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 North Star College Cup is already living up to its hype.
Minnesota-Duluth scored in the final seconds of overtime to top Minnesota State 5-4 on Friday night at Xcel Energy Center.
The Bulldogs avoided a shootout with Alex Iafallo’s game-winner with 26 seconds remaining in the extra period. The Mavericks were unable to clear the loose puck in front of their goal and Tony Cameranesi pushed it to Iafallo for the goal.
The two team’s first meeting this season was filled with penalties. Both teams scored two power-play goals and each scored a shorthanded goal.
Iafallo finished with three points (one goal, two assists) and Andy Welinski scored a goal and assisted one for Minnesota-Duluth.
JP Lafontaine, Zach Lehrke and Zach Palmquist each contributed a goal and an assist for Minnesota State, who has now lost four of seven to start the New Year.
The Bulldogs advance to the Saturday’s 7 p.m. championship game against the winner of St. Cloud State and the Gophers. The Mavericks will play in the 4 p.m. consolation game.
• Jake Parenteau will get another night of rest. The Gophers defenseman was cleared to play earlier this weekend, but was left out of Friday’s lineup.
“Whether he plays or not this weekend we’ll have to evaluate during practice, during the course of the week and from Friday to Saturday night,” Gophers coach Don Lucia said earlier this week. “The guys have been playing pretty well that are in there right now, so he’s going to have to earn his way back.”
Parenteau, a senior, broke his leg six weeks ago at Michigan State and underwent surgery to repair the bone. He has been out since.
• INAUGURAL NORTH STAR COLLEGE CUP
Friday, Session 1
Game 1: Minnesota Duluth 5, Minnesota State Mankato 4, OT
Game 2: St. Cloud State vs. Minnesota, 7 p.m., FSN
Saturday, Session 2
Game 3: Consolation Game, 4 p.m., FSN
Game 4: Championship Game, 7 p.m., FSN
(Both of the Gophers games also will be broadcast on 1500-AM and streamed on BTN2Go.com)
Gophers at a glance: The Gophers (17-2-3, 7-0-1-0 Big Ten) are riding a 10-game unbeaten streak and are the unanimous No. 1 team in college hockey. They return to full strength this weekend with defenseman Jake Parenteau (broken leg) cleared to play. The Gophers will need every piece working in Friday’s nightcap against highly ranked St. Cloud State.
• Read full tournament preview with a breakdown of each of the four Minnesota programs.
• North Star College Cup feature: Brodzinski brothers battle for bragging rights at the X.
• Gophers lines
Forwards (left wing, center, right wing)
Taylor Cammarata, Kyle Rau, Hudson Fasching
Sam Warning, Justin Kloos, Nate Condon
Tom Serratore, Travis Boyd, Seth Ambroz
A.J. Michaelson, Vinni Lettieri, Christian Isackson
Defensemen (left, right)
Brady Skjei, Justin Holl
Mike Reilly, Michael Brodzinski
Jake Bischoff, Ben Marshall
Twin Cities products in the opposing lineup (Ohio State)
Forwards: Jonny Brodzinski, Blaine; Cory Thorson, Crystal; Joe Rehkamp, Plymouth.
Defenseman: Andrew Prochno, Minnetonka; Charlie Lindgren, Shoreview; Joseph Phillippi, Shoreview.
Gophers coach Don Lucia: