Gophers head to Fargo, top NCAA Men’s Hockey Tournament seed

Minnesota earns its first overall Number One seeding since 2014, the last time they made a championship game appearance.

The Gophers will face off against Mankato next on Friday and Saturday.

Kamaan Richards

The Gophers will face off against Mankato next on Friday and Saturday.

by Matthew Kennedy

No. 1 ranked Minnesota will travel to Fargo to play against 16-seed Cansius on Thursday at 8 p.m. Central Standard Time in the first round of the 2023 NCAA Men’s Hockey Tournament.

Gophers defenseman Mike Koster said the team hasn’t before played in a regional this close to home, with the other three regionals playing out east.

“I don’t look too much into that, obviously it’s a place that a lot of guys are familiar with whether playing in youth or juniors up there,” he said.

If victorious, they will take on the winner of two familiar foes on Saturday. Eight-seed and NCHC conference champion, St. Cloud State, or 9-seed and CCHA conference champion, Minnesota State-Mankato.

“We feel like it’s a pretty exciting bracket,” forward Mason Nevers said. “Canisius is a great team, they’re coming in on a hot streak … just won a championship. It’s hard to look much further than that, our whole mindset is just Canisius right now, but three Minnesota teams is a lot of fun.”

The Gophers are 1-1 against each Minnesota-based team this season. They split a home-and-home series in early October versus Mankato, winning 4-1 at Mariucci Arena and losing 3-2 down south.

The Gophers also split a home-and-home series in early January versus St. Cloud, losing 3-0 at Herb Brooks National Hockey Center and winning 2-1 at Mariucci Arena courtesy of a Logan Cooley game-winning goal with 18.8 seconds remaining in 3-on-3 overtime.

“I’ll be honest, I’ve been in so many of these tournaments … it’s just crazy,” head coach Bob Motzko said on his Minnesota-filled region. “Maybe in my younger days, I was more into the where and the who … you just want to be there. Should be great crowds.”

-Official Bracket-

(Fargo Regional)

1 Minnesota
Canisius (Atlantic Hockey Champion)

St. Cloud State (NCHC Champion)
Minnesota State-Mankato (CCHA Champion)

(Manchester Regional)

4 Denver

Boston (Hockey East Champion)
Western Michigan

(Allentown Regional)

3 Michigan (Big Ten Champion)
Colgate (ECAC Champion)

Penn State
Michigan Tech

(Bridgeport Regional)

2 Quinnipiac

Ohio State