Gophers Respond With A 4-2 Win Over Ohio State Splitting The Series

October 29th, 2022: Gophers respond with a 4-2 win over The Ohio State Buckeyes to avoid the sweep all thanks to Jimmy Snuggerud’s three-point night. 

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In yesterday’s 6-4 loss to Ohio, the Gophers were flat all game. No emotion or energy. Today they opened the game by recording the first two shots and outshot the Buckeyes seven-to-four before the game’s first goal. That was until Jackson LaCombe rocketed one from the point.

The senior Defender now has three goals and six assists in the first eight games of the year. It took Jimmy Snuggerud, the Gophers’ leading goal scorer 71 minutes to record his first shot of the weekend. Just 39 seconds later he fed one to Brock Faber who set up LaCombe for the game’s first goal. 

On the goal, Cam Thiesing got a high sticking penalty which sent the Gophers to the power play for the first time in the game. Coming into Saturday’s tilt the Ohio State Buckeyes were 29-for-30 on the penalty kill and cashed in on three shorthanded goals. 

Just 53 seconds into the power play the Buckeyes notched their fourth short-handed goal of the year off the breakaway from Davis Burnside. The breakaway happened after Logan Cooley failed to keep the puck in and led to Burnside all alone with Close.

After the first, the Gophers were outshooting the Buckeyes 12-to-nine but were tied at one apiece. 

The Buckeyes have a great penalty kill there’s no doubt about that but the Gophers also didn’t test the PK enough through two periods, as the Gophers had six shots on net and six missed shots not blocked shots, just completely missing the net. Ohio finished the night going seven for eight on the penalty kill with two short-handed goals. 

But it was Mason Nevers who regained the lead for the Gophers on a sweet shot-pass by Jaxon Nelson in the second period. The senior assistant captain came walking in on the right side and fired one off the pad of Jacob Dobes, Nevers picked up the loose puck and made no mistake. 

Just a minute and three seconds later, Matthew Knies notched his fifth goal of the year after being left all alone in front of Dobes. Luke Mittelstadt, who notched the lone assist yesterday on his older brother John’s goalyesterday, fired one from the point that was tipped by Knies into the corner. Snuggerud picked up the loose puck with two defenders on him and saw Knies standing alone in front. 

Later in the third period, a hooking call on Mason Lohrei sent the Gophers back to the power play for the sixth time tonight. Ohio was five-for-five with a shorthanded goal before Snuggerud let an absolute bomb go from the high slot to the right of Dobes. 

It was Snuggerud’s sixth goal of the year and third point of the night. LaCombe caught the pass from Cooley on the blue line and sent one over to Snuggerud for the bomb, beating Dobes blocker side. It was LaCombe’s seventh assist of the year and second point of the game. For Cooley, it was his fifth assist of the year and his seventh point. 

In yesterday’s loss Ohio completely shut down the Gophers’ top line. That wasn’t the case tonight as that line recorded 14 shots on 27 attempts. Snuggerud who was held to one shot in 71 minutes finished the night with seven shots on 12 attempts and notched one goal and three assists. The freshman forward now has six goals and three assists for nine points in eight games.

Knies had five shots on goal with eight attempts. He now has five goals and two assists for seven points in seven games. Cooley had two shots on seven attempts.

Over five minutes later Brock Faber connected with Nelson in front to make it 5-1. But a hobbling Nevers skated towards the bench after being kneed by Joe Dunlap on the blue line. The referees got together at center ice and gave Dunlap a five-minute penalty and a game misconduct for kneeing. Reviewing it once again, the play was announced as offside and no goal was the call.

The Gophers got their five-minute power play with five minutes and 27 seconds left on the clock but they did it without Mason Nevers who has three goals and four assists in his first eight games. His career high came last year with six goals and seven assists in 38 games. Nevers is on pace for over ten goals and 25 points this year so if the knee injury puts him out for a while, this Gopher team will certainly miss him. 

“He’s just a workhorse, always battling for pucks in front of the net, and he’s always in the best position, plays power play, and penalty kill,” Nevers’ teammate Matthew Knies said a week ago on Nevers. “I think he’s definitely shown that he’s a leader on this team and he’s such a valuable component.”

Burnside notched his second goal of the game and fourth of the year after beating Close on another short-handed breakaway. Close made 20 saves on 22 shots for the Gophers tonight helping Minnesota complete the split over Ohio in their first Big Ten matchup of the year.

“We went to work tonight,” Gophers head coach Bob Motzko said. “It wasn’t all pretty early, but we hung in there and we kept with it. Our freshmen line had a huge shift for us in the second period and it got our guys on the bench going.”

The Gophers (5-2-1) will head back to Minnesota for a home series against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish next weekend. 7:00pm for both games on Bally Sports.

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