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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Freshmen were responsible for the Gophers' three goals on Friday night.
Hudson Fasching and Justin Kloos scored goals in regulation, and Taylor Cammarata scored the Gophers' only goal in six rounds of a shootout.
Cammarata was the only freshman to be called on in the shootout.
In attempt to get more contribution from the veterans, Lucia shook up the top three lines for Saturday night’s 7:10 p.m. series finale with Michigan State.
Sam Warning and Nate Condon both dropped back a line, while Cammarata and Connor Reilly jumped a line. Condon’s presence on the third line with Travis Boyd and Seth Ambroz will help recreate a veteran presence.
Injured senior Tom Serratore is usually completes the Gophers third line.
In honor of the extra contribution from Gophers freshmen, here’s a look at how future Gophers prospects are developing:
Shattuck-St. Mary’s Ryan Norman is among leaders in team scoring with 20 goals and 34 assists. Defenseman Ryan Lindgren has two goals and 10 assists and 60 penalty minutes. Rem Pitlick has eight goals and 20 assists in 37 games. Ryan Edquist has a 17-10-1 record with a 2.20 goals against in 27 games played for the 16-U squad
For the Penticton Vees of the BCHL, Jack Ramsey from Chanhassen, has seven goals and 13 assists in 45 games.
• Read Friday night's game story.
• Gophers lines
Forwards (left wing, center, right wing)
Taylor Cammarata, Kyle Rau, Hudson Fasching
Sam Warning, Justin Kloos, Connor Reilly
Nate Condon, Travis Boyd, Seth Ambroz
Ryan Reilly, Christian Isackson, Vinni Lettieri
Defensemen (left, right)
Brady Skjei, Justin Holl
Mike Reilly, Jake Parenteau
Jake Bischoff, Ben Marshall
Adam Wilcox, Michael Shibrowski, Ryan Coyne
Twin Cities products in the opposing lineup - Michigan State
Defenseman: John Draeger, Edina.
• The Gophers are now 1-4 in shootouts this season. Their first shootout victory was last Saturday in the North Star College Cup championship game against Minnesota Duluth.
Michigan State, however, has won three of four shootouts this season. Two of those wins have come against the Gophers.
Lucia credited the Spartans' edge to their experience with shootouts in the old CCHA. The Gophers old conference (WCHA) did not sponsor shootouts.
“Well our goaltender has been outstanding, that’s one. We’ve scored some timely goals,” Michigan State coach Tom Anastos said about his team’s shootout success. “I guess you never know when you go into those. I don’t want to jinx myself, but it certainly feels better to be on that side of it than the losing side.”
• SERIES PREVIEW: Michigan State (8-12-4 overall, 2-4-2-3 Big Ten) at Gophers (18-2-5, 7-0-2-0)
7:10 p.m. on Saturday at Mariucci Arena
TV/radio/live stream: FSN-plus, 1500-AM, BTN2Go.com
Gophers at a glance: The Gophers return to Big Ten play shorthanded. Defenseman Ben Marshall was suspended one game for collecting three game misconduct penalties in the same season. Forward Tom Serratore and defenseman Michael Brodzinski sustained lower-body injuries and will be sidelined at least two weeks. The last time the Gophers were in a similar situation they tied Colgate in their first game back from winter break. They do, however, hold a 12-game unbeaten streak.
Spartans at a glance: Michigan State is coming off a pair of losses to rival Michigan, but is 2-2-1 over its last five games. The Spartans tied and lost a one-goal game to the Gophers in the first half of the round-robin conference schedule in East Lansing, Mich. Like the Gophers, the Spartans play a lot of sophomores and freshmen. Coach Tom Anastos said the group is starting to play with more confidence and succeed in the right line combinations.