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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The young Gophers weren’t overwhelmed by Wisconsin’s Kohl Center and its rowdy student section.
Despite the 2-1 loss, the Gophers mostly outplayed the Badgers on Thursday night and freshman Taylor Cammarata scored the Gophers’ only goal. Freshmen also accounted for nine of the Gophers’ 32 shots on goal.
Throughout the week, Gophers coach Don Lucia noted how the trip to Wisconsin would be a good challenge for the talented young group. They responded well on Thursday night, but Friday will be much different.
The series finale sold out midway through the day and 15,359 are expected at the Kohl Center tonight. Nearly half that were in attendance on Thursday.
“It was definitely really fun. It was an awesome environment. A lot of students were there. It was really loud,” Cammarata said. “Overall, a fun game, but we didn’t come out with the win. It was too bad.”
Wisconsin has momentum on its side. They’ve won 11 of their last 13 games at home.
• The Gophers haven’t scored much lately. After Thursday night’s 2-1 loss, they have totaled just four goals in the last three games, with back-to-back one-goal efforts.
That’s not enough for coach Don Lucia. The Gophers' magic number each night is three goals. If they can do that, chances are goaltender Adam Wilcox will take care of the rest.
• 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
A.J. Michaelson, Christian Isackson, Vinni Lettieri
Defensemen (left, right)
Brady Skjei, Justin Holl
Mike Reilly, Jake Parenteau
Jake Bischoff, Ben Marshall
Adam Wilcox, Michael Shibrowski
Twin Cities products in the opposing lineup - Wisconsin
Forward: Joseph LaBate, Eagan; Grant Besse, Plymouth.
Defenseman: Kevin Schulze, White Bear Lake; Joe Faust, Bloomington; Eddie Wittchow, Burnsville.
• Read Friday’s feature: Wisconsin a much-improved team as Big Ten play hits midway point + video.
• Seth Ambroz continues to punish rival Wisconsin + video.
• SERIES PREVIEW: NO. 1 GOPHERS at NO. 12 WISCONSIN
8 p.m. on Friday at Kohl Center in Madison, Wis.
TV/radio/live stream: BTN, 1500-AM and BTN2Go.com all both nights
Gophers at a glance: The Gophers’ final leg of the season will be its toughest. Minnesota (19-3-5, 8-1-2-0 Big Ten) begins the 10-game stretch at Wisconsin’s Kohl Center against a much-improved Badgers team. Gophers coach Don Lucia is betting on history that his team will win at least one game in Madison. They’ll be without senior forward Tom Serratore and defenseman Michael Brodzinski for a second consecutive week, but the shuffling lines continue to produce.
Read full series preview.