#3 Gopher men’s hockey preps for latest chapter of growing rivalry with #4 St Cloud

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Bob Motzko admits having a special feeling ahead of this weekend’s clash with St Cloud State, where he coached for thirteen seasons before taking over as head coach of Gopher hockey.

The Gophers and Huskies have played three times since Motzko moved from St Cloud to the “U”, splitting the games 1-1-1. The “tie” came as the Gophers won an overtime thriller at St Cloud last season in Motzko’s first game back at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.

Click the video box on this page to watch Gopher hockey players Bryce Brodzinski and Jackson LaCombe, and head coach Bob Motzko discuss the weekend series with St Cloud State and seeing four Gopher teammates play the past two weeks in the World Junior Hockey Championships

“That place afforded me a whole lot of great opportunities and I’m forever grateful for my time there,” Motzko said ahead of this weekend’s series,” Motzko said.”

“It’s been fun. Old players are reaching out to me… and giving it to me, and I love it. it means they’re following, which I like.”

The hype ahead of the game is boosted by the fact both teams have put together a run of strong seasons. The Gophers are currently ranked #3, St Cloud ranked #4.

“They’re very good,” Motzko said. “They’re old, they’re veteran… We don’t see a weakness, I can tell you that.”

Over the last decade or so, any clash between the Gophers and Huskies has typically meant civil war for the Brodzinski family.

Gophers senior Bryce Brodzinski is the youngest of four boys in his family. Older brothers Easton and Jonny played in St Cloud, while his third brother Michael was a Gopher.

“It’s always different playing them,” Bryce said. “This will be my first time playing them without a brother on the team.”

The boys’ father, Mike, played with Motzko at St Cloud State.

Asked if it’s easier for his parents now that there aren’t sons playing on both teams, Brodzinski laughed, and hedged.

“(It’s) Definitely easier for my mom,” Brodzinski daid. “But, my dad will probably still be wearing Saint Cloud red. He might have to adopt a kid just so he can send him to St Cloud one more time.”

“He’s looking forward to going back to the Herb (Brooks National Hockey Center) and seeing all his friends there.”

The weekend series opens in Saint Cloud Saturday at 6:00 p.m., then closes at Mariucci Arena Sunday at 3:00 p.m.