South Bend, IN – “That was an absolute travesty, the way that game ended.”
Coaches aren’t often known to hurl invective, but Gopher coach Bob Motzko felt it was deserved after his Golden Gophers lost in overtime to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish Saturday night, ending the Gophers’ season.
Motzko was upset at a pair of weak penalties called late in the game. The first, what Motzko described as a “dive” from Notre Dame’s Dylan Malmquist, gave the Irish a power play with 3:14 left in the third period of a 1-1 tie game. The second, coming 3:45 later in game time, was called on Tyler Sheehy just 0:31 into the overtime period. See for yourself how bad of a call that one was.
The OT penalty resulted in Notre Dame’s game-winning goal, propelling the Irish to the Big Ten Championship game and sending the Gophers packing, their season over.
Notre Dame scored their first goal of the game in unusual circumstances, the puck bouncing in off of Cam Morrison’s arm two minutes into the opening period. Minnesota struggled in the first, but got out of it tied 1-1 after Sampo Ranta’s redirection at 5:44 knotted things up.
The remainder of the game was played cleanly and relatively evenly, with Notre Dame only taking one penalty in the second, and no Gopher penalties after another questionable call on Rem Pitlick at 19:31 of the first until the questionable McManus call at 16:46 of the third.
Mat Robson was up to his usual tricks, stopping 35 of 36 Notre Dame shots in regulation before allowing the Michael Graham goal on the Irish’s first shot in OT.
The real shame is the way careers will end for the nine Gopher seniors. Tyler Sheehy, Tommy Novak, Brent Gates, Darian Romanko, Jack Ramsey, Ryan Norman, Jack Sadek, Eric Schierhorn and Brock Kautz will have their careers end on a disappointing note.
Now the offseason is a waiting game to see if juniors Mat Robson and Rem Pitlick will be back with the team next year or will turn pro.
The Gophers do have some promise, with this year’s freshmen making a big impact and a strong class coming in for 2019-2020.
October can’t come soon enough.
Tyler Sheehy ends his career on 149 points. Had he scored one more point, he would have been just the 29th Gopher in history to reach the 150-point plateau.
Rem Pitlick will likely finish in the top-five on the national points list. Pitlick finished his season with 45 points, five shy of current leader Taro Hirose, who signed recently with the Detroit Red Wings.
The Gophers finished the season with an 18-16-4 record.