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Minnesota Hockey: Jimmy Snuggerud completes hat trick in Gophers 4-1 win over Mankato

Gophers win third in a row, freshmen class continues to thrive early

Brad Rempel

Freshman Jimmy Snuggerud did everything right last weekend against Lindenwood in the season opening series even though he didn’t get on the scoresheet like his linemate Logan Cooley did who scored four points.

On Friday night, Snuggerud didn’t just score his first collegiate goal, he completed the hat trick in the Minnesota Gopher hockey team’s 4-1 win against the in-state rival Minnesota State Mavericks.

While there wasn’t much at stake, it has to feel good for the Gophers — who improved to 3-0 on the season — to beat the Mavericks after being eliminated by them two years in a row, even though a lot of those players have moved on since.

After Cooley backhanded the puck on net, it was loose in the crease before Snuggerud sneaked it through for his first goal as a Gopher. Sometimes it just takes going to the dirty areas to make plays happen.

“It was definitely surreal, just watching all the games here growing up and hearing that crowd chant is pretty cool, so to have that happen was really fun,” Snuggerud said.

In the second period, Snuggerud found a loose puck in the slot and fired it past Mankato goalie Keenan Rancier’s blocker side. It was similar to the goal Brock Faber scored last weekend.

“He was frustrated last week,” head coach Bob Motzko said. “He didn’t get one last week, so I told him frustration is like a bad date. You’ve got to get out of it and start a new day and boy he came through tonight. He can shoot a hockey puck.”

Snuggerud showcased his lethal release when he completed the hat trick in the third period on the power play, giving the Gophers a commanding 3-1 lead.

The St. Louis Blues prospect played hard against Lindenwood, but he was finally able to execute in the first game of the home-and-home series against Minnesota State.

It’s not surprising either as the 18-year-old winger scored 63 points in 59 games last year with the U.S. National Development Program U-18 Team and was drafted by the Blues in the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft.

Rhett Pitlick, Cooley and Snuggerud are flourishing on a line early — a critical reason why the Gophers are 3-0. The trio has combined for 11 points through three games and is the epitome of an energy-boosting line.

After losing critical pieces this summer, the Gophers freshman class and the Cooley-centered line are proving that they’re capable and that the Gophers remain a dangerous threat.

The Gophers will look to take down the Mavericks again tomorrow night to start the season 4-0.