Gophers lose Big 10 hockey championship to Michigan

Gophers lose Big 10 hockey championship to Michigan

Minnesota lost to the University of Michigan in the tournament championship last year with the same final score.


Even with the loss, Minnesota remains the overall top-seed in the NCAA tournament. Photo credit to Gopher Athletics.

If there is one Achilles’ heel for the top-ranked Gophers this season, it’s momentary lapses in judgment for short time frames that pull the other team back in the game.

At the conclusion of the first period Saturday against the No. 4 Michigan Wolverines, it was all Minnesota. But in the blink of an eye, Michigan regained momentum in the second period.

The Wolverines rode that wave into the third period, even when they lost the lead, to win their second consecutive Big Ten Tournament Championship 4-3 against the Gophers.

Minnesota starts out strong, but it was not enough

The Gophers haven’t been a first period team this season but were on Saturday. They managed to generate a boatload of scoring chances. The sole shot that went through the net was courtesy of Brody Lamb receiving a breakaway feed from Logan Cooley. The Gophers outshot the Wolverines 7-6 but most of Michigan’s chances were far from wide open like Minnesota’s.

Rutger McGroarty woke the Wolverines up in the second period. Much like Adam Fantilli’s 15-second 2-point stretch in January against Minnesota, McGroarty scored twice Saturday in less than a minute.

The freshman from Lincoln, Nebraska, rebounded an Ethan Edwards shot dead center in front of the net and received a bounce pass off the boards from Fantilli at the left crease. Head coach Bob Motzko blamed some missed defensive assignments on McGroarty’s 34-second highlight reel.

“This is going to help us,” Motzko said. “Not the loss, playing in a tense game. Going into next week…we’ve played two games in 23 days, you can’t necessarily duplicate that in practice.”

Finding those “soft areas,” preached by interim coach Brandon Naurato, was crucial for McGroarty’s offensive outburst. “He’s [Naurato] been telling us to get to the net and just make good things happen when you’re around there,” McGroarty said.

Minnesota has battled back in games all season, and they didn’t quit Saturday, either. Jimmy Snuggerud found Cooley on a 2-0 breakaway to tie the game. Snuggerud and Cooley had to race as fast as they could to the loose puck, saucering closer and closer to Michigan’s goalie, Erik Portillo.

Portillo was an easy target for the Minnesota student section as he continued his trend of directly or indirectly dislodging the net from its pegs on the ice. Ohio State’s Jakub Dobeš also had this in his back pocket as a failsafe whenever the Gophers were within striking distance.

Rhett Pitlick began the third period with an incredible individual effort to deke and dodge two Michigan defenders on a breakaway and capped it off with a goal to give Minnesota a 3-2 edge with 18 minutes to go. This was Pitlick’s second goal since Dec.10.

Wolverines rally for third period comeback 

Michigan continued to capitalize on scoring chances though and would come out winners in the end. A Seamus Casey shot from the blue line tied the game; Motzko challenged it for offsides, however, McGroarty “tagged up” before the puck was touched over the Minnesota blue line. The call stood.

Dylan Duke proceeded to give the lead back to the Wolverines, barely sliding the puck behind Gophers goalie Justen Close as both of them dove at each other in the crease. This was Duke’s fifth goal against the Gophers this year, scoring 4 in their first two meetings at Yost Arena.

“That’s just Duker,” McGroarty said. “He gets greasy once and we love him for it. Big time players score big time goals in big time moments.”

Motzko gave credit to Michigan for generating key turnovers that were crucial for their third period comeback.

Michigan and Minnesota showcase hockey’s future

Nine of 12 All-Big Ten Conference selections (Minnesota: 6, Michigan: 3) and 24 NHL draft picks (Minnesota: 14, Michigan: 10) played in the Big Ten Tournament Championship. The future of the sport laid it all out at Mariucci Arena Saturday before the true gauntlet of the NCAA Tournament.

Michigan is the youngest team in the NCAA with an average age of 21 years old. Minnesota is the next youngest. Most Wolverines, including freshmen McGroarty and Fantilli, were not a member of their 2022 Big Ten Tournament Championship squad.

“You listen to them with every word that they say,” Fantilli said about Michigan’s senior leadership. “Just trying to soak it all in was the biggest thing we could do as freshmen and just copy what they do.”

Fantilli earned Most Outstanding Player of the Big Ten Tournament by breaking the tournament record with a league-high 7 goals and 11 points scored through four games played. Fantilli leads the NCAA in goals (27) and points (61).

Even with Michigan’s victory, Minnesota still retains the overall top-seed in the NCAA tournament. They will be playing their first regional matchup in Fargo, North Dakota, on Thursday.

“It stings, but at the end of the day we’re looking for a bigger trophy,” team captain Brock Faber said. “That’s not going to happen if we don’t learn from this lesson quickly.”

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First Books Reading event highlights debut novels from UMN community

First Books Reading event highlights debut novels from UMN community

The event, co-hosted with the Department of English and the Creative Writing Program, spotlights the work of two current Master’s students and two University of Minnesota alumni.

The University of Minnesota’s Department of English and the Creative Writing Program co-hosted the First Books Reading event on March 2 to showcase publications from four authors, two of whom are current Master’s students and two who are University alumni.

The authors, Erica Berry, Nen G. Ramirez, Emily Strasser and Chaun Webster, discussed different themes in their novels and poetry collections, varying from fear to harmful stereotypes to fragmented and secret histories.

Berry’s novel was published in February. Ramirez’s, Strasser’s and Webster’s books will be published in April.

“Wolfish: Wolf, Self, and the Stories We Tell About Fear” by Erica Berry

Berry’s debut novel centers around depictions of wolves, both physical and symbolic, and how these depictions reflect on people’s perceptions of fear and identity.

The novel combines research, personal stories, folklore, science and psychology to better understand the gap between the physical wolf and the way it is depicted in people’s subconscious.

Berry, a University MFA graduate, studied wolves for her environmental studies thesis while she was an undergraduate student at Bowdoin College. She later started to examine the fear and various depictions associated with them more closely.

“I began to really fixate on the specter of fear in my own life, especially after having a couple scary encounters with strange men I did not know,” Berry said.

Berry hopes “Wolfish” will help readers feel less isolated in their fear and challenge the way people view danger and security. Berry believes that studying, reading and writing about fear like the way she does in her book can help people feel less alone in their anxieties.

“All Women Are Born Wailing” by Nen G. Ramirez

Ramirez’s first poetry collection tackles the “crazy Latina” stereotype, the way Latina communities have internalized that stereotype in negative ways, violence against Latinas and family history.

Ramirez, a University MFA candidate, wanted to be a writer since second grade and mainly focused on fiction writing until they joined their high school’s slam poetry team.

Ramirez wrote most of the poems featured in the collection in 2016 as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan. However, they didn’t see them all as a collective work at the time.

Ramirez, like Berry, hopes their poems help people feel less alone.

“I write for and put this book together for Latinas and people with mental illness, like people that belong to the same communities that I’m in and writing about,” Ramirez said. “I want readers to feel less alone.”

Ramirez said the topics discussed in the collection, including trauma and race, are often sidelined in public discussion. They hope this book allows the audience to engage with these long-neglected subjects.

“That silence just creates a lot more pain,” Ramirez said.

“Half-Life of a Secret: Reckoning with a Hidden History” by Emily Strasser

Strasser’s debut book follows her personal journey reckoning with the legacy of her grandfather’s involvement in building nuclear weapons in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Strasser, who is based in Minneapolis, received her MFA in nonfiction from the University.

The novel is a decade-long effort that began in Strasser’s senior year of college after she began thinking about a photograph she saw as a child in her grandparents’ house of her grandfather standing in front of nuclear test blasts.

In the present day, Strasser said she can’t say if the photo even exists or if it is a “fabricated memory.”

Strasser said this book and the history behind it hold special value, especially considering current global events. Ultimately, the book is about digging into untold histories and seeking the truth.

“It’s a book about complicated stories and telling the truth about a complicated history,” Strasser said. “It’s about uncovering the secrets of our own families, of this country’s past, often a very dark past, and I make an argument that we need to really dig into those unexamined stories, as messy and contradictory and complicated as they may get.”

“Wail Song: or wading in the water at the end of the world” by Chaun Webster

Webster’s book asks questions about what can and cannot be recovered from fragmented historical archives that exclude stories about Black lives.

Webster, an MFA candidate at the University, said it is hard to trace how this project began and there were many stages of development while writing the book, including extensive amounts of reading.

Webster said the book “In the Wake: On Blackness and Being” by Christina Sharpe, a professor of English literature and Black studies at York University, had a particular influence on concepts crucial to his novel.

Webster wants readers to engage with the questions he poses in his book regarding what can be recovered from Black history.

“Those questions shape our world,” Webster said. “Those questions form the world that we live in, that we’ve inherited, a world that has been shaped fundamentally by the slave trade.”

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Plitzuweit is new Gopher women’s basketball coach

Plitzuweit is new Gopher women’s basketball coach

University of Minnesota Director of Athletics Mark Coyle announced today that Dawn Plitzuweit has been named head women’s basketball coach. The University and Plitzuweit have agreed to a six-year term, which is pending Board of Regents approval and the completion of a background check.  She will be formally introduced on Monday on campus.

Plitzuweit will be the 13th head coach in Minnesota history. She brings 28 years of coaching experience – 16 as a head coach – to Minnesota and has been the head coach of winning teams at West Virginia, South Dakota, Northern Kentucky and Grand Valley State.

She has totaled 15 winning seasons, nine 20-win seasons and two 30-win campaigns. Her teams have reached the postseason in 15 of her 16 seasons as a head coach and have competed in the last four NCAA Tournaments. Plitzuweit’s career coaching record is 356-141 (.721) and she is 201-66 (.752) in league play. Her teams have finished tied for fifth or higher in regular-season conference play in all 16 of her seasons and have recorded 11 top-three conference finishes.

Plitzuweit led both West Virginia and South Dakota to the NCAA Tournament and she participated in postseason play at all four of her head coaching stops. She took South Dakota to the Sweet 16 in 2022 and won a Division II national championship at Grand Valley State in 2006. Plitzuweit has coached at two Big Ten schools (Michigan and Wisconsin) and has recruited the state of Minnesota and surrounding area at her previous stops.

“I am excited to welcome Dawn, her husband Jay and their family to Minnesota,” said Coyle. “Dawn is a process-driven coach and has coached winning teams at every step of her career. She has recruited Minnesota and has consistently produced teams that compete for championships. Dawn has Big Ten coaching experience and knows how competitive and strong the conference is. I know she is excited to get back to the area and build her program.”

Plitzuweit was at West Virginia for one season. There, she led the Mountaineers to 19 wins and became the first coach in program history (49 years) to lead the team to the NCAA Tournament in an initial season. West Virginia played Arizona in the NCAA Tournament yesterday.

“I am extremely excited,” said Plitzuweit. “It is a tremendous honor to be named head coach at Minnesota, and I want to thank President Joan Gabel, Mark Coyle, Julie Manning, Joi Thomas and the entire search committee for this opportunity. This is a homecoming of sorts, and Minnesota is a program that I am very familiar with from my previous time in the surrounding area and in the Big Ten. I am looking forward to getting back to the area and to meet the team, alumni and fans. I am also looking forward to reconnecting with local high school and club coaches. I can’t wait to get to work.”

Prior to West Virginia, she was the head coach at South Dakota and led the program to historic success from 2016-22. During those six seasons, she recorded a 158-36 record and was 83-10 in the Summit League. Plitzuweit was named Summit League Coach of the Year three times and led the Coyotes to three regular-season titles, three conference tournament championships, four NCAA Tournaments and a trip to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament in 2022.

Plitzuweit was the head coach at Northern Kentucky from 2012-16. There she registered a 71-54 record and her team played in the Women’s Basketball Invitational in all four years.

She was the associate head coach at Michigan from 2007-12 and helped lead the Wolverines to the postseason four times, including a spot in the 2012 NCAA Tournament.

Plitzuweit’s first head coaching job was at Grand Valley State University, where she was from 2002-2007. The Lakers were 117-39 during her five seasons, and in 2006, Plitzuweit led Grand Valley State to a 33-3 record and the NCAA Division II National Championship, which was the first in program history. Plitzuweit was named the NCAA Division II National Coach of the Year after the season.

Plitzuweit started her coaching career at Michigan Tech, her alma mater, in 1995 under her collegiate coach Kevin Borseth. Plitzuweit coached with Borseth for 11 seasons at three different schools, as the duo was at Michigan Tech (1995-97), Green Bay (1998-2002) and Michigan (2007-12). Plitzuweit was also an assistant coach at Wisconsin during the 1997-98 season.

Plitzuweit graduated from Michigan Tech in 1995 with a degree in biological sciences. As a player, she was a two-time Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year and led the Huskies to a 99-22 record, three GLIAC titles and four trips to the NCAA Division II Tournament. She was also named an all-conference honoree four times and was recognized as an all-defensive selection three times.

Plitzuweit was a Division II Bulletin All-America Second Team selection and a two-time Kodak All-America honorable mention pick (1994, 1995). She earned WBCA All-Academic accolades in 1994 and 1995 and was named Michigan’s NCAA Woman of the Year in 1995.

She is a member of the Michigan Tech Sports Hall of Fame and the Varsity Club. In 2008, Plitzuweit received the Outstanding Young Alumni Award from Michigan Tech.

A native of West Bend, Wis., Plitzuweit and her husband, Jay, have a son, A.J., and a daughter, Lexi. A.J. plays basketball at South Dakota, while Lexi plays basketball at Grand Valley State.

(info and photo courtesy of Gopher Sports)

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Trump says he expects to be arrested, calls for protest

Trump says he expects to be arrested, calls for protest

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump said he expects to be arrested Tuesday and called on supporters to protest as a New York grand jury investigates hush money payments to women who alleged sexual encounters with the former president. There is no evidence, however, that prosecutors have made any formal outreach to him.

In a Saturday morning post on his social media platform, Trump said he expected to be taken into custody as the Manhattan district attorney eyes charges in the investigation. Trump would be the first former president ever to be charged with a crime.

Trump’s post said “illegal leaks” from the office of prosecutor Alvin Bragg indicate that “THE FAR & AWAY LEADING REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE & FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, WILL BE ARRESTED ON TUESDAY OF NEXT WEEK.”

Should Trump be indicted, he would be arrested only if he refused to surrender. Trump’s lawyers have previously said he would follow normal procedure, meaning he would likely agree to surrender at a New York Police Department precinct or directly to Bragg’s office.

There is no evidence that prosecutors have made any formal contact to warn Trump that he would be taken into custody. A Trump spokesperson said Saturday that “there has been no notification” of a pending arrest.

Danielle Filson of the district attorney’s office said prosecutors “will decline to confirm or comment” on questions related to Trump’s post, as well as potential charges. Trump’s lawyers, Susan Necheles and Joseph Tacopina, did not immediately return messages seeking comment about Trump’s post or the timing of a possible arrest.

Trump’s call for his supporters to protest that was especially jarring, evoking language that the then-president used shortly before the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

After a rally near the White House that morning, Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, breaking through doors and windows and leaving officers beaten and bloodied as they tried to stop the congressional certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s White House election.

A statement from the Trump spokesperson said Trump’s Truth Social post was not based on any notification from prosecutors “other than illegal leaks” to the news media.

“President Trump is rightfully highlighting his innocence and the weaponization of our injustice system,” the statement said.

The indictment of Trump, 76, would be an extraordinary development after years of investigations into his business, political and personal dealings. It is likely to galvanize critics who say Trump, already a 2024 presidential candidate, lied and cheated his way to the top and to embolden supporters who feel the Republican is being unfairly targeted by a Democratic prosecutor.

In his social media post, Trump repeated his lies that the 2020 presidential election he lost to Biden was stolen and he urged his followers to “PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!”

Law enforcement officials in New York have been making security preparations for the possibility that Trump could be indicted. There has been no public announcement of any time frame for the grand jury’s secret work in the case, including any potential vote on whether to indict the ex-president.

Trump’s posting echoes one made last summer when he broke the news on Truth Social that the FBI was searching his Florida home as part of an investigation into the possible mishandling of classified documents.

News of that search sparked a flood of contributions to Trump’s political operation, and on Saturday, Trump sent out a a fundraising email to his supporters that said the “MANHATTAN D.A. COULD BE CLOSE TO CHARGING TRUMP.”

The grand jury has been hearing from witnesses, including former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who says he orchestrated payments in 2016 to two women to silence them about sexual encounters they said they had with Trump a decade earlier.

Trump denies the encounters occurred, says he did nothing wrong and has cast the investigation as a “witch hunt” by a Democratic prosecutor bent on sabotaging the Republican’s 2024 campaign.

Bragg’s office has apparently been examining whether any state laws were broken in connection with the payments or the way Trump’s company compensated Cohen for his work to keep the women’s allegations quiet.

Porn actor Stormy Daniels and at least two former Trump aides — onetime political adviser Kellyanne Conway and former spokesperson Hope Hicks — are among witnesses who have met with prosecutors in recent weeks.

Cohen has said that at Trump’s direction, he arranged payments totaling $280,000 to Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal. According to Cohen, the payouts were to buy their silence about Trump, who was then in the thick of his first presidential campaign.

Cohen and federal prosecutors said Trump’s company paid him $420,000 as reimbursement for the $130,000 payment to Daniels and to cover bonuses and other supposed expenses. The company classified those payments internally as legal expenses. The $150,000 payment to McDougal was made by the then-publisher of the supermarket tabloid National Enquirer, which kept her story from coming to light.

Federal prosecutors agreed not to prosecute the Enquirer’s corporate parent in exchange for its cooperation in a campaign finance investigation that led to charges against Cohen in 2018. Prosecutors said the payments to Daniels and McDougal amounted to impermissible, unrecorded gifts to Trump’s election effort.

Cohen pleaded guilty, served prison time and was disbarred. Federal prosecutors never charged Trump with any crime.

In addition to the hush money probe in New York, Trump faces separate criminal investigations in Atlanta and Washington over his efforts to undo the results of the 2020 election.

A Justice Department special counsel has also been presenting evidence before a grand jury investigating Trump’s possession of hundreds of classified documents at his Florida estate. It is not clear when those investigations will end or whether they might result in criminal charges, but they will continue regardless of what happens in New York, underscoring the ongoing gravity – and broad geographic scope – of the legal challenges confronting the former president. ___

Associated Press writers Colleen Long and Eric Tucker in Washington and Meg Kinnard in Columbia, South Carolina, contributed to this report.

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#2 Gopher women lose in Frozen Four semifinals to #6 Badgers

#2 Gopher women lose in Frozen Four semifinals to #6 Badgers

The No. 2 Gopher Women’s hockey team saw its season come to an end, 3-2, in an overtime thriller in the NCAA Frozen Four semifinals at the hands of the Wisconsin Badgers.

Just over three minutes into the opening period, Taylor Heise buried a wrist shot for her 30th goal of the season to open the scoring. Minnesota (30-6-3) took the one-goal lead into the break after neither team could find the back of the net for the remainder of the first. Wisconsin (28-10-2) made a push in the second period, outshooting the Gophers 17-7 without a goal for its efforts.

The Badgers opened the third with two goals in 52 seconds to take their first lead of the game. The Gophers pushed throughout the third before finally netting the equalizer from a point shot from Madeline Wethington with 1:11 remaining. It was her fourth goal in her last six games. After almost 17 minutes of overtime play, Wisconsin’s Caroline Harvey scored the game-winning goal.

Skylar Vetter stopped 35 shots in the loss. She finished her sophomore season with 27 wins – the sixth-most in a single season in program history. Wisconsin’s Cami Kronish made 37 saves in the victory.

“A very entertaining hockey game tonight,” said head coach Brad Frost. “Swings of momentum both ways, but Wisconsin found a way to make a play there at the end with a nice goal. I’m super proud of our team and group for the way they left it all on the ice and played for one another.”

“Unfortunately, when you step under the bright lights, one team is going to lose and one team is going to win. We love these guys and love this group. We’re very proud of the season we had.”

• Minnesota suffers its first loss all season when leading after two periods (25-1-2).
• The Gophers lose for the first time on a Friday all season (15-1-1).
• After a goal and an assist, Taylor Heise finishes her final season with a team-leading 19 multi-point games.

(info courtesy of Gopher Sports)

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