Gophers Captain Brock Faber Shines As Minnesota Sweeps MSU

December 3rd, 2022: The Junior captain shut down chances and took the game over with three points tonight in the 6-3 win over MSU. 

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Brock Faber has continued to develop into a shutdown defender since his freshman season with the Gophers. Each game he has gotten better at clearing pucks, positioning his body in the right spots, setting up breakouts, and having his stick in the right lanes.

So, there is no denying when the Minnesota Wild traded a 30-goal scorer and previous 85-point getter, Kevin Fiala, to the Los Angeles Kings for Faber they were projecting the Minnesota native to be a top-four shutdown defender at the NHL level. With each game passing, Faber shows promise that is what he will become.

Before the season started Faber said he wanted to up his offensive game and be a two-way defender in his junior season. But also continuing to shut down the opposition and get tasked with shutting down some of the league’s best players.

Tonight was another example of how good Faber’s game is. With one goal and two assists for a total of four points in the series.

“That’s a good weekend for the young man,” Gophers’ head coach Bob Motzko said on the postgame radio show about Faber.

With just about six minutes left in the first Faber showed off his hockey IQ by breaking up a pass in the defensive zone. The junior captain then sent one up the slot for Jimmy Snuggerud and Logan Cooley. The two freshmen made a couple of passes before Snuggerud ripped home his 11th of the year.

Cooley now has 11 points in the last five games, Knies has eight points in the last five games, and Jimmy Snuggerud has 11 points in the last six games.

Like the first goal, Jackson LaCombe and Luke Mittelstadt broke up a play in the defensive zone. Mittelstadt fired one up the gut for Bryce Brodzinski and the senior forward came in all alone on Dylan St. Cyr and ripped one home for his eighth of the year and his sixth goal in the last eight games.

About four minutes later, Mittelstadt caught a puck in the neutral zone and sent one over to Mason Nevers streaking in, Nevers caught Jaxon Nelson in the slot and the senior forward ripped home his sixth of the year.

Nevers now has six points in his last four games and Mittelstadt got his second point of the night and tenth assist of the season for his 11th point.

During the start of the season there were some rough spots and patches, even last weekend against ASU, but this series the Gophers looked like a complete team. They shut down everything in the defensive zone, limited chances, got high-danger shots while limiting them, and they continued to get goals from guys who they rely on.

As previously said, Faber wanted to up his offensive game, and he certainly did tonight. About five minutes after Nelson’s goal, Faber caught a pass from LaCombe at the top of the point. Faber walked in and connected with Knies for the redirect making it 4-0.

After two super good periods, the Gopher saw their game slip a little bit in the third. Ryan Chesley, who has been so good in his last four games, tried an outlet pass from the defensive zone that got picked off by Christian Krygier. The fifth-year defender sent one to Jessie Tucker in the slot and broke Close’s shutout.

Just about seven minutes later, Jeremy Davidson notched his first of two after catching a pass from Miroslav Mucha. But two minutes later Nelson picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and rushed into the offensive zone. Nelson saw Nevers streaking in and the Junior forward got his sixth of the season.

“That’s what we felt. Our transition game, down low game, and putting pressure on their defenders were outstanding at times tonight.”

Four minutes later Faber continued his very strong game with a goal of his own. Faber walked into the zone and had both Snuggerud and Knies open on the backdoor. His pass went off an MSU defender and into the net. It was Faber’s third goal of the year and third point of the night. The junior captain now has 12 assists and 15 points in 18 games.

A hair over one minute later Davidson got his second of the night from Nash Nienhuis and Krygier.

Justen Close finished the night with 40 saves on 43 shots. He had 65 saves in the series on 68 shots. The Gophers will return home next weekend against Wisconsin starting December 9th at 8:00 pm. Finishing the series at 6:00 pm on December 10th.

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