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.
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The Gophers are hoping to solidify the look of their lines and special teams in Saturday night’s 7 p.m. exhibition against Lethbridge of Alberta.
Two obvious pieces in the Gophers’ top two lines entering Saturday were junior Kyle Rau and senior Nate Condon. Rau is listed as the first line’s center, Condon as the second line’s right wing.
Lucia discussed the possibility of moving Rau from wing to center to help get him more touches of the puck. He was second in points (15 goals, 25 assists), last season.
Expect to see a lot of freshmen and sophomores on the ice tonight. Lucia said his older players would likely sit down after a period or half the game. Four freshmen forwards – Hudson Fasching, Vinni Lettieri, Justin Kloos, Taylor Cammarata – are on the first two lines. Freshmen defenseman Michael Brodzinski is on the second line.
Junior forward Sam Warning will sit out Saturday’s exhibition nursing an injury. Warning is expected to be back for the season opener and has been practicing with the team. Lucia said it is a precautionary move.
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Here are the lines:
Forwards (Left wing, center, right wing)
Hudson Fasching, Kyle Rau, Vinni Lettieri.
Nate Condon, Justin Kloos, Taylor Cammarata.
Connor Reilly, Travis Boyd, Christian Isackson.
Tom Serratore, A.J. Michaelson, Seth Ambroz.
Ryan Reilly, Christian Horn (right wing).
Defensemen (left, right)
Brady Skjei, Justin Holl.
Mike Reilly, Michael Brodzinski.
Jake Parenteau, Ben Marshall.