Byron's Brody Lamb continues to come up big on the big stage
Brody Lamb, a Byron native and a freshman on the University of Minnesota men's hockey team, scored a goal and assisted on another as the Gophers beat Canisius to advance to the West Region final.
FARGO, N.D. — Brody Lamb has made a habit of coming up big on the big stage throughout his hockey career.
The Byron native did it as a youth hockey player, leading a Dodge County Bantam A team to a state tournament for the first time, in 2019.
He did it for two seasons for the Dodge County boys hockey varsity team, leading the Wildcats to the Class A state championship game in 2021, when he was named the Minnesota Associated Press Player of the Year.
He did it last week, scoring a goal — just his third of his freshman season — in the Big Ten championship game against Michigan.
And he did it again Thursday night, recording an assist on the game-tying goal, then adding an insurance goal during a major power play to help the top-ranked and top-seeded University of Minnesota men’s hockey team to a 9-2 win against Canisius in an NCAA tournament regional semifinal game.
The win lifts the Gophers into Saturday’s 5:30 p.m. West Region final against in-state rival St. Cloud State at Scheels Arena (ESPNU).
Lamb has now scored goals in consecutive games, his third and fourth goals of his rookie season, and his first two goals since October.
His breakout push likely comes as no surprise to his head coach.
When the Gophers came to Rochester three weeks ago for a practice and a public scrimmage, head coach Bob Motzko told the Post Bulletin that Lamb was close to breaking out offensively
“I know he’s not scoring like he wants to,” Motzko, an Austin native, said on March 3 at Graham Arena, ”but it’s there. He’s just knocking on the door, and it’s almost every night now.
“We have a couple of young guys who, I like to call it, they’re starting to pop right now, and it’s coming at a great time.”
Thursday, in Lamb’s first NCAA Tournament game, the Gophers (27-9-1) were locked in an unsettlingly close contest through two periods with Canisius, as Minnesota led just 3-2 after 40 minutes. The Golden Griffins were ranked No. 41 out of 61 Division I teams in the PairWise Rankings, the formula used to select the 16-team NCAA Tournament field. They qualified for the national tournament after winning the Atlantic Hockey postseason championship last weekend.
Canisius had even led 2-1 early in the second period, but the Gophers tied the score when Lamb corralled a loose puck in the neutral zone, skated it into the offensive zone and left a pass in the slot for Aaron Huglen, who snapped a quick shot past Canisius goalie Jacob Barczewski to tie the score 8:15 into the second.
Ten minutes later, Connor Kurth put the Gophers up for good.
Canisius took a major penalty less than a minute into the third period, putting the Gophers on a five-minute power play. Jimmy Snuggerud scored 70 seconds into the period to extend Minnesota’s lead to 4-2, then 85 seconds later Lamb skated the puck into the right circle and snapped a quick shot from the faceoff dot past Barczewski for a 5-2 lead.
Minnesota tacked on four more goals in the third to pull away for the 9-2 win.
“I hope he understands how good he’s doing,” Motzko said about Lamb, when the Gophers were in Rochester. “He’s going to be a big-time player. Everything that he’s been and he wants to be, he’s going to be that for us.
“He has great vision and he’s playing his best hockey right now. He just needs to get rewarded. If he could just pop a couple (goals) then they’re never going to stop. He’s going to be a big-time player for us.”
Lamb — who now has four goals and four assists this season — will have a chance to extend his goal streak to three games today, when the Gophers attempt to reach a second consecutive Frozen Four. They'll have to beat the rival St. Cloud State Huskies to do so.
Jaxon Castor made 34 saves as St. Cloud State shut out Minnesota State, Mankato, in Thursday’s first West Region semifinal. Veeti Miettinen, Jack Peart, Zach Okabe and Grant Cruikshank scored for the Huskies.