ANN ARBOR, Mich.–The Gophers are making their CCLA post-season debut against Pittsburgh this afternoon. The top four teams in the CCLA Division I play in a four-team playoff, and the champion will earn the automatic qualifier to the 2017 MCLA National Tournament. Minnesota and Pittsburgh, the #2 and #3 seeds, will play at 4 p.m. ET, at Chelsea High School (Chelsea, Mich.)–the host site for the CCLA tournament. The winner will play the winners of #1 Michigan State vs #4 Davenport, who play at 1 p.m.
The game will be streamed live by the CCLA through twitter/periscope @CCLA_Lax
In their regular season meeting, Minnesota dominated with a 20-10 win in Pittsburgh. Bodhi Engum and Amar Batra led the Gophers with 7 points each. Engum with 6 goals, 1 assist, while Batra contributed 4 goals and 3 assists.
Amar Batra is currently the second highest point scorer in country with 76 points (38 goals, 38 assists). The freshman attackman has already broken several Minnesota records, and is currently 6 points away from breaking Minnesota’s single season points record set by Kevin Bice (81 points) in 2008.
Eleven Gophers were named to the All-CCLA team while six Pittsburgh players earned recognition. Amar Batra was named Offensive Player of the Year in addition to being named First Team All-CCLA. This is the fourth time in the past 5 years a Gopher has received the conference Offensive Player of the Year award (Sean Lee in 2013, Eric Fong in 2015, 2016).
Minnesota’s 11-3 regular season is the best they have finished in over 10 years. This is the second time the Gophers have also recorded double-digit wins in the past 10 years (finished 10-9 in 2015).
The last time Minnesota had a 5-game winning streak was at the start of the 2015 season. This is the first time Minnesota is heading into the postseason with a 5-game winning streak.
The Gophers have scored 220 goals through their 14 games this year–a 15.73 goals/game average. The only other team to have scored more goals in Division I is Colorado (256), who the Gophers lost to, 18-12 in March.
The last time the Gophers had the opportunity to compete for an automatic qualifier was in 2012 in the UMLC. Since then, the UMLC has slowly deteriorated in the number of Division I teams, and only Iowa State remains.
Minnesota enters this weekend ranked No. 17 in the coaches polls, the highest ranking achieved in Coach Limpert’s tenure. Right above the Gophers in the polls is CCLA rival and 5-time CCLA champion Michigan State at No. 16.
The Johnson-Werkmeister-Woodcock line has been on a hot streak since the Gopher’s trip to Colorado. They have scored at least a combined 4 goals each game, totaling 31 goals over the last 7 games. This includes a total of 5 hat tricks (Woodock-3, Johnson-1, Werkmeister-1)
Pittsburgh hasn’t won a CCLA semifinal since 2013 when they defeated Davenport 14-10.
The Gophers were able to hold Pitt’s Matt Higgins pointless in their last meeting. Only one other team has been able to hold Higgins pointless in his entire career, Minnesota–Duluth in 2015. The senior attackman currently has 68 points on the season (33 goals, 35 assists).