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 Gophers return to Big Ten play shorthanded.
Defenseman Ben Marshall was suspended one game for an overload of game misconduct penalties. Forward Tom Serratore and defenseman Michael Brodzinski sustained lower-body injuries and will be sidelined at least two weeks.
“We’re going to be a little shorthanded this week, especially on Friday night not having Ben available for the game,” Gophers coach Don Lucia said before voicing frustration with the NCAA rule and Saturday’s penalty that affected Marshall. “Other guys are going to have to step up now and that’s all part of the course of the season. The good thing is both of the injuries we do have right now are nothing that’s going to prevent them from playing the rest of the year.”
Serratore was hurt blocking a shot in his last shift of overtime in Saturday’s shootout victory over Minnesota Duluth. Brodzinski was hurt in the third period of Friday’s win over St. Cloud State.
Marshall’s punishment is result of Saturday’s game misconduct called after a hard check on Bulldogs’ Austin Farley in open ice. The referees huddled and determined it was a hit to the head. Marshall disagreed as he was escorted off the ice.
Lucia thought the replay showed it wasn’t a hit to the head and voiced his support for using video review when determining major penalties. Currently replay is only used to review goals, if necessary.
NCAA rules state that any player who receives three game misconduct penalties in the same season, including exhibition games, shall not be permitted to play in the team’s next game. Each additional game misconduct will result in another one-game suspension.
Marshall’s first game misconduct came in the preseason exhibition against Lethbridge. The second was also against Minnesota Duluth on Nov. 24.
"That's the rule today and we'll live with the rule. Ben understands it," Lucia said. "I know he was frustrated and disappointed, but hopefully that is something we can get changed."
Marshall wasn’t made available for comment on Wednesday.
“They thought that [Marshall] got up high and whatever the case was with the hit, any time you get up there it’s going to be an automatic call for the ref,” Gophers senior captain Nate Condon said. “Any time there is a debatable call I’m going to argue for our team’s favor just ‘cause I don’t want to take the penalty, but it’s not my job to decide what’s right and wrong.”
The Gophers enter the round-robin portion of their conference schedule this week. Michigan State comes to Mariucci Arena for a Friday-Saturday series. The Spartans tied and lost to the Gophers at home in early December.
Last weekend, Michigan State was swept by rival Michigan. The Gophers won the inaugural North Star College Cup and are on a 12-game unbeaten streak.
Gophers coach Don Lucia:
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Gophers defenseman Mike Reilly: