MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.– The Gophers (9-3, 4-1 CCLA) return home after sweeping their games this past weekend to play their final two games of the regular season at home. Minnesota received its largest rise in the Under Armour Coaches Poll and highest rank under Coach Limpert sitting at No. 18 this week. Minnesota will host Davenport for their Chris Jenkins Memorial Game on Friday 6:00pm and St. Thomas for Senior Night on Saturday 7:00pm.
UPDATE (Apr. 14): Both games will be played at the Bielenberg Sports Center in Woodbury.
Last weekend, Minnesota traveled to Buffalo, N.Y. for a neutral site contest with Boston College. The Gophers dominated the first half of the game with a 10-2 run with goals from Bodhi Engum (2), Chandler Sampson (2), Josh Werkmeister (2), Carter Kasianov, Amar Batra, Matt Johnson, and Trent Woodcock. However, the script flipped during the second half of the game as the Eagles began to claw their way back into the game. Starting at the 5:06 mark of the third quarter, BC began what would be a 4-goal run. However, Werkmeister scored crucial goal, his third of the game, just as penalty time expired on two Gopher penalties to bring the score to 11-6. The Eagles then mounted another 4-goal run in a span of six minutes during the fourth quarter until Bodhi Engum scored his third goal of the game with 48 seconds remaining to secure a 12-10 victory for the Gophers. Matt Jorgensen finished the game with a spectacular performance in cage, making 18 saves.
Immediately after their win against Boston College, the Gophers traveled down to Pittsburgh for their conference game on Sunday. Minnesota stormed out to a 8-1 lead after the first quarter thanks to goals from Chandler Sampson, Trent Woodcock, Amar Batra, Nick Abbott (2), and a hat trick from Bodhi Engum. The Gophers continued the onslaught with three consecutive goals to open up the second quarter for an 11-1 lead. Pitt was able to close the gap with a four-goal run, but Josh Werkmeister answered, scoring 2 goals within 90 seconds. At halftime, Minnesota held a strong 13-6 lead.
During the second half, the Gophers capitalized on their transition opportunities. Pitt opened the third quarter scoring, though Bodhi Engum answered with an additional 3 goals to bring his game total to 6 goals, a new career high. Amar Batra added his third goal of the game, and junior long-stick midfielder, Ryan Gillard, scored his first career goal off a feed from Engum. The Gophers outscored the Panthers 7-4 in the second half to take home a decisive 20-10 win. With the win over Pittsburgh, the Gophers have clinched the #2 seed in the CCLA tournament.
The Panthers (6-6, 3-2 CCLA) are having an uncharacteristic year after going 16-2 in 2016. Since joining the MCLA Division I ranks in 2013, Davenport has amassed an overall 43-18 record. Head coach Christopher Esquivel is in his second year at the helm after serving as an assistant in 2013 and 2014.
Leading the Panthers in points are Windsor, Ontario natives Bryan Larocque (46g, 11a) and Jarred Riley (20g, 28a). Last season the two attackman combined for 230 points, which accounted for 42% of the Panthers offense. This year, they have contributed towards 44% of Davenport’s offense with a combined 105 points. Sophomore Paul Schalau is struggling this season as he is averaging 2.286 points per game after putting up 78 points (5.571 PPG) last season.
The Panthers are 0-5 against ranked teams this year and are on the edge of clinching the last spot in the CCLA Tournament. They will need a win to do so.
CHRIS JENKINS MEMORIAL GAME
The Gophers will be dedicating their game vs Davenport in honor and memory of Chris Jenkins. Jenkins was a three-time captain and All-American goalie for the Gophers who went missing in October 2002. He was recovered from the Mississippi River in February 2002. The University of Minnesota men’s lacrosse team has since retired Chris’ jersey number, 3. A homicide investigation was opened in 2006, but remains unsolved to this day.
You can read more about Chris’ story here: http://bit.ly/2p1N7uk
ST. THOMAS PREVIEW
The Tommies (8-1, 2-1 UMLC) are coming off a 10-9 loss to conference opponent Minnesota–Duluth, snapping their 22-game winning streak dating back to last season. The DII powerhouse is 3-0 against the Gophers since 2013, each win within 2 goals. Head coach Brian Gross has led the Tommies to an overall record of 38-4 so far in his tenure.
The Tommies are led by seniors Ryan McNeil, Andrew Sotis, and Simon Gondeck. McNeil, a midfielder for the Tommies throughout the past three years, has recorded 12 goals and 14 assists as an attackman this season. Sotis and Gondeck each have 22 and 20 points respectively. St. Thomas has relied on their depth this year as they have six additional players who are averaging at least a point per game.
RETURN TO GOPHER BEGINNINGS
Although he will be playing as an opponent, St. Thomas senior Simon Gondeck will be playing on the field his collegiate career began one last time. Dubbed “the lion cub” by his former Minnesota teammates the former Gopher scored 18 goals and notched 10 assists in his two years with Minnesota. He also was named an All-UMLC midfielder and Scholar Athlete in 2013. As a Tommie, he helped St. Thomas win the 2016 National Championship with 4 goals and 1 assist to earn him the championship game MVP. He also collected First Team All-American, All-UMLC, and Scholar Athlete awards.
The Gophers will be graduating 10 seniors this year:
5 - Nick Abbott, Attack
13 - Nick Fix, Defense
18 - Matt Jorgensen, Goalie
21 - Luke Bromback, Defense
24 - Nathan Monsein, Midfield
25 - Dylan Ptacek, LSM/Defense
26 - Matt Fox, Defense
27 - David Skaug, FOS/Midfield
35 - Bodhi Engum, Attack
37 - Alex Wohl, Midfield
Stay tuned for Senior Spotlights in the next upcoming weeks.