Gophers Blowout The Badgers 7-1 On Logan Cooley’s Three Point Night

December 9th, 2022: Gophers have now scored 20 goals in their last three games against the Badgers and have allowed only one.

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MINNEAPOLIS, MINN – After last weekend’s series against Michigan State, Logan Cooley, Jimmy Snuggerud, Ryan Chesley, and Luke Mittelstadt were all named to USA’s World Juniors training camp. The four freshmen will report to camp on Monday the 12th. Tonight, some of USA’s future players shinned in the win. Chesley notched his first career goal, Cooley had two goals and three points, Snuggerud had one assist, and Mittelstadt had one point in the 7-1 win. 

Cooley, Snuggerud, and Knies have been on fire recently and tonight was more of the same. Cooley got the Gophers on the board just four minutes into the game after Matthew Knies worked his way into the zone. Cooley caught a pass from Knies and worked his way to the net. Waiting and waiting, Cooley went around two Badgers and notched his eighth goal of the year. 

“They’re feeling it right now,” Gophers’ head coach Bob Motzko said on his top line of Cooley, Snuggerud, and Matthew Knies. “Snuggy got the hat trick in game two and you’re feeling it. Knies has been feeling it since he got here a year ago.”

“He made a great pass to me on two of them tonight,” Cooley said on Knies. “He was great for us.”

About three minutes later, Jaxon Nelson continued his hot streak with a bomb from the slot. It was Nelson’s fifth goal in the last six games and his eighth point. Bryce Brodzinski and Jackson LaCombe picked up the helpers on the play. That’s three straight games with a point for Brodzinski, who later scored. The senior forward has six goals and six assists in his last ten games. LaCombe has four points in the last three games. 

Just 30 seconds later Connor Kurth went to the box for cross-checking which put the Badgers on the power play for their second chance of the period. Charlie Stramel caught a pass from Cruz Lucius and made it a 2-1 hockey game. Lucius, the younger brother of Chaz, announced his commitment to the Badgers in the off-season after de-committing from the Gophers. 

Roughly nine minutes later, Brodzinski made it 3-1. Luke Mittelstadt caught a pass at the high slot and sent one over to Ryan Johnson who connected with Brodzinski. Mittelstadt now has three points in his last two games and will look to make the USA World Juniors roster next week.

29 seconds later Cooley decided three first-period goals weren’t enough as he ripped home his second of the period. Knies picked off a pass in the defensive zone and sent Cooley in alone on a breakaway. Cooley flipped the puck over Jared Moe giving the Gophers a 4-1 lead. 

“The road trip was great for Logan. He has really settled in and developed a closeness in our group,” Motzko said. “He’s smiling and that’s something we really like to see.”

Even though the game finished 7-1 Justen Close had to make some big-time saves for the Gophers. He stopped 37 out of 38 and bailed the Gophers out of many second-period chances from the Badgers. 

“Justen Close was sneaky, behind the scenes really good tonight,” Motzko said on Close’s effort. “When we break that film back down we will see a good goalie for the Gophers.”

The second period, despite being outshot 16-8, was a period of firsts. Cal Thomas the freshman defender picked up the loose puck in the defensive zone and made a clean breakout pass to Rhett Pitlick. 

The sophomore forward streaked in on the left side and ripped one far side past Moe, ending the former Gopher’s night. Moe stopped 11 shots out of the 16 he faced. Kyle McClellan took over the rest of the game.

Ryan Chesley got his first of the year after a sweet setup feed by Cooley. Knies picked up the secondary assist on the play. After Cooley almost scored from Knies he picked up the rebound and sent one to Chesley on the top of the right circle. Like a rocket, Chesley ripped home his first collegiate goal making it 6-1 in just the second period. 

“I saw a good play in front where Cooley had a good chance to score,” Ryan Chesley, the freshman defender said on his first career goal. “I thought I could sneak down a bit and he made a good pass. Maybe a little roommate connection for sure.”

Aaron Huglen got his second of the year after a great individual effort in the defensive zone. Huglen pick-pocketed Stramel in the high slot and turned on the jets towards McClellan. With a little head fake, Huglen tucked it in on the backhand making it a 7-1 game.

USA World Juniors

Cooley and Snuggerud are locks to make USA’s world juniors team, where Chesley is a bubble guy and Mittelstadt will have to impress the USA brass in camp to make it. Cooley, Snuggerud, and Chesley all played for the USNTDP last season and know what it’s like to put on the red, white, and blue. 

“Any chance you get to represent your country, especially on a world stage like that is truly an honor and I’m looking forward to it. But I’m getting sick of that place.” Cooley said on playing for Team USA and having to go back to Michigan just for camp.

The Gophers will close out the series tomorrow for an earlier start. They will try to sweep the Badgers for the second straight weekend starting at 6:00 pm.

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