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Coaches tab Gophers to repeat as Big Ten champs

Four Gophers were picked for preseason all-Big Ten teams, including rookie forward Logan Cooley, of whom great things are expected by fans and foes alike.

Wisconsin vs Minnesota
Members of the Minnesota Gophers held the Big Ten regular season champions trophy aloft before a noisy audience at 3M Arena at Mariucci in Minneapolis after a 8-0 win over Wisconsin on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022.
Matt Krohn / University of Minnesota Athletics

ROSEMONT, Ill. – The Arizona Coyotes expect some great things from Minnesota Gophers rookie forward Logan Cooley , having picked him third overall in last summer’s NHL Draft. With the results of its preseason poll that was released on Wednesday, Sept. 21, it is clear that the Big Ten’s hockey coaches expect great things from Cooley as well.

Cooley was among four Gophers tabbed for preseason honors by the conference’s seven head coaches. Forward Matthew Knies and defenseman Brock Faber were first-team selections, while Cooley and defenseman Jackson LaCombe were picked for the second team.

The Gophers, who won the conference’s regular season title in 2021-22, were picked to repeat, with Notre Dame and Michigan rounding out the top three.

Faber was named the Big Ten’s defensive player of the year as a sophomore, and has returned for his junior season, turning down offers to sign a pro contract. Knies, who is a second-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs, will be a sophomore and had a breakout rookie season, scoring in each of the Gophers’ three NCAA tournament games. LaCombe, a co-captain, has been a defensive stalwart for his first three seasons with the Gophers and was an All-American as a sophomore.

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Cooley and fellow rookie forward Adam Fantilli from Michigan were both named to the Big Ten’s preseason second team. A pair of European goalies – Michigan’s Erik Portillo and Ohio State’s Jakub Dobes – were named to the first and second teams, respectively.

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The Gophers open their Big Ten slate on Oct. 28-29 with a series at Ohio State. Their conference home opener is the following weekend versus Notre Dame.

Full details are available at the Big Ten hockey website .

Jess Myers covers college hockey, as well as outdoors, general sports and travel, for The Rink Live and the Forum Communications family of publications. He came to FCC in 2018 after three decades of covering sports as a freelancer for a variety of publications, while working full time in politics and media relations. A native of Warroad, Minn. (the real Hockeytown USA), Myers has a degree in journalism/communications from the University of Minnesota Duluth. He lives in the Twin Cities. Contact Jess via email at jrmyers@forumcomm.com, or find him on Twitter via @JessRMyers. English speaker.
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