helgeson, Agostino picked up the loose puck behind the net, dished it to Jesse Root who was all alone and converted the chance to end the Gopher season just nine seconds into overtime.
Wilcox made 23 saves on the night and was steady for much of the game. Agostino’s goal and Root’s goal were off passes that had the freshman goalie movie across his crease and were situations where the shooter wasn’t pressured at all by forwards coming back into the zone. Minnesota dominated in the face-off circle 47-21, earned five power play chances, but only had the one power play goal and only outshot Yale 28-26.
Helgeson is the only senior who has played out his eligibility, but the Gophers enter the off-season with plenty of questions about early departures. Haula seems a lock to sign with the Minnesota Wild and get assigned to Houston for some AHL experience. Many expect Nick Bjugstad to soon sign with Florida, and Schmidt will be entertaing offers as an NHL free agent. Zach Budish may get an offer to sign with Nashville, and there are other less likely flight risks who may consider moving on such as Mark Alt and Marshall and Justin Holl.
Photo by: Craig Cotner
Gophers Complete Undefeated Season with 6-3 Win in National Title Game
41 wins, zero losses, zero ties. One national championship.
In perhaps the most anticipated Womens’ college hockey game in history, the Gophers did not disappoint, avoiding the tense moments of the last several games and leading wire-to-wire to capture the title. Tickets to the game were selling for $100 each on the street, and fans that paid that ransom were in for a show. Minnesota got on the board first and never looked back, methodically taking apart Boston University on their way to the NCAA championship.
After a fairly even start to the game, Minnesota struck first as Mira Jalosuo scored her 11th goal of the season on a slapshot from the top of the right circle. Rachel Ramsey and Sarah Davis assisted on the powerplay goal at 11:38 of the first. The Gophers would get out to a 2-0 lead on a shorthanded goal by Hannah Brandt, her 33rd of the season. Amanda Kessel and Baylee Gillanders got the assists, and the assist was Kessel’s 98th point of the year. BU got on the board just 16 seconds later at 18:48 of the period, on Sarah Lefort’s 24th of the year. The powerplay tally would draw the Terriers within one, but that’s as close as they’d be for the rest of the game.
The Gophers dominated possession throughout the second period, and were rewarded with late goals from Amanda Kessel and Milica McMillen (powerplay) to go into the locker room with a 4-1 lead.
BU showed signs of life in the third, as a powerplay goal early in the period brought them within two at 4-2. The Gophers held that lead through another BU powerplay and several tense moments, until Rachel Ramsey scored on a 3-on-2 rush to give the Gophers a 3 goal lead. Maryanne Menefee and Amanda Kessel assisted on the goal, and the assist was Kessel’s 100th point of the year. BU pulled their goalie with just under three minutes left and scored, making the game 5-3 with 2:52 left in the game. The final two-plus minutes were tense despite the two-goal Gopher lead, but an Amanda Kessel empty net goal lessened the pressure inside a packed Ridder Arena. As the clock hit triple-zeroes the ladies in gold were the ones celebrating with the NCAA tournament trophy.
Congratulations Gophers on the perfect season and back-to-back NCAA championships!
Celebration Gallery (Click image for larger view)
Gophers Shut Out
Gophers Usher Themselves Out of WCHA with Bumbling Effort
It’s probably good that this is the last Final Five for the Gophers. It’s been nothing but a mess for them in recent years and tonight was more of the same. CC continues their hot streak and whitewashes the Gophers in a 2 -0 game that officially signals the end of the road for the University of Minnesota in the WCHA.
The first period was certainly a lot different than the first game of the day. In a stark contrast, the Gophers and Tigers got after it early, with both teams skating well and pressuring the puck. The Gophers got the better of the chances early but as the period wore on, CC got their game together and evened things out. The Gophers had the only power play of the period.
But one minute into the second period things changed for the worse. The Gophers came out charged up and got a couple of good looks, but it was CC – on a harmless looking rush – that got on the board first. Rylan Schwartz soaked Adam Wilcox with a nice shot from the top of the faceoff circle, and CC had the lead they needed to have.
The Gophers didn’t seem fazed initially and charged right back with a couple of nice chances. But it only took one mistake for CC to double their lead. Mark Alt lost control of the puck near the Gopher blue line, and it was turned right over to Charlie Taft, who went five-hole on Wilcox for a 2 – 0 Tiger lead.
The game just had that feel at this point – much like last night – that CC was not the better team on the ice, but they had an edge to their game that their opponent did not have. With that said, the 2nd period has not been kind to the Gophers this season, but this one was the worst of the lot. Sloppy play and a lack of communication gave CC good chances and it appeared the team totally lost its drive.
“Guys…just couldn’t find the rhythm to their game” said Lucia afterwards.
As the game wore on from the second period through the third, it had Denver from a few weeks ago written all over it. The Gophers started the game with some energy and chances, but it faded and turned into a mess of bad passes, poor communication and even worse effort. They ended up with one shot on a 5 minute power play in the third period and didn’t threaten more than a couple of times for a goal. “It was embarrassing how bad our power play was tonight” said Gopher captain Zach Budish.
“They’re (CC) playing to extend their season” said Lucia, postgame. Yes, and perhaps CC is a hot team and is more desperate but this is not the way to march into the NCAA tournament. Coach Lucia, Budish, and Seth Helgason all said the right things after the game (“Our guys have been good when they’ve been stung”, etc.) but it’s tough to tell how this team will come out and play, especially when there is a good chance it’ll be in front of a lackluster crowd (unless Michigan wins the CCHA tournament and we get them first game).
The selection show is Sunday night at 8PM and we know the Gophers will be the #2 overall seed and most likely is sent to Grand Rapids. Tune in Sunday night to find out their opponent.
"Final" Five Kicks Off
Gophers, Huskies, Whioux, Badgers, Mavericks, Tigers battle for Broadmoor Trophy in St. Paul
The last five games of the WCHA as we know it are set. The greatest tournament in college hockey starts for the last time today.
Thursday's games feature Wisconsin battling Minnesota State-Mankato at 2PM and North Dakota taking on Colorado College at 7PM. The winner of the afteroon game faces St. Cloud State on Friday afternoon, while the winner of the Thursday night game takes on the Gophers on Friday night.
The only road team to win their series in last weekend's first round playoff matchups was Colorado College. The Tigers beat Denver on Friday and Sunday to advance to St. Paul. CC is a team that can be dangerous - they score goals with the best of the WCHA, but they've also given up the most goals of anyone in the league. They'll need to tighten up on defense against an equally high-powered but stingy North Dakota squad.
Wisconsin heads to St. Paul as maybe the hottest WCHA team. The Badgers survived a horrendous start to the season in which they won only two of their first 14 games to finish with home ice in the first round of the WCHA playoffs. The Badgers are 17-5-2 in their last 24 games, and have played their way into the NCAA Tournament bubble. They'll likely need a win or two this weekend to lock up a tournament berth.
The Badgers' first round opponent is a dark horse pick to win it all this season. The Minnesota State Mavericks have a recipe for playoff success - enough scoring when they need it and an elite goaltender. Stephon Williams was chosen as the First Team All-WCHA goalie and the league's Rookie of the Year. He backstopped the Mavericks to a fourth-place showing in the WCHA and has their team poised to make a splash in the NCAA Tournament.
The two teams with byes on Friday shared the MacNaughton Cup as co-champions. St. Cloud State comes to St. Paul as the #1 seed in the tournament, and will face the winner of Wisconsin-Minnesota State. Even though the Huskies won the league, they're in danger of missing the NCAA tournament because of their dreadful non-conference record (3-5). The #2 seed Minnesota Gophers don't have that issue. A perfect 8-0 non-conference record has the Gophers locked into a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Today's games are at 2PM and 7PM. All games will be broadcast on FSN.