Logan Cooley starts a scoring parade as Gophers dominate Michigan State

It took only nine ticks of the clock for Minnesota Gophers rookie Logan Cooley to give his team a lead, and that was just the beginning of their dominance of the Spartans on Friday.

Michigan State vs Minnesota
Minnesota forward Jimmy Snuggerud (81) heard the roar of the student second after scoring versus Michigan State in a game between the Gophers and Spartans on Friday, Jan. 27, 2023 at 3M Arena at Mariucci in Minneapolis.
Eric Miller / Gopher Sports

MINNEAPOLIS — Hockey teams on all levels like to play with a lead. Thanks to one of their red-hot rookies, the Minnesota Gophers did that for nearly a full 60 minutes on Friday.

Logan Cooley’s goal just nine seconds after the opening faceoff set the tone as the Gophers seemed in control right from the final strains of the National Anthem, beating Michigan State 8-0 for their 12th consecutive win over the Spartans, dating back three years.

"After four overtime games in the past five games, I didn't mind that. A little less stress," Gophers coach Bob Motzko said. "Everybody was going tonight offensively, but it starts right off the bat with a great pass by (Brock) Faber to Cooley."

Faber, the team captain, had a trio of assists for the Gophers (19-7-1 overall, 13-3-1) who needed no overtime hockey in this one. Justen Close backstopped his 16th win of the season with 21 saves.

For the Spartans (13-12-2, 7-8-2), goalie Dylan St. Cyr had 16 saves in the first 40 minutes before he was replaced by Pierce Charleson for the final period.


Spartans first year head coach Adam Nightingale, who coached Cooley and Jimmy Snuggerud last season with the USA Hockey National Development Team, said his team initially rebounded from Minnesota's quick start.

"After that we played pretty good, but obviously the game got away from us there, and we've got to be better tomorrow," Nightingale said. "The easy thing to do is feel sorry for yourself and point fingers. The reality is we've got a chance tomorrow and we've got to look in the mirror."

Michigan State vs Minnesota
Sandwiched by teammates Ryan Johnson (left) and Jimmy Snuggerud (right), Minnesota forward Logan Cooley was congratulated after scoring versus Michigan State just nine seconds into a game between the Gophers and Spartans on Friday, January 27, 2023 at 3M Arena at Mariucci in Minneapolis.
Eric Miller / Gopher Sports

It was a showcase of the Gophers’ high-powered top line, as Cooley, Jimmy Snuggerud and Matthew Knies all had goals before the second intermission, when the Gophers led 5-0. Charleson would fare not much better than the Spartans starter, as Jackson LaCombe scored on a power play and Aaron Huglen got his second goal in as many games, opening up a seven-goal lead.

"It's exciting when the student section is rocking and the building is rocking," said defenseman Mike Koster, who had a goal and two assists. "We kind of fed off the momentum and I think we did it the right way the whole night."

For Close, it was his fifth shutout of the season, and his second versus Michigan State. He blanked the Spartans with 25 saves in a 5-0 win on Dec. 2 in East Lansing, Mich. It was the Gophers’ most lopsided win of the season, eclipsing a 7-1 defeat of Wisconsin in December.

Charleson faced a dozen Gophers shots in the final period, finishing with nine saves.

It was the most since North Dakota, the host school for the Fargo Regional, played St. Cloud State in the 2015 regional when 5,307 fans packed the south Fargo arena, which opened in 2008.
Following his slashing penalty, the freshman forward took a stretch pass and housed it for the eventual game-winner.
Logan Cooley, Jackson LaCombe and Jaxon Nelson each had a goal and an assist for Minnesota in a 4-1 win over St. Cloud State.
Cory Portner is the director of the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center at St. Cloud State University. This week, he's lending his talents to Scheels Arena and the NCAA tournament.
Top-seeded Minnesota scored eight unanswered goals to punctuate a first-round win over the Golden Griffins.
Springtime in the northland can be a grind, especially if you want to win college hockey games. The Minnesota Gophers needed about 25 minutes to be reminded of that, and then things got simple.
Thursday's sellout crowd of 5,061 was the third-largest Day 1 attendance in five regionals held at Scheels Arena and the largest since 2017.
Making just their second-ever NCAA playoff appearance, the Canisius Golden Griffins face top-ranked Minnesota with an attitude and a game designed to give their well-rested opponent fits.
Sights and sounds from Wednesday's practice day at Scheels Arena, where Minnesota State Mankato, St. Cloud State, Minnesota and Canisius all seek two wins and a trip to Florida for the Frozen Four.
The Roseau point guard left high school early to join the U of M, only to to miss her second season after surgery to relieve pressure in her brain. She came back to play this season.
Last season, Minnesota was 111th in the nation with only 19 sacks in 13 games.
Canisius, Minnesota, Minnesota State and St. Cloud State are set to take the ice Thursday for the opening round of the NCAA tournament

No practice, still a perfect start

Michigan State actually won the opening faceoff of the game, but Spartans center Karsen Dorwart pushed the puck forward, rather than pulling it back. It slid to the Gophers blue line where defenseman Ryan Johnson took control and got the puck to Faber. From there, Faber — who claimed they hadn't practiced the play — knew what to do.


"Not once, we didn't even talk about it," Faber said when asked if he and Cooley had worked on a lightning-like start to games. "You feel like the quarterback ... and you always look for the center first, if he's open."

Faber looked, and Cooley was indeed open, splitting the Spartans defenders and headed at full speed for the offensive blue line. Faber's pass was on target, and Cooley was in alone on St. Cyr before most fans had even sat down.

"Luckily he was open, and obviously he doesn't miss that breakaway much," Faber said. "No drawing board for that one."

Extra pucks

Healthy scratches for the Gophers on Friday included defenseman Matt Staudacher and Carl Fish, along with forwards Charlie Strobel and John Mittelstadt. Defenseman Luke Mittlestadt returned to the lineup after missing the previous two games due to an injury suffered in a 3-0 win at Notre Dame on January 14.

The penalties called on both teams in the second period were the first whistled in a game between the Gophers and Spartans this season. The teams played two penalty-free games at Michigan State in early December.

The Gophers and Spartans conclude their two-game Big Ten series and their season series with a 4 p.m. CT first faceoff at 3M Arena at Mariucci on Saturday afternoon.

Michigan State vs Minnesota
Minnesota goalie Justen Close fought off a Michigan State shot in the first period of a game between the Gophers and Spartans on Friday, January 27, 2023 at 3M Arena at Mariucci in Minneapolis.
Eric Miller / Gopher Sports


Minnesota 8, Michigan State 0

Minnesota 2-3-3—8

Michigan State 0-0-0—0

First period — 1. MN, Logan Cooley 13 (Brock Faber, Ryan Johnson), 0:09. 2. MN, Jimmy Snuggerud 14 (Johnson, Faber), 16:47. Penalties — None.

Second period — 3. MN, Connor Kurth 5 (Mike Koster, Faber), 7:36. 4. MN, Matthew Knies 15 (Snuggerud, Cooley), 15:48. 5. MN, Mike Koster 2 (unassisted), 17:26. Penalties — Nash Nienhuis, MS (slashing), 12:03; Cooley, MN (interference), 13:02.

Third period — 6. MN, Jackson LaCombe 7 (Snuggerud, Cooley), 3:09. MN, Aaron Huglen 4 (Rhett Pitlick), 4:26. 8. MN, Garrett Pinoniemi 1 (Koster, Brody Lamb), 16:52, (PP). Penalties — Christian Krygier, MS (tripping), 3:03; Colin Schmidt, MN (slashing), 4:50; Miroslav Mucha, MS (interference), 6:10. Tiernan Shoudy, MS (hooking), 16:18; Koster, MN (roughing), 19:33; Tanner Kelly, MS (roughing), 19:33.

Shots on goal — MN 9-12-12—33; MS 7-8-6—21. Goalies — Justen Close, MN (21 shots-21 saves); Dylan St. Cyr, MS (21-16); Pierce Charleson, MS (12-9). Power plays — MN 2-of-4, MS 0-of-2. Referees — Tony DellaFranco, Tony Czech. Linesmen — Johnathan Morrison, Chad Roethlisberger. Att. — 10,220.

Jess Myers covers college hockey, as well as outdoors, general sports and travel, for The Rink Live and the Forum Communications family of publications. He came to FCC in 2018 after three decades of covering sports as a freelancer for a variety of publications, while working full time in politics and media relations. A native of Warroad, Minn. (the real Hockeytown USA), Myers has a degree in journalism/communications from the University of Minnesota Duluth. He lives in the Twin Cities. Contact Jess via email at, or find him on Twitter via @JessRMyers. English speaker.
What To Read Next
Get Local