Puck Drop
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Two months after the season abruptly ended, the Big Ten announced its postseason on Monday, and the Gophers’ Bob Motzko was named conference coach of the year as selected by a panel of coaches and media.

Motzko, in his second year as Gophers coach, led Minnesota to a 16-14-7 overall record and 9-8-7-4 conference mark, good for a second-place tie. The Gophers defeated Notre Dame in three games in the first round of the Big Ten tournament and were to face Penn State in the semifinals before the season was canceled on March 12 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Gophers had 11 newcomers, including nine players in regular roles, in 2019-20, and Motzko helped the team weather a difficult start. Minnesota was 5-9-4 entering the holiday break but took off in the season’s second half. Beginning with victories over Bemidji State and St. Cloud State to win the Mariucci Classic, the Gophers went on a 9-2-1, including a five-game Big Ten winning streak. Minnesota had a chance to win the conference regular-season title but went 0-2-2 in the final two weekends.

The Big Ten also announced its all-conference teams, and the Gophers did not have a player receive first- or second-team recognition. Junior forward Brannon McManus and sophomore forward Sammy Walker earned honorable mention status.

The Gophers were represented well on the all-freshman team, with forward Ben Meyers, defenseman Jackson LaCombe and goalie Jared Moe honored. Gophers senior captain Tyler Nanne was named a sportsmanship award winner.

Conference regular-season champion Penn State had the Big Ten player of the year and defensive player of the year in junior Cole Hutz. Wisconsin’s Cole Caufield was named freshman of the year, and Michigan’s Strauss Mann was goaltender of the year.

The All-Big Ten teams:

FIRST TEAM
Patrick Khodorenko, F, Michigan State
Nate Sucese, F, Penn State
Cole Caufield, F, Wisconsin
Cole Hults, D, Penn State
Wyatt Kalynuk, D, Wisconsin
Strauss Mann, G, Michigan

SECOND TEAM
Jake Slaker, F, Michigan
Tanner Laczynski, F, Ohio State
Evan Barratt, F, Penn State
Dennis Cesana, D, Michigan State
Jerad Rosburg, D, Michigan State
John Lethemon, G, Michigan State

HONORABLE MENTION
Will Lockwood, F, Michigan
Mitchell Lewandowski, F, Michigan State
Brannon McManus, F, Gophers
Sammy Walker, F, Gophers
Alex Limoges, F, Penn State
Roman Ahcan, F, Wisconsin
Nick Blankenburg, D, Michigan
Cam York, D, Michigan
Matt Hellickson, D, Notre Dame
Wyatt Ege, D, Ohio State
Gordi Myer, D, Ohio State
K’Andre Miller, D, Wisconsin
Cale Morris, G, Notre Dame
Tommy Nappier, G, Ohio State
Peyton Jones, G, Penn State

ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM
Johnny Beecher, F, Michigan
Ben Meyers, F, Gophers
Cole Caufield, F, Wisconsin
CAM YORK, D, MICHIGAN
Jackson LaCombe, D, Gophers
JARED MOE, G, Gophers

PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Cole Hults, D, Penn State

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR (defenseman or forward):
Cole Hults, D, Penn State

GOALTENDER OF THE YEAR:
Strauss Mann, G, Michigan

FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR:
Cole Caufield, F, Wisconsin

COACH OF THE YEAR:
Bob Motzko, Minnesota

SCORING CHAMPION:
Cole Caufield, F, Wisconsin

UNANIMOUS SELECTION IN ALL CAPS

Big Ten Sportsmanship Award Honorees
Luke Martin, Michigan; Sam Saliba, Michigan State; Tyler Nanne, Gophers; Cal Burke, Notre Dame; Gordi Myer, Ohio State; Aarne Talvitie, Penn State; Wyatt Kalynuk, Wisconsin.