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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The first natural hat trick in Big Ten history earned Sam Warning conference honors on Tuesday.
Warning was named the Big Ten’s Second Star of the week after scoring three goals in Saturday’s 4-2 victory over Ohio State.
The surge of offense rallied the Gophers from a 2-0 deficit to sweep the Buckeyes. Warning scored three consecutive goals and Seth Ambroz secured the win with a goal in the third period.
“I was a pretty special moment. I think at the time, though, it was a 3-2 game, so I couldn’t get too excited about it,” Warning said on Saturday. “I have to give a lot of credit to Justin Kloos and Nate Condon. Those guys worked hard tonight. I kind of just went to the side of the net and got great passes from both of them.”
Warning leads the Big Ten and is second in the nation in plus-minus with plus-21. His 26 points (10 goals, 16 assists) rank second in the Big Ten. He’s collected four conference weekly awards. It’s his first honor since three straight to open the season.
Michigan State goaltender Jake Hildebrand earned First Star of the week after stopping 77 of 79 shots against Penn State. He recorded a career-high 48 saves in Friday’s shutout victory.
Spartans forward Lee Reimer was the Third Star.
• The Gophers are college hockey’s unanimous No. 1.
The Gophers (17-2-3 overall) are the only two-loss team in the country. Four teams, including No. 5 St. Cloud State, are next in line with four losses.
This weekend’s North Star College Cup will showcase the No. 1 Gophers and No. 5 Huskies on Friday night at Xcel Energy Center. The Huskies also have been ranked No. 1 this season.
Gophers senior forward Nate Condon:
Gophers junior forward Sam Warning: