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.
Follow Jason on Twitter @JGonStrib
Email to talk Gophers.
Tonight’s matchup might be more satisfying than the smell of mini donuts that welcomes me each night at Mariucci Arena.
No. 5 Boston College is coming off a 9-2 statement win against previously No. 2-ranked Wisconsin, and the No. 1 Gophers will attempt to solidify their newfound top spot in the rankings.
Boston College and its junior forward Johnny Gaudreau will be a big test for the Gophers. Gaudreau currently leads the country in points per game (2.33) and is coming off back-to-back three-point performances.
Gaudreau wasn’t with the Eagles for their 8-1 loss to the Gophers in last year’s Mariucci Classic championship. He was playing with the national team. Expect him to play a big role in tonight’s game.
The Gophers have their own hot hand in Sam Warning, who is tied for the NCAA scoring lead. Warning played off the idea of going head-to-head against Gaudreau, but it’ll be fun to see how they feed off one another.
(Check out the below tweet and graphic Boston College created to ramp up the Gaudreau-Warning matchup)
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
Ben Marshall, Michael Brodzinski
• The Big Ten is depending on the Gophers to make up points in the inaugural Big Ten/Hockey East Challenge. After one weekend of the challenge, Hockey East has a 9-4 advantage in points.
Boston-area programs collected eight points for Hockey East with wins against No. 2 Wisconsin and Michigan State. Michigan was the only Big Ten team to collect points (four) in the first week.
The Challenge, 13 games played over 10 days, will end with the Gophers-Boston College Sunday afternoon affair. The conference with the most points during this stretch will be declared the winner.
A win is good for two points, a tie for one point, and a bonus point is awarded for a road win. Six of the final seven games will be played in Big Ten venues.
Big Ten/Hockey East Challenge schedule and results
Friday, October 18 (Points)
No. 6 Boston College 9, No. 2 Wisconsin 2, HEA-2
Massachusetts 3, Michigan State 1, HEA-2
No. 5 Michigan 1, No. 13 New Hampshire 1 (OT), Big Ten-1/HEA-1
Saturday, October 19
Boston University 7, No. 2 Wisconsin 3, HEA-2
Massachusetts 5, Michigan State 2. HEA-2
No. 5 Michigan 3, No. 13 New Hampshire 2 (OT), Big Ten-3
Friday, October 25 Time Television (Checking your local provider)
No. 14 Boston University at No. 4 Michigan, 7 p.m., XFINITY Channel 900
UMass Lowell at Michigan State, 6 p.m., Fox Sports Detroit
No. 5 Boston College at No. 1 Gophers, 7 p.m., Big Ten Network
Saturday, October 26
Vermont vs. Penn State.4 p.m., Comcast Phila./New England (tape-delayed, 8 p.m.)
No. 14 Boston University at Michigan State, 6 p.m.
UMass Lowell at No. 4 Michigan, 6 p.m., Fox Sports Detroit
Sunday, October 27
No. 5 Boston College at No. 1 Gophers, 1 p.m., Fox Sports North/STO/Fox College Sports-Central