Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Daily Email Edition

Get MN Daily NEWS delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday!


Gophers men’s hockey looking to close first half of season on a positive note

After their series against Ohio State this weekend, the Gophers will be at the midway point of the season.
Image by Gabrielle Erenstein
The players watch the game from the bench on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023. The Gophers played Notre Dame and won 4-1

Gophers men’s hockey travels to Columbus, Ohio this weekend to face off against the unranked Ohio State Buckeyes in their final game of 2023.

Ohio State is winless in regulation within conference play as their only win came in a shootout against Michigan in their first Big Ten series. The Buckeyes sit in last place in the Big Ten standings and are nine points behind the next closest team, Penn State.

Despite the Buckeyes being winless, Minnesota head coach Bob Motzko said there are no chances for the Gophers to catch their breath this series.

“We have to fight for four more days now,” Motzko said.

Minnesota faces their first unranked opponent since playing St. Thomas in the first series of the season. St. Thomas is the only team the Gophers have swept this season.

Minnesota does not play a game for the remainder of December after their series against Ohio State and will resume their season on New Year’s Day.

“The break is going to come at a great time,” Motzko said.

The break also indicates the midway point of the Big Ten season as the Gophers will have played 12 out of their 24 conference games.

For graduate players Bryce Brodzinski, Jaxon Nelson and Justen Close, this break also means they are midway through their final season as Gophers.

Brodzinski said the break is valuable regardless of how a team is playing.

“If we’re playing good going into the break, it’s good for us because we can use that time to reflect on what we did in the first half,” Brodzinski said.

Final season for Brodzinski and Nelson

Brodzinski said he has not changed anything in particular to cherish the remainder of his collegiate career. He added spending time with teammates in the remaining time is most important for him.

Nelson said he realized playing away games as a graduate, like this weekend in Columbus, will likely be the last time playing at that arena. Additionally, he did not know whether he was going to return to the Gophers last season and, because of that, went through last season as if it were his last year in Minnesota.

“Now knowing for sure that this is the last season, [I have to] leave it all out there all the time,” Nelson said. “You never know what will be your last shift.”

Brodzinski and Nelson have been top contributors to the team’s scoring in their final season with the Gophers.

Brodzinski leads the Big Ten in scoring with seven goals and 13 points. He has scored in each of his last four games, totaling seven points across the contests.

Brodzinski said being an upperclassman for the past three years means his game has not changed but he continues to build confidence as he gets older.

Nelson is third on the team in Big Ten scoring with two goals and eight points. He has four points in his last four games.

The Gophers enter their second consecutive series on the road and end 2023 with two away series. Nelson said away series have fewer distractions which benefits their young team.

“Going on the road is just business for us,” Nelson said.

Minnesota returns to 3M Arena at Mariucci on Jan. 1 against the U.S. National Under-18 Team in an exhibition game.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Accessibility Toolbar

Comments (0)

All The Minnesota Daily Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *