NCAA Hockey Coach Celebrates Work Ethic of Polish-American Father

TOLEDO–  At the Huntington Center in downtown Toledo, St. Cloud State advanced to the Frozen Four by shutting down Miami, 4-1.  Bowling Green State University was the host NCAA school for the men’s Midwest Regional.
Freshman Joey Benik and junior Cory Thorson each scored twice for St. Cloud State as the Huskies earned their first Frozen Four berth.  Coach Bob Motzko has guided the Huskies to four NCAA appearances in eight seasons.  
Motzko, who grew up on a farm in central Minnesota shared fond memories of his father.  “He laid the groundwork for all my brothers and sisters to do our best,” said Motzko post-game.  He added, “I try to share that same work ethic with my team.”
Earlier he had said, “This core of guys, their attitude has been outstanding.  Not one guy has pouted.  Not one guy has even given you the look.  It’s kind of a coach’s dream to have that happen in a season.  Every player contributes.”  He later added, „They have been great all season.”  They have restored my faith in kids.  We have a goal to achieve in Pittsburgh as a group.”  
Freshman Jonny Brodzinski and senior Ben Hanowski were complimented by Motzko for superior play.  Benik was the Midwest regional MVP.  Others getting high praises from the coaching staff were Thorson, Ryan Faragher and Andrew Prochno.
Junior defenseman Kevin Gravel of Kingsford, Michigan has been a mainstay on the blue line all season.  His father, Jim Gravel, played collegiate hockey at SCSU from 1977-81.
SCSU Knocks Out Notre Dame
Benik scored a pair of power-play goals and St. Cloud State got single goals from Hanowski, Thorson and Brodzinski as the Huskies ended Notre Dame’s season with a 5-1 loss in the NCAA Midwest Regional semi-final.  It was estimated that a crowd of almost 3,000 were at the Huntington Center.
The NCAA ice hockey finals will be played at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, April11-13.  St. Cloud State will be joined by Quinnipiac, Yale and UMass-Lowell in the Frozen Four.    
    Notre Dame Takes Last CCHA Crown
The last championship game for the Central Collegiate Hockey Association was determined at Joe Louis Arena.  Notre Dame will be remembered as the last playoff title winners.  They stopped Michigan from going to their 23rd consecutive NCAA tournament.
There have been a number of league alignment changes because Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State will be joining the new Big Ten Conference next season.  Minnesota and Wisconsin from the Western Collegiate Hockey Association along with varsity newbie Penn State will form the league.  
Penn State will play their home games at the new 6,000 seat Pegula Ice Arena in University Park.  They went 13-14 as an independent this year including a 3-2 overtime win at Wisconsin in their last game of the season.  
The CCHA celebrated all their storied traditions of previous playoffs at a Saturday post game reception in the Olympia Room at the JLA.   CCHA commissioner Fred Pletsch read off some great moments in CCHA history.  Just one of the many remembered titles was that of the 1979 CCHA champion Bowling Green Falcons.  They had standouts Mark Wells of St. Clair Shores, Michigan and Ken Morrow of Davidson, Michigan.  Both later went on to win Gold Medals at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics for Team USA.  Morrow then went on to win a Stanley Cup in 1980 as a member of the New York Islanders.  He became the first American to win an Olympic gold medal and the Cup in the same year.
Ohio State won the first CCHA Playoff Championship in 1972 with George Abick and Daryl Gorski as members along with goalie Bill McKenzie as MVP.   
Eight CCHA teams have captured an NCAA national championship, with Bowling Green capturing the first title representing the CCHA in 1984.  Lake Superior has won three NCAA titles (1988, 1992 and 1994).  Michigan State holds a pair (1986 and 2007) and Michigan also has two titles (1996 and 1998).  In 1980, Northern Michigan was the first CCHA team to get to a Frozen Four in Providence, Rhode Island.
The CCHA had seven Hobey Baker Award winners
2011 – Andy Miele, Miami
2008 – Kevin Porter, Michigan
2001 – Ryan Miller, Michigan State
1997 – Brendan Morrison, Michigan
1995 – Brian Holzinger, Bowling Green
1990 – Kip Miller, Michigan State
1982 – George McPhee, Bowling Green
Hobey Baker Award Finalists Announced
This year’s Hobey Baker Award three finalists were announced.  They were Eric Hartzell of Quinnipiac, Johnny Gaudreau of Boston College and Drew LeBlanc of St. Cloud State.  The winner will be announced Friday, April 12, 2013 from Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, during the NCAA Frozen Four.  The 33rd annual announcement will be aired live on the NHL Network at 6 p.m., ET, and at the Hobey website,