Snuggerud scores twice for Gophers in 5-4 win at Ohio State

Jimmy Snuggerud scored twice during a three-point performance leading the No. 10/9 Minnesota men’s hockey team to a 5-4 win at Ohio State Friday night from Value City Arena.

The Golden Gophers (9-5-3 overall, 5-4-2 B1G) led three different times Friday and held on late to take down the Buckeyes (5-8-3 overall, 0-8-1 B1G). Brody Lamb had a goal and an assist, scoring the game winner in the middle of the third period on the power play, and Minnesota went 2-for-4 on the man advantage to win its fourth-straight over OSU.

After a tentative start, the game turned into instant offense as the teams combined for five goals across the first period. Snuggerud forced a turnover in the offensive zone and gave the Maroon and Gold an early 1-0 edge at 4:06. The sophomore picked up the loose puck and went between-the-legs for an unassisted, highlight-reel tally. The home team answered 12 seconds later as they capitalized on a Minnesota giveaway behind the goal and took a 2-1 lead with a power-play goal 7:57 into the action. Less than two minutes after OSU moved ahead, it was assessed a five-minute major and game misconduct for a hit from behind.

The Gophers pounced on the man advantage as Jaxon Nelson won the initial faceoff and Sam Rinzel got a pass over to Snuggerud at the top of the circle. The Chaska, Minn., native wired home his second of the night to pull even, 2-2. Momentum stayed with the visitors and Rhett Pitlick collected a Snuggerud pass in the neutral zone and flew up the left wing before depositing the go-ahead goal with 3:02 remaining in the opening frame.

After the teams skated evenly for the first 12 minutes in the second period, the Buckeyes got the equalizer at 12:36, scoring on a rebound. Minnesota responded four minutes later and regained the one-goal cushion as Aaron Huglen dropped a pass behind his back to Lamb, whose shot was stopped, but Connor Kurth was rewarded again for driving to the net and buried the rebound. The Gophers carried the 4-3 lead into the second intermission.

Mike Koster nearly stretched the visitor’s advantage to two, 1:22 into the final frame, as he walked around the OSU player but rang a shot off the left post. Minnesota converted its second power-play tally at the 7:28 mark, taking a 5-3 lead, when Lamb knocked home a mid-air rebound following an Oliver Moore one-timer. The Buckeyes fought back, cutting the margin to one with 4:46 to play in regulation and pulled their goalie for the final two minutes. The Gophers wiped away any chance around the net and Justen Close held firm between the pipes, securing the 5-4 victory.