The University of Minnesota Hockey Update



Will Schiffler, Editor

The Minnesota Golden Gophers men’s hockey team is full of high expectations heading into their 2022-23 season while being ranked a top-five program in the country. The Gophers, led by head coach Bob Motzko look to make it back to the NCAA Frozen Four tournament in Tampa, Florida, after losing in the semifinal game against Mankato State, who lost to Denver University in the National Championship game. 

Going into this season, the University of Minnesota has one of the best freshman recruiting classes, featuring Logan Cooley, who was drafted third overall by the Arizona Coyotes in the 2022 NHL draft. The Gophers retained some of the best players in the nation, such as Matthew Knies, Brock Faber, and Jaxon Nelson. Despite the departures of Sammy Walker, Ben Meyers, and Blake McLaughlin, the Gophers look to be one of the best teams in the nation. 

Through eight games in the 2022-23 season, the Minnesota Gophers hold a record of 5-3 with a 4-1 record at Mariucci Arena. The Gophers opened their season against Lindenwood on October 1. The Gophers left the weekend with a sweep against Lindenwood 4-0 and 6-4. Minnesota’s powerplay was highly effective during their two games against Lindenwood, where they operated at a 30 percent success rate, scoring four powerplay goals. 

The following weekend, the Gophers hosted the fifth-ranked Mankato State University. Friday night, the Gophers sought revenge from last season after falling to Mankato State in the Frozen Four. Minnesota was led by freshman Jimmy Snuggerud, who scored his first career goal and hattrick in a 4-1 victory over the Mavericks. The Mavericks got the best of the Gophers on Saturday night with a 2-3 loss. The two goals scored by Minnesota were from Jimmy Snuggerud and Mason Nevers. 

The University of Minnesota had three straight series in Minneapolis while hosting one of the biggest rivalries in NCAA hockey history. Minnesota hosted the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks, formally known as “The Fighting Sioux.” After a very competitive Friday night, the Gophers were trailing by one goal, with under two minutes remaining in the game, where Edina, MN native Mason Nevers was able to score the game-tying goal to force overtime. The Gophers capitalized in overtime with a strong finish by the Toronto Maple Leafs’ draft pick Matthew Knies, who drove the net and scored a goal to give Minnesota the Friday night victory. 

Saturday night, the Gophers and Fighting Hawks showed fans how deep their rivalry goes in a very physical and high-scoring game. The Gophers found themselves with a two-goal lead halfway through the second period when forward Rhett Pitlick scored a goal that resulted in a 10-minute misconduct due to throwing his stick into the crowd. Following two power-play goals scored by UND, the Gophers got into a scrum behind the Fighting Hawks’ net, resulting in Logan Cooley being kicked out of the game for grabbing an opponent’s facemask. After being down two goals to UND, the Gophers gathered their composure and tied the game up with goals from Connor Kurth and Jimmy Snuggerud to force overtime for the second night in a row. Captain Mark Senden was able to break the tie in overtime for North Dakota, scoring the overtime game-winning goal and sending North Dakota home with a 5-4 victory, with the weekend ending in a split. 

Following the Gophers’ three straight weekends at home, the Gophers were on the road at Ohio State University, ranked eleventh in the nation. The Gophers left Columbus, Ohio, with a 4-6 loss and a 4-2 win. The University of Minnesota will be back on its home ice against Notre Dame, who is sitting at twelfth in the nation.