File It Away
Gothberg Wins Goaltender Duel From Ferris' Motte
by Avash Kalra/Senior Writer
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CINCINNATI As Saturday night’s Midwest Regional final between North Dakota and Ferris State entered an overtime period – and then another – eventual winning goaltender Zane Gothberg may have called upon recent experiences in similar situations.
After the game, Gothberg – who stopped a career-high 44 shots to send his team to the Frozen Four – said he applied some useful advice from volunteer goaltending coach Karl Goehring, a former two-time All-American for North Dakota and national championship winner in 2000.
That advice had to do with calling upon the right past experiences at just the right time.
Explained Gothberg, “You just have to imagine a little filing cabinet. You take the good, you take the bad, and you put it in there, and you save it for later. In there are little things that I’ve picked up on through the years.
“It worked out all right – taking the messes of the puzzle and putting it together.”
The puzzle at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati on Saturday was which player could possibly beat Gothberg or, at the other end, Ferris State’s junior goaltender and Hobey finalist C.J. Motte. Eventually, North Dakota third-line grinder Connor Gaarder ended the game 2:28 into the second overtime period, sending North Dakota to the Frozen Four.
“I thought both goalies played really well,” said Ferris State coach Bob Daniels, who was looking to lead the Bulldogs to their second Frozen Four in three years. “I certainly thought C.J. played really well, considering he played seven-plus periods on the weekend and gave up two goals. It was a heck of a battle.
“Certainly that’s the story of the game, was the goaltenders from both teams.”
Gothberg, in typical fashion, redirected that attention.
“Everyone’s got a humbling aura about them,” said the sophomore netminder who is now 18-4-1 over his last 23 games, allowing two goals or fewer in 19 of them. “That starts with our coaching staff. From day one, they’ve said that we’re all in this together – we’re only going to be as strong as our weakest link. I think that was the biggest thing. All year, every single guy stepped up, one way or another.
“We have very solid depth, and that’s what makes us dangerous I think.”
Many of Gothberg’s 44 saves were taxing, with Ferris State players in his crease for much of the 82:28 that the teams played on Saturday. The emotion when the game finally ended was a bit different – indescribable, even, when the winning goal found the back of the opposite net.
“Just a flood of emotions I guess,” said Gothberg. “Once [Gaarder] scored his goal, it’s just craziness. Every emotion in your body is excited, and every hair in your body is standing up, because you’re so excited for your team.”
Now, a Frozen Four trip on the horizon, North Dakota is a long way from its 4-7-2 record in the early stages of the season that prompted a players’ only meeting that seemed to spark the dramatic second-half turnaround that resulted in a second-place regular season finish in the new NCHC.
Certainly, there’s been plenty of bad and plenty of good, and something even better than that on Saturday night.
And Gothberg can file all those experiences in his cabinet, perhaps to use it later – now two wins away from potentially filing away the biggest experience of all.