Jason Gonzalez has covered an array of sports at all levels over the last six 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 is nearing two years with the Star Tribune.
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The Gophers women’s hockey team hasn’t played an official game yet, but managed to bolster its already No. 1 ranking. USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine ranked the Gophers unanimous No. 1 in its first poll of the regular season.
The Gophers were also No. 1 in the preseason poll, however, Boston College received one first-place vote. In Tuesday’s poll the Gophers received all 19 first-place votes.
A pair of one-sided exhibition victories may have helped the Gophers’ status. They beat Team Japan 6-0 and the University of British Columbia 7-0, last weekend.
Eleven Gophers contributed at least one point in the second shutout victory.
"I thought tonight we looked more like a hockey team and were actually playing a hockey game," coach Brad Frost said in a press release following the win against British Columbia. "Last night, it felt like chuck-a-puck a little bit, but I thought tonight we started to do a lot of really good things offensively and power-play and penalty kill-wise as well."
The official season begins Friday as part of a two-game series at Colgate University in New York.
North Dakota jumped from No. 5 to No. 4 and Minnesota Duluth cracked into the Top 10 in the most recent national poll.
University of Minnesota Receives Unanimous No. 1 Ranking
USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine
Others receiving votes: Northeastern University, 15; St. Lawrence University, 4; Providence College, 3; Robert Morris University, 2.
Notes: The University of Minnesota is the defending NCAA national champion after posting a 41-0-0 record last winter ... The Golden Gophers reclaimed a unanimous No. 1 ranking this week after holding that distinction each week last season ... The Western Collegiate Hockey Association leads all conferences with four ranked teams, while ECAC Hockey has three ranked programs, Hockey East Association boast two squads in the rankings and College Hockey America has one team ranked ... A total of 14 teams received votes.
About the poll: The 17th annual USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Women's College Hockey Poll is conducted each week in conjunction with the American Hockey Coaches Association. The poll includes input from coaches and journalists representing each of the four NCAA Division I ice hockey conferences, as well as composite votes from officers of the AHCA and USA Hockey.