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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Don Lucia regrets that his freshmen won’t get another postseason experience before the Gophers’ season is put on the line at next weekend’s NCAA Regional.
The No. 1 Gophers were upset by No. 4-seed Ohio State 3-1 in Friday night’s Big Ten hockey tournament semifinal at Xcel Energy Center and will watch Saturday’s championship from home.
“I was really hoping we could get to tomorrow for the added experience and get our six freshmen forwards out there just to experience playoff hockey. But it wasn't to be tonight,” Lucia said.
The Gophers freshmen were outplayed by Ohio State’s three All-Big Ten Freshmen Team honorees Christian Frey, Nick Schilkey and Drew Brevig. Frey finished with 30 saves in the net and Schilkey scored the game’s first goal, Brevig had an assist and four blocks.
Gophers freshman Taylor Cammarata assisted their only goal.
Junior forward Sam Warning is confident the Gophers’ young team will be OK after the semifinal loss.
“I think we’ve been in pretty tough situations this year and I think our younger guys have some more experience after this weekend and they’ll be fine next weekend,” he said.
They’ll be in the same setting for next weekend’s NCAA West Regional at Xcel Energy Center, expect this time a loss would mean the end of the Gophers’ season. The Gophers are guaranteed a spot in the four-team regional with their No. 1 PairWise ranking.
Read Friday night’s game story, a 3-1 Gophers loss to Ohio State.
Gophers-Ohio State series tidbits
-This is the 18th time that Minnesota and Ohio State have met, with Minnesota holding a 15-2-1 advantage in the all-time series, including an 8-2-1 record in the teams’ last 11 meetings. The Ohio State triumph snapped a nine-game winless streak against the Gophers, dating back to a 6-5 decision on Dec. 28, 1998 in the Mariucci Classic at Minnesota’s Mariucci Arena.
-During the regular season, Minnesota was 3-0-1 against Ohio State -- a 1-0 win on Jan. 17 outdoors at Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium, a 4-2 Minnesota win on Jan. 18 at Mariucci Arena, a 5-1 Minnesota win on Feb. 7 at Ohio State, and a 2-2, overtime tie on Feb. 8 at Ohio State (Ohio State won a three-round shootout, 1-0).
-This is the second time Minnesota and Ohio State have met at Xcel Energy Center; the Gophers beat the Buckeyes, 7-2, in the Hall of Fame Game in Saint Paul on Oct. 12, 2002.
-Minnesota is now 21-13-0 all-time at the Xcel Energy Center since the facility opened in the 2000-01 season, including a 1-1-1 record this season. In the North Star College Classic at the Xcel Energy Center on Jan. 24-25, Minnesota beat St. Cloud State 4-1 and tied Minnesota-Duluth 4-4 (OT). Minnesota will host the 2014 NCAA West Regional next Saturday and Sunday at the Xcel Energy Center.
-Minnesota is 10-6-1 when allowing its opponents to score the first goal of a game this season.
-Minnesota is 7-5-3 when allowing an opponent power-play goal this season.
-Minnesota is 17-3-6 when scoring a power-play goal this season.
-Minnesota is 3-4-2 when trailing after one period this season, 17-3-2 when scoring the first goal of the second period, and 4-3-3 when tied after two periods.
-Minnesota is 17-4-3 when outshooting its opponents this season.
Ohio State tidbits
-This is Ohio State’s third postseason game played in Minnesota; its first was a 3-2 loss to Cornell in the NCAA West Regional on March 25, 2005 at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis, and its second was Thursday’s 2-1 overtime win over Michigan State at the Xcel Energy Center.
-Ohio State is now 50-70-4 all-time in postseason games (2-0-0 in the Big Ten Tournament, 46-64-4 in CCHA tournaments, 2-6-0 in NCAA tournaments).
-Ohio State is now 11-2-2 when scoring the first goal of a game this season.
-Ohio State is now 5-4-2 this season when scoring a power-play goal.
-Ohio State is now 8-11-2 when allowing a power-play goal this season.
-Ohio State is now 9-2-1 when leading after one period and 3-0-0 when tied after two periods this season.
-Ohio State was outshot by a 31-25 margin in the game -- the 18th time the Buckeyes have been outshot in 36 games. Ohio State is now 9-8-1 when being outshot this season.
• Big Ten semifinal #1: Wisconsin 2, Penn State 1
Wisconsin scored two answered goals off the stick of Michael Mersch to defeat Penn State 2-1 in Friday afternoon’s Big Ten hockey tournament semifinal at Xcel Energy Center.
Mersch scored both goals in the second period. He tied the game 87 seconds in and connected for the eventual game-winner on the power play with 11 seconds left in the period.
“After we get scored on, we’ve been taught to lineup on the draw and let them know we’re coming for them. So that goal on the shift after was huge,” Mersch said about the Badgers quick response to falling behind. He scored 32 seconds after Curtis Loik gave Penn State a 1-0 lead.
• The Gophers women's hockey team will play for a third straight national championship on Sunday. They defeat Wisconsin 5-3 on Saturday afternoon in the semifinals of the Frozen Four.
Wisconsin led 3-2 after two periods, but the Gophers rallied to earn a spot against Clarkson in the title game.
Full recap and video from the women's Frozen Four.
Gophers postgame video
To view on mobile device, click “View on full site” at bottom of page.
Gophers junior forward Sam Warning:
Gophers junior forward Travis Boyd:
Gophers coach Don Lucia:
• Read Friday’s feature: Gophers hockey gains an edge on opponents with speed + Big Ten & NCHC tourney previews video.
• Adam Wilcox selected as Hobey Baker Award finalist.
• Quarterfinal recaps: Ohio State 2, Michigan State 1 (OT). Penn State 2, Michigan 1 (2OT).
• Replay of Wednesday's Gophers hockey/college hockey live chat.