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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Kyle Rau couldn’t enjoy his big moment on Friday night. The Gophers junior captain became the 80th player in program history to score 100 points.
A 2-2 tie with Colgate, which ended in a 2-1 shootout loss, clouded Rau’s celebration. The loss kept the Gophers from advancing to Saturday's Mariucci Classic championship game.
Rau acknowledged the milestone after the game, but breezed over it. Fans showered him with a big cheer when it was announced after Travis Boyd’s goal midway through the third period. Rau was one of two assists on the game-tying goal.
“It’s pretty cool. It’s disappointing we lost, but I guess it’s one positive I can take,” Rau said. “It’s something I can look back on when I’m older and think it’s cool to see my name in the program, but right now it’s not that big of deal.”
Rau is tied for the second-most points on the team this season with 17. He has 14 assists and three goals.
• USA Hockey's early exit from the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships allowed the players to return home on Friday night. It's likely Don Lucia will return to coach, and Skjei and Fasching will return to the ice on Saturday.
• Colgate coach Don Vaughan told his players before the game if they can’t get excited at the idea of upsetting the No. 1-ranked team in college hockey they should take up chess. They’ll get a chance to upset No. 2 Ferris State on Saturday.
The Raiders beat Ferris State in their season opening series.
“It feels great. I’m really proud of our guys. It’s a great hockey environment and I said to our guys before the game ‘If you can’t get up for a game at Mariucci, it’s probably time to take up chess or something else’ ” Vaughan said.
“The energy in that building was phenomenal tonight. I thought our young team really answered the bell and it was an entertaining game. They fired a lot of pucks at our goaltender. I thought he played well. Scoring chances at the end of the night might have evened out even though we didn’t have as many shots as they did.”
Gophers associate head coach Mike Guentzel:
Gophers forward Kyle Rau: