Jason Gonzalez has covered an array of sports at all levels over the last six 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 is nearing two years with the Star Tribune.
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Gophers goaltender Adam Wilcox stops a shot from RPI's Matt Neal during the first period at Mariucci Arena on Jan. 4. KYNDELL HARKNESS/STAR TRIBUNE
Adam Wilcox’s week started on a high note.
The Gophers goaltender was nominated for the Hobey Baker Award and honored as the Big Ten’s Third Star of the week on Tuesday.
Wilcox is the lone Gopher nominated for the award given to the nation’s top player. Through 18 games in the net, he has 458 saves (.923 percentage) and given up just 28 goals for a 2.13 goals against average.
An impressive weekend at Penn State earned his first Big Ten weekly award. He recorded 64 saves in 68 chances for a pair of wins, 3-2 and 5-2. He matched a career high 36 saves on Monday.
Wilcox leads all Big Ten goaltenders in wins (13) and is riding an eight-game unbeaten streak (6-0-2).
The Gophers streak of conference honors extends to 10 weeks. They’ve earned 13 honors by nine different players.
Wisconsin forward Michael Mersch was the Big Ten’s First Star, and Ohio State forward Ryan Dzingel the Second Star.
Overall, Minnesota college hockey programs had a good showing among the 70 Hobey Baker Award nominees. St. Cloud State and Minnesota-Duluth each had three players nominated, and Minnesota State had two.
This group includes the Huskies’ Ryan Faragher, Nic Dowd and Jonny Brodzinski, the Bulldog’s Tony Cameranesi, Andy Welinski and Caleb Herbert, and the Mavericks’ Jean-Paul Lafontaine and Matt Leitner.
The first phase of fan voting runs through March 9. Voting for the Top 10 finalists will open on March 20. The winner will be announced from a field of three finalists on April 11 during the Frozen Four in Philadelphia.
St. Cloud State’s Drew LeBlanc was the 2013 Hobey Baker Award winner. Minnesota-Duluth’s Jack Connolly won the 2012 award. The last Gopher to win was Jordan Leopold in 2002.
• The Gophers remain at No. 1 in the polls. St. Cloud State dropped to No. 3 in the USCHO poll after splitting on the road at Denver.
The two Minnesota programs are scheduled to face off in the first round of the North Star College Cup in two weeks at Xcel Energy Center.
The Gophers women continue their unanimous No. 1 streak despite a tie turned shootout loss (nine rounds) to Ohio State on Saturday. Complete women’s USCHO poll.