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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Adam Wilcox stopped a career-high 36 shots in Friday night's 6-1 victory at Mariucci Arena. The Gophers goaltender gave up goal in the fifth minute and then shutout in-state rival Minnesota-Duluth for the next 55 minutes.
Gophers coach Don Lucia and Bulldogs coach Scott Sandelin each highlighted Wilcox’s effort. Lucia thought the Gophers relied too much on their goaltender. Sandelin said Wilcox quickly killed any momentum UMD gained off its first goal.
“They capitalized on a couple mistakes and put pucks in the net. Where we had opportunities, Wilcox was there to make the save,” Sandelin said.
The Bulldogs weren’t hungry enough around the net, Sandelin added. The one time they were, it led to a goal. Charlie Sampair rebounded his own shot for a quick 1-0 UMD lead. The Gophers responded with six unanswered goals.
Before the Gophers scored three goals in three minutes to close out the first period, the Bulldogs were well in control. Lucia said his team showed a lot of flaws during the opening 14 minutes and UMD was the more assertive team.
“The difference for me was Wilcox was great in the net and we had some puck luck,” Lucia said. “I feel good that we won the game. I also know that it was not a 6-1 game. Scoreboard says that, but that’s not the game that was palyed. We have to do some things better on Sunday if we want to win the game.”
Read Friday night's game story.
Gophers forward Tom Serratore:
Gophers coach Don Lucia: