Give goalie an obstacle, then ... fuhgeddaboudit

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 8, 2006 - 9:25 PM

New York native and St. Cloud State star Bobby Goepfert has overcome academic struggles, a dancing injury and ... Iowa.

Bobby Goepfert lived his early years in the Ozone Park area of Queens. "There was the couple that owned the pizzeria around the corner," he said. "You went in there, they were always screaming and throwing the flour at each other. Every stereotype of an old Italian neighborhood ... we had it."

Bobby's father Steve is German-Irish. His mother Jo Ann was a Trucchio.

"We lived upstairs, my grandparents lived in the middle, my aunt lived downstairs, and my other aunt lived around the corner," Goepfert said. "Then, one of my aunts moved to Kings Park on Long Island, and a couple of years later, we were all living out there ... a Trucchio enclave."

Goepfert discovered youth hockey and became a goaltender.

He played in a national tournament for New York state's 17-and-under selects. He wound up with Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in the USHL.

"It was a culture shock," he said. "I was sick of corn after a week.

"There was another Italian kid from New York, Chris Pedota, on the team. We walked into a convenience store and the guy behind the counter said, 'How are you doing today, sir?'

"I turned to Pedota and said, 'What's this guy's problem? What business is it of his, how I'm doing?'

"And Chris is saying, 'No, no. He's trying to be nice. This is how people act in Iowa.' "

Goepfert stayed two years in Cedar Rapids. He was the USHL's most valuable player in 2002. He signed to play college hockey for Providence and was a standout for two seasons.

"I also was in my rebel period," Goepfert said. "The coach, Paul Pooley, kept trying to straighten me out. I kept rebelling -- skipping classes, study sessions.

"Before you knew it, it was May, finals were over, and I still had a paper to get done. I worked on it all night, e-mailed it to the professor in the morning, and drove home to New York."

He soon was notified the professor was accusing him of plagiarism. "He said, 'There was no bibliography, and some of these statements were taken directly from other sources,' " Goepfert said. "My comment was, 'If you wanted a bibliography, you should've asked for it.' "

The next comment he heard from Providence came from Pooley. "He told me, 'Last straw. You're done,' " Goepfert said.

He had an outstanding reputation as a goaltender. He was in contact with various schools, including the University of Minnesota.

"The 'F' the professor gave me for that plagiarism charge lowered my grade point to 1.98," Goepfert said. "Bob Motzko was the assistant coach who told me Minnesota wasn't going to get me in school with that grade point."

He was admitted to St. Cloud State for a transfer season in 2004-05. Motzko replaced Craig Dahl as the Huskies' coach in August.

The Huskies were the WCHA's surprise team of 2005-06, They finished 22-16-4, including 2-1 against the Gophers.

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