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 are aware of the outside perception of the program. They want to prove that they can win in the postseason and not just the regular season.
"Definitely not going to overlook [Robert Morris]. Especially with what happened last year. We're still bitter about that. I think that's part of the reason we've had a pretty successful year up to this point," Gophers defenseman Mike Reilly said. "We're just really hungry for a championship and to prove we're not just great in the regular season and that we can play in March and hopefully in April."
There was a sense of anxiety and urgency at last Saturday's practice after the Gophers lost to Ohio State in the Big Ten tournament semifinals, associate coach Mike Guentzel said. This is mindset the Gophers need at this point in the season, he said, and Reilly agreed.
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• The Gophers landed 14 student-athletes on the Academic All-Big Ten team the conference announced on Wednesday. The accomplishment means 83 percent of the Gophers roster in at least their second academic year has a 3.0 grade-point average or better. Here's who made the cut:
Seth Ambroz, Jr. Business And Marketing Education New Prague, Minn.
Travis Boyd, Jr. Business And Marketing Education Hopkins, Minn.
Nate Condon, Sr. Accounting And Finance Wausau, Wis.
Justin Holl, Sr. Marketing And Finance Tonka Bay, Minn.
Christian Isackson, Jr. Business And Marketing Education Pine City, Minn.
Jake Parenteau, Sr. Business And Marketing Education Franconia, Minn.
Kyle Rau, Jr. Marketing Eden Prairie, Minn.
Connor Reilly, Soph. Finance Chanhassen, Minn.
Ryan Reilly, Soph. Finance Chanhassen, Minn.
Tom Serratore, Sr. Business And Marketing Education Colorado Springs, Colo.
Michael Shibrowski, Sr. Business And Marketing Education Andover, Minn.
Brady Skjei, Soph. Business And Marketing Education Lakeville, Minn.
Sam Warning, Jr. Business And Marketing Education Chesterfield, Mo.
Adam Wilcox, Soph. Undeclared South St. Paul, Minn.
• The Gophers dropped to No. 2 in the USCHO poll heading into the NCAA Tournament. Union overtook the top spot after winning the ECAC tournament championship.
The Gophers held onto the top spot in the PairWise rankings, which led to their No. 1 overall seed in the 16-team NCAA Tournament field.
Wisconsin climbed to No. 4 in the USCHO poll after winning the inaugural Big Ten hockey tournament. Minnesota State ends the year at No. 11 after winning the WCHA Tournament and St Cloud State remained at No. 8
• Former Gophers hockey player Gary Shopek, 51, is battling cancer, and many in the sport are rallying on his behalf. The forward in the mid- to late 1980s, is fighting late-stage cancer. A benefit dinner and auction for the lifelong Twin Citian is scheduled for Saturday at St. Bridget’s Catholic Church, 3820 Emerson Av. N., in Minneapolis.