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Rinkytown blog: Head coach Bob Motzko demands his Gophers to clean up problem areas

With the Minnesota State series approaching, Motzko said his team is still focused inward on things they can do better.

With Lindenwood goalie Trent Burnham keeping close watch, Minnesota forward Matthew Knies looked to pass the puck in the first period of the Gophers win over the Lions on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022 at 3M Arena at Mariucci in Minneapolis
Kelly Hagenson / University of Minnesota Athletics

MINNEAPOLIS — Head coach Bob Motzko liked much of what he saw out of his Minnesota Gophers men’s team in their season-opening sweep of first-year program Lindenwood last weekend.

They won, twice. They dominated the opener with a commanding performance from highly-touted rookie Logan Cooley. And in the rematch they trailed, then dug deep and found a way to rally and win, thanks in large part to their power play and a “get on my back” performance from captain Brock Faber.

But after Wednesday’s practice in advance of their home-and-home series with Minnesota State Mankato this weekend, Motzko admitted there were a few points of emphasis. Some sloppy things need cleaning up, and that there’s not a drill that can fix them.

“We caused ourselves some self-inflicted wounds and that always happens early in the year. You just don’t want to be doing those a month from now,” the coach said.

Rather than spend time on the Mavericks and what they have been able to do the past two seasons to beat the Gophers in the NCAA tournament, Motzko said his team is still focused inward on things they can do better.


“We’re still putting in our systems and all we talked about were two things within our team right now,” Motzko said. “Mistakes are going to happen within our play, but we had way too long of shifts. We had guys really trying to press offense. Too long of shifts, and bad penalties. So those are two things where I don’t have drills and I don’t have drills for bad penalties. That’s the inner culture and the chemistry that we have to get a hold of right and that’s what we’ve addressed.”

Big Ten Network host Mike Hall (left) interviewed Minnesota Gophers head coach Bob Motzko (second from left), forward Matthew Knies (second from right) and defenseman Brock Faber (right) prior to the Gophers' homecoming football game versus Purdue on Saturday, October 1, 2022 outside Huntington Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
Contributed / University of Minnesota Athletics

Media star in training

Prior to the Gopher football team’s homecoming game versus Purdue last Saturday, sophomore forward Matthew Knies got a taste of what his life might be like in the world of professional hockey someday. Knies has been drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs and has been to their development camp, so he’s gotten a little idea of the media in Canada’s largest city, where those who wear the blue and white are always in the spotlight.

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Last Saturday, Knies, Motzko and Faber appeared on national TV from the front lawn of 3M Arena at Mariucci on the Big Ten Network’s pregame show. Knies admitted there were some nerves at play.

“It was pretty intimidating, to be honest,” Knies said. “When we got up there, it was a big crowd. But what an atmosphere we had at the U with the football game. Everyone was excited to watch, and it was fun to be a part of it.”

After scoring twice in his college debut later that night, Logan Cooley admitted that he, Knies and a few others had gone to Huntington Bank Stadium for the third quarter of the Gophers eventual loss to Purdue, as a way to kill time before taking the ice.

“We just didn’t want to sit in our beds all day and lay around and let our legs get cold,” Knies said. “We wanted to move around, walk around and if we had such a big (football) game going on, we might as well go. We watched the third quarter, took a little nap and then showed up here.”

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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