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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Photo courtesy of Gophers hockey
The two remaining unbeaten teams in men’s Division 1 hockey hail from Minnesota. St. Cloud State and the Gophers are a combined 10-0-2 through four weeks of the season and have been rewarded with the No. 3 and No. 1 rankings in the USCHO poll.
St. Cloud State jumped six spots to No. 3 after sweeping North Dakota on the road in Grand Forks. The Huskies are No. 4 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll.
The Gophers’ bye week helped retain unanimous No. 1 in both polls. They travel to No. 4/3 Notre Dame this weekend. The Irish were No. 2 before splitting with Vermont, last weekend.
It will be nearly three months before St. Cloud State and the Gophers test one another, which leaves plenty of time for a first loss. The in-state rivals will meet in the opening round of the inaugural North Star College Cup on Jan. 24 at Xcel Energy Center.
Michigan jumped three spots to No. 2 for extra Big Ten presence atop the polls.
Complete USCHO and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls.
• A bye week didn’t keep the Gophers off the ice on Saturday. The team hosted the Larry Hendrickson foundation and its special hockey and sled hockey teams for an afternoon skate.
It’s the second year the Gophers have welcomed the foundation to Mariucci Arena. Hendrickson, the director of the foundation, has two sons well connected in the hockey community. His son, Darby, is an assistant coach for the Wild. His other son, Dan, is Gophers hockey alumni.
Check out more pictures from the event.