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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Jake Parenteau will return to the ice on Saturday night. It’ll come at a cost to the Gophers, though.
Freshman defenseman Michael Brodzinski was banged up in the third period of Friday night’s game and is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. His absence made the decision to play Parenteau easy.
Parenteau, a senior defenseman, broke his leg seven weeks ago at Michigan State. He required surgery to repair the bone and has been sidelined since. He began skating three weeks ago and looked good in pregame warm-ups.
Sam Warning and Taylor Cammarata return to their original lines. Warning will rejoin Kyle Rau and Hudson Fasching on the first line, and Cammarata returns to the second line with Justin Kloos and Nate Condon.
• A 4-1 victory over St. Cloud State on Friday night was the Gophers’ first win at Xcel Energy Center since 2012.
They played one game last season at Xcel Energy Center and lost 2-1 to Colorado College in the WCHA Final Five. Gophers coach Don Lucia was happy to produce success in the building once again on Friday.
“There isn’t a better [facility] you get a chance to play in, certainly in college hockey. Anytime you get chance to play here I think that’s a good thing,” Gophers coach Don Lucia said. “I think we were disappointed we came here last year and lost the one game in the Final Five. It’s nice to get a win here. It’s been a while.”
• St. Cloud State thought more good than bad came from Friday night’s loss to the Gophers. It was evident in Saturday’s North Star College Cup consolation game.
The No. 5-ranked Huskies’ rarely missed in a 6-4 victory over Minnesota State. They scored on three of four power plays and always had an answer to a lot of scoring from the Mavericks.
Jonny Brodzinski continued his hot streak with two goals and an assist. He scored the Huskies’ first goal and was part of four consecutive goals in the second period.
Nic Dowd also scored three points (one goal, two assists) for the Huskies (13-5-4). Six St. Cloud State players had at least two points. Jean-Paul Lafontaine led Minnesota State (14-12-0) with two goals and one assist.
• Read Friday's game story of Gophers 4-1 victory over St. Cloud State.
• INAUGURAL NORTH STAR COLLEGE CUP
Friday, Session 1
Game 1: Minnesota Duluth 5, Minnesota State Mankato 4, OT
Game 2: Gophers 4, St. Cloud State 1
Saturday, Session 2
Game 3: Consolation Game - St. Cloud State 6, Minnesota State Mankato 4
Game 4: Championship Game, 7 p.m., FSN, 1500-AM, 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. ...
• 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)
Sam Warning, Kyle Rau, Hudson Fasching
Nate Condon, Justin Kloos, Taylor Cammarata
Tom Serratore, Travis Boyd, Seth Ambroz
Connor Reilly, Gabe Buertler, Christian Isackson
Defensemen (left, right)
Brady Skjei, Justin Holl
Mike Reilly, Jake Parenteau
Jake Bischoff, Ben Marshall
Twin Cities products in the opposing lineup - Minnesota-Duluth
Forwards: Kyle Osterberg, Lakeville; Tony Cameranesi, Plymouth; Justin Crandall, Lakeville; Caleb Herbert, Bloomington; Cal Decowski, Andover.
Defenseman: Derik johnson, Bloomington; Willie Raskob, Hastings; Dan Molenaar, Eden Prairie.
Goaltenders: Aaron Crandall, Lakeville; Matt McNeely, Burnsville.
Gophers forward Travis Boyd: