Jason Gonzalez has covered an array of sports at all levels over the last nine years. He learned ice hockey, however, long before — during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah (his hometown). He got a close up look of legendary Gophers alum Herb Brooks and other Minnesota hockey greats. Jason has been with the Star Tribune since 2012.
Ben Marshall’s departure from last night’s season-opening victory didn’t look promising. The Gophers junior defenseman took a puck to the right hand/wrist area with 5:32 in the third period and didn’t return.
On Saturday morning Marshall was said to be a game-time decision, and just after 5 p.m. he was listed third-line defense for the Ice Breaker finale against New Hampshire.
The injury was serious enough to require an X-Ray, but tests were negative. Marshall dropped a knee in front of a slapshot, but his hand/wrist made the deflection. He left his stick behind and skated off the ice immediately. He was examined on the bench and appeared to be in a lot of pain before leaving for the locker room.
Marshall had an assist in last night’s 6-0 victory over Mercyhurst and a pair of assists in last weekend’s exhibition game. Despite feeling well enough to play Saturday night, he’ll likely be under close surveillance.
• The Gophers will face their first ranked opponent of the season Saturday night. New Hampshire is ranked No. 12 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll and is predicted to finish third in the Hockey East conference.
New Hampshire is a two-time defending Ice Breaker Tournament champion, having won titles in both of its previous appearances (2000 and 2004). The Wildcats are the only undefeated team in the 17-year running of the tournament.
This is also the Gophers third appearance. They’ve won one title in 2007.
• Two more Gophers freshmen will make their collegiate debut on Saturday night. Redshirt freshman forward Connor Reilly will play on the third line, and true freshman defenseman Jake Bischoff will play on the third-line with Marshall.
Christian Isackson and Michael Brodzinski will get the night off. Brodzinski scored one of the Gophers’ six goals Friday night.
Here are Saturday night’s lines.
Forwards (left wing, center, right wing)
Sam Warning, Kyle Rau, Hudson Fasching
Nate Condon, Justin Kloos, Taylor Cammarata
Connor Reilly, Travis Boyd, Vinni Lettieri
Tom Serratore, A.J. Michaelson, Seth Ambroz
Defensemen (left, right)
Brady Skjei, Justin Holl
Mike Reilly, Jake Parenteau
Jake Bischoff, Ben Marshall
• GAME PREVIEW: No. 12 New Hampshire at No. 5 Gophers
7:10 p.m., Saturday, championship of the Ice Breaker Tournament at Mariucci Arena
TV/radio: Fox Sports North PLUS; 1500-AM
Gophers goaltender Adam Wilcox happy with his team's defense: