Gophers Hockey Sweeps 12th Ranked Michigan State



Will Schiffler, Contributor

The Gophers hockey had another strong weekend at Michigan State with two strong wins against the 12th-ranked Spartans. The Minnesota Golden Gophers traveled to East Lansing, Michigan, for Friday and Saturday night games against a conference foe. 

The Gophers’ offense came alive in East Lansing early Friday night with a goal from freshman Logan Cooley with assists to Mason Nevers and Jackson LaCombe eight minutes into the opening period to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead. In the following period, Minnesota native Rhett Pitlick found the back of the Spartan’s net to give the Gophers a 2-0 lead with an assist credited to Aaron Huglen. 

Heading into the third period, Minnesota outshot Michigan State 23-13. In the third period, Minnesota continued to dominate the pace of play on both ends of the ice. Minnesota capitalized three more times throughout the remainder of the game. The Gophers’ goals came from Bryce Brodzinski, Matthew Knies, and Logan Cooley for his second of the game. Minnesota saw another excellent performance in goal for the Gophers from Justen Close, who stopped all 25 shots he faced throughout the Friday night matchup. 1 Minnesota Golden Gophers Head to Madison for the Border Battle - The  Daily Gopher

Friday night’s matchup consisted of a dominating performance by the third-ranked Golden Gophers. Freshman Logan Cooley scored two goals and one assist, Jimmy Snuggerud recorded two assists, Mason Nevers assisted on two Gopher goals, and Matthew Knies and Rhett Pitlick also tailed goals for Minnesota. 

Saturday night, the Gophers faced off at 5:00 pm in East Lansing, Michigan, with the opportunity to sweep the 12th-ranked Michigan State Spartans. Justen Close started in goal for Minnesota for the second night in a row after his 25-save shutout Friday night. The Gophers again opened up the scoring against the Spartans with a goal from Jimmy Snuggerud with assists to Logan Cooley and Brock Faber. After multiple scoring opportunities for Michigan State, Justen Close remained perfect in the opening frame for the Gophers, stopping all 13 Spartan shots. 

Minnesota continued to dominate in the offensive zone during the second period. They opened the period with a goal from Bryce Brodzinski with assists from Luke Mittelstadt and Jackson LaCombe. Minnesota scored two more goals throughout the second period, giving them a comfortable lead heading into the third period up 4-0. Jaxon Nelson and Matthew Knies scored the two other goals. 

The third period opened up with multiple adjustments from the Spartans, which paid off with two quick goals scored in the first half of the third period. Michigan State’s goals were from Jesse Tucker and Jeremy Davidson. Minnesota retained their three-goal lead shortly after the Spartans scored a second goal with a goal from Mason Nevers. Captain Brock Faber put away the game with a goal of his own with two minutes remaining. 

With a final score of 6-3, the Gophers had a fantastic weekend out of goaltender Justen Close who had a 25-save shutout Friday night and a career-high 40-save game Saturday night. Minnesota had another fantastic weekend out of their top line, consisting of Matthew Knies, Jimmy Snuggerud, and Logan Cooley, arguably one of the best lines in the nation. With Cooley and Snuggerud being freshmen and Knies as a sophomore, has been able to combine for 29 goals, 34 assists, and 63 points. Snuggerud and Knies are tied for eighth for scoring in the nation. 

This weekend, the Gophers will be hosting the Wisconsin Badgers in Minneapolis, Minnesota, looking to continue their impressive hockey against another Big 10 foe. The Wisconsin Badgers have a 7-9 record this season with a 1-7 record in conference play. Last weekend, Wisconsin split their series against the fifth-ranked Michigan Wolverines.