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U forwards Walker, Pitlick earn Big Ten hockey awards



Gophers forward Sammy Walker earned the Big Ten conference's Freshman of the Year honor announced Tuesday.

The Edina product played all but one game this season, amassing 10 goals and 16 assists, which tied for fourth-best on the team. Conference media and coaches voted on the award. He was also a unanimous selection to the all-freshman team. 

Junior center Rem Pitlick made the all-conference first team thanks to his team-high 45 points this year. Senior Tyler Sheehy made the second team. Recently departed goaltender Mat Robson was an honorable mention.

Coach Bob Motzko and Robson were finalists for coach of the year and goaltender of the year, respectively, but lost out to Ohio State's Steve Rohlik and Tommy Nappier.

Motzko angry about Arizona State's 'dirty hits'; Burke out 4-6 weeks



Gophers hockey coach Bob Motzko was not happy about "dirty hits" from Arizona State this past weekend. And at least one player is out for significant time because of one. 

Motzko said on his radio show Tuesday evening that one player will be out four to six weeks after a knee-on-knee incident. That player is freshman winger Nathan Burke, a source confirmed. Burke left Saturday's game late in the second period after colliding with Arizona State's Anthony Croston.

Burke, an Arizona native, tallied six goals and nine assists this season mainly as part of the Gophers powerful all-freshman line with Sammy Walker and Blake McLaughlin.

In all, Arizona State committed 15 penalties for 41 minutes throughout the series. Motzko said three of his players came out of the weekend injured. Another was freshman Sampo Ranta, who missed most of the second period Saturday after a big collision with Arizona State's Jacob Wilson. Ranta needed several stitches under his chin, and Wilson is now suspended two games

"It blindsides us because you hadn't played them,  and you don't know what to expect," Motzko said on the radio about the first-ever series with Arizona State. "And they were dirty hits. They were complaining about one: Our guy's out four-to-six weeks on a knee-on-knee. And we've got three players injured [as of Tuesday], and all of them were called by the officials. It's unfortunate. I haven't seen anything like that in a long time. It wasn't good."

The Gophers begin the Big Ten tournament this weekend at 3M Arena at Mariucci against Michigan.