Gophers not phased after Jimmy Snuggerud speared in Ohio State series

Jimmy Snuggerud is fine and will be on the ice for the University of Minnesota men’s hockey team at Michigan State after some tense moments finishing off a sweep of Ohio State last weekend.

The Gophers had just scored an empty-net goal to seal a 6-3 win over the Buckeyes and were celebrating on their bench. Ohio State forward Cam Thiesing skated toward the Minnesota bench, and put the blade end of his stick into Snuggerud’s chest.

An official closest to the play immediately took Thiesing to the ice. He was assessed a game misconduct, and will be suspended one game but was not assessed further discipline by the Big Ten.

Gophers’ coach Bob Motzko says he hasn’t given the incident any thought since Saturday night.

"I haven’t seen anything like that before. I said 1980 was one of the last times I saw something like that. It’s over, it’s an emotional sport and I really never thought any more of it," Motzko said. "The most I’ve even talked about it is what you just asked me. I haven’t put any thought into it, I don’t have anything to do with that part of the world."

His teammates were mostly unaware of what had happened. They got greater detail in a video posted to social media.

"I actually didn’t see when it happened, but it was crazy. I saw the replay, I don’t really know. It was wild," defenseman Ryan Chesley said. "Saw that video, honestly I don’t have much to say about that, it was pretty wild."

"I was sitting on the bench and I didn’t really know what was going on. That was crazy, I don’t even know what to say about that, I’m just glad he’s OK. Obviously a dangerous play," forward Oliver Moore said.

The Gophers (14-6-4, 7-4-3) are moving onto far more important things. They’ve won five straight games and hit the road for the first time in 2024, facing Big Ten leader Michigan State this weekend. The Spartans are ranked No. 7 in the country. Back in late November, the Gophers played them to a 3-3 tie and 6-5 overtime win.

Minnesota remained fourth in the Big Ten at 23 points. Notre Dame is third at 23, Wisconsin has 30 and Michigan State has 34. The Gophers are 11 points out of first with five series to play, and the next two on the road.

"They’re in first place. You’re chasing, we’re chasing them, that’s the speed limit. They’ve got a lot of talent, so do we. We’ve been in a lot of big games, we know what to do in them. Just gotta get it done," Motzko said. "You’re in the hunt, and that’s the most important thing. It’s got meaning, whether you’re in it or chasing it, it’s got juice. That’s what you want in sports. I know it’s quite a few points, but we’re in it."