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 freshman big man continues to show off why he plays on the Gophers’ first line.
Hudson Fasching scored two well-earned points, his third straight game with a point, in Friday night's 5-1 victory over Penn State.
The goal capped an extended scramble in front of the Nittany Lions' goal that Fasching started. Nearly everyone on the ice was slapping for the puck and falling on one another. Once it was finally cleared out by the Gophers, Fasching was there to knock it in.
Five minutes later he outdid himself with his assist to Kyle Rau. The 6-2, 207-pound teenager showcased his speed on a breakaway, showed off his size by boxing out his trailing defender, and highlighted his precision with a sharp pass to Rau on the rush.
“We were buzzing around the net, a lot of rebounds, a lot of plays, pucks bouncing,” Fasching described the scene leading up to his goal. “I was just fighting around the net trying to bury it.”
It’s the sixth goal he’s buried over the last nine games.
Gophers coach Don Lucia has grown to expect such plays from his young gun. He said “That’s Hudson, making plays under contact like that.”
Read Friday's 5-1 Gophers' victory game story.
• The Gophers finally picked up their first shorthanded goal of the season. Nate Condon showcased his speed as he broke away and beat Matthew Skoff for the Gophers’ fifth goal of the night.
Seconds later, Condon nearly scored another shorthanded goal during a 4-on-3 disadvantage.
• Senior forward Tom Serratore should be available for Saturday’s Senior Day. He left Friday's game in the first period with a lower-body injury and didn’t return.
Coach Don Lucia said Serratore was left out for precautionary reasons. Lucia also said backup senior goaltender Michael Shibrowski will likely play Saturday night.
• The Gophers women’s hockey team won their playoff opener 4-1 over St. Cloud State on Friday night. Junior Meghan Lorence led the effort with three points, a goal and two assists.
The Gophers can close out the series on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Ridder Arena. Two hours later, fans can walk next door for the final men's game at Mariucci Arena this season at 6 p.m.
• Reaction from Penn State coach Guy Gadowsky:
The Nittany Lions coach spoke to his team at length after the 5-1 beating. He didn't share much about what he said, but here are some of his postgame thoughts.
"This is a very tough place to play. I thought the biggest reason for that play was the Gophers. I mean, they just play tremendous. They play with speed, they won races, they won battles, they made plays. It’s very difficult to play against them in their end and extremely difficult to play against in our end. It was certainly a lesson in tempo hockey and it’s an awesome venue with a great crowd.”
“You look at the box score and it’s extremely flattering for the type of game we had. This doesn’t tell the story at all. They got pretty much every way and that’s all I can say.”
On missing regular contributors Luke Juha, Max Gardiner and Nate Jensen, who sat out Friday's game with injuries:
"Three guys aren’t going to change that outcome. This was an entire team which was much better than our entire team. Nothing that three guys could make a difference of.”
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Gophers junior forward Sam Warning:
Gophers coach D: