Men’s hockey team advances to Frozen Four

Gopher men's hockey players celebrate their performance in the NCAA regional tournament.

The Golden Gopher men’s hockey team continued its stretch of dominant hockey in 2022, beating defending national champion Massachusetts and then Western Michigan in the Worcester Region to advance to the Frozen Four April 7 and 9 in Boston.

It will be the Gophers’ first appearance in the Frozen Four since 2014 (when they lost to Union in the championship game) and their first under head coach Bob Motzko.

Seeded #2 in the four-team regional, the Gophers (26-12-0) first had to first get past #3 UMass, which was essentially playing in front of a home crowd near its campus in Amherst. After falling behind 2-0 in the first period and then 3-1 in the second, Minnesota clawed its way back to force overtime, and Ben Meyers’ goal—on a beautiful feed from Aaron Huglen—capped the impressive comeback.

Against top-seeded Western Michigan, Matthew Knies scored in the first period to give the Gophers an early lead, and a power play goal by Huglen early in the third period stretched the lead to 2-0, forcing the Broncos to play with more desperation. The Gophers’ defense held strong, and Blake McLaughlin’s shorthanded empty-net goal with 1:57 remaining sealed the deal. Justen Close notched his third shutout in the last six games.

Minnesota will open its 22nd appearance in the national semifinals against Minnesota State Mankato. The Gophers will be seeking their sixth national championship and their first since 2003. They won their first Frozen Four title in 1974, also in Boston.