Let’s face it. The numbers — or in this case, the number — was stacked against Maine. The Gophers were fated to win the championship.
No, not Peter Metcalf of Maine, who wears number 4: the number 4 itself.
It’s just a number, right? Well, for the Minnesota Golden Go4s, it is a special number. With their win over Maine, the Go4s should hold that number in high regard.
The facts, 4 your perusal.
It’s the Frozen 4.
The Go4s won the game, 4-3.
Matt Koalska, who wears 24, scored the game-tying goal at 8:44 p.m. Central Standard time.
The championship-winning goal was scored in the 4th period of play.
The Go4s just won their 4th NCAA Championship (1974, 1976, 1979).
That total is also the 4th-most titles won by any school.
The Go4s won it in the 4th Frozen Four played in St. Paul (1989, 1991, 1994).
The Go4s have Hobey Baker Memorial Award winner Jordan Leopold on their team, just the 4th time that has happened in NCAA history [Tony Hrkac in 1987 (North Dakota), Lane McDonald in 1989 (Harvard), and Paul Kariya in 1993 (Maine)].
Leopold was the 4th Golden Gopher to win the Hobey Baker [Neal Broten (1981), Robb Stauber (1988), Brian Bonin (1996)].
Leopold was the 4th defenseman to win the Hobey Baker [Mark Fusco (1983), Tom Kurvers (1984), Mike Mottau (2000)].
Leopold won 4 major awards this season (WCHA First Team, WCHA Defensive Player of the Year, First-Team All-American, Hobey Baker).
The great Bobby Orr called Leopold before the Frozen 4 to wish him luck. Of course, Orr wore 4.
The Go4s won the NCAA championship in their 44th game of the season.
Head coach Don Lucia will turn 44 this year. He has 4 children.
Two of his assistant coaches (Mike Guentzel and Mark Bahr) are in season 8, which is 2 times 4, as Minnesota assistants. OK, so that one stretches it a little.
The Xcel Energy Center is at the end of West 4th Street in St. Paul. (OK, so that stretches it a little more.)
The national semifinal was held on 4/4 (stretching even more now).
Minnesota is the 32nd state of the Union (even further).
OK, let’s get back to more serious 4 issues.
More 4 your perusal.
In all 4 Minnesota NCAA championships, one team has scored exactly 4 goals. Minnesota did it three times. In 1974 Minnesota beat Michigan Tech, 4-2. In 1976, the Go4‘s beat Michigan Tech, 6-4. And in 1979 Minnesota beat North Dakota, 4-3. And this time, it was 4-3.
The Go4s have also faced Eastern teams 4 times in the championship game. The first three times, they lost. The 4th time, they didn’t.
But the funny part is — you guessed it — one team scored 4 goals in every game. In 1954 Rensselaer beat Minnesota, 5-4, in overtime. In 1971 Boston University beat Minnesota, 4-2. In 1989 Harvard beat Minnesota in overtime, 4-3.
The other three times, neither team scored 4 goals.
Between Minnesota and Maine, the number of overtime championship games involving the two teams is 4.
The game was the 4th longest championship game in NCAA history.
So, if you’re the University of Minnesota, you should worship the number 4. It was fate. For Minnesota, the number was there.
Now, had Maine won, that would have been 3 NCAA championships…