Gopher men’s hockey discusses upcoming season, hopes of a 3rd straight Frozen Four

Gopher Hockey players Media Day

After back-to-back appearances, Gopher men’s hockey knows qualifying for a third straight Frozen Four appearance would mean playing in front of a homestate crowd at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

Click the video box above to watch Gopher hockey players Jimmy Snuggerud, Justin Close, Bryce Brodzinski and captain Jaxon Nelson discuss the upcoming season – or click the video box below to watch head coach Bob Motzko’s preseason press conference

The Gophers lost 3-2 to Quinnipiac in last year’s National Championship game in Tampa.

Bob Motzko Gopher Hockey Media Day

The Gophers enter the new season working to offset the departure of two Hobey Baker Finalists from last season. Matthew Knies is now in the Toronto Maple Leafs organization. Logan Cooley reversed course on his initial decision to stay at the U, choosing to sign this summer with the Arizona Coyotes.

Defenseman and last year’s captain Brock Faber signed with the Minnesota Wild shortly after the Frozen Four.

Despite those high-profile NHL departures, the Gophers still bring back loads of experience.

Sophomore Jimmy Snuggerud – who skated on a line with Cooley and Knies last season – returns after his spectacular 50 point freshman season.

Several grad-students are back for their fifth seasons including newly-named team captain Jaxon Nelson, last year’s 19 goal-scorer Bryce Brodzinski and goalie Justen Close, whose .927 save percentage was fourth in the nation last year.

A talented class of freshman also arrived on campus since last season, led by Chicago Blackhawks draftee and Totino-Grace grad Oliver Moore. St Cloud’s Max Rud, Edina’s Jimmy Clark, Hill-Murray grad Axel Begley and Canadian goalie Nathan Airey round out the incoming class.

The Gophers play an exhibition game at newly-renovated Mariucci Arena on Sunday against Bemidji State. They open the season with two games against St Thomas – the first at the Xcel Energy Center on Friday, October 13th and the second at Mariucci Arena on Saturday, October 14th.