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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Gophers Sam Warning (11) scores a goal against Mercyhurst in the opening round of the Ice Breaker Tournament. MARLIN LEVIS
Gophers forwards Sam Warning and Kyle Rau were named to the first set of Big Ten hockey’s Three Stars of the week.
The new conference will name a first, second, and third star to honor top weekly performers in the conference throughout the season.
Warning was the Second Star after being named MVP of the Ice Breaker Tournament. He scored three points in the tournament opener (one goal, two assists), and scored the game-tying goal in the championship game against New Hampshire.
Rau was the Third Star. He was one of four Gophers named to the Ice Breaker All-Tournament team and collected three points in the opener against Mercyhurst. Rau's goal was the Gophers first of the season and led to his 25th career multi-point game. The forward also had an assist against New Hampshire.
Michigan sophomore forward Andrew Copp earned First Star. He scored five points in weekend wins against Boston College and RIT.
Other Big Ten hockey tidbits:
• The conference tallied a 7-2-0 record the first weekend of the season. Michigan and the Gophers picked up wins against ranked opponents Boston College (previously No. 4) and New Hampshire (previously No. 12).
• Penn State opened Pegula Ice Arena with a 4-1 victory over Army, last Friday. The new venue attracted a standing-room only crowd of 6,370. The building’s first goal was scored by Nate Jensen 3:02 into the game.
• All six conference members will be on the road this weekend. The Gophers are at in-state rival Bemidji State. No. 2-ranked Wisconsin travels to face ranked opponents Boston College and Boston University. No. 5 Michigan travels to No. 13 New Hampshire.