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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PHILADELPHIA — Gophers junior co-captain Kyle Rau was relentless in Thursday night's 2-1 Frozen Four semifinal victory over North Dakota.
Though he didn't a score a goal in one of his five shots on goal, he had a hand in both of the Gophers' third-period goals. He set up Sam Warning's goal midway through the period and was credited for the assist on Holl's game-winner.
"A lot of momentum shifts in that game and almost every time the momentum came back to our side 'cause [Rau] was down there making plays," Gophers freshmen forward Hudson Fasching said. "A lot of credit goes to him."
Fasching and Warning have played on the first line with Rau throughout most of the season.
Rau also had a big presence in the Gophers' defensive zone by clearing out several shots and maintaining a physical edge in front of goaltender Adam Wilcox.
It was Rau's second multi-point effort in the NCAA tournament with five points in three games.
-Read Thursday's 2-1 Frozen Four semifinal victory game story.
-Read columnists Chip Scoggins' account of the new addition to the Gophers-North Dakota rivalry.
-Read Union's 5-4 victory over Boston College game story.
-See lots of postgame video below.
Tidbits from the Gophers-North Dakota Frozen Four semifinal:
-Attendance for the semifinals was 17,311.
-Tonight’s second semifinal game was scoreless through the first two periods. The only time a national semifinal game finished with a 1-0 score was on March 16, 1967, with Cornell defeating North Dakota 1-0 (Syracuse). The only other 1-0 score in Frozen Four history occurred on April 10, 2004, when Denver defeated Maine, 1-0, in the national championship (Boston). There has never been a semifinal or championship that has been scoreless through regulation.
-This was the fifth meeting between North Dakota and Minnesota in the NCAA Tournament. Minnesota now holds the tournament series advantage, 3-2.
-The time of the game-winning goal for Minnesota was 19:59.4 of the third period, and was scored by Justin Holl, his first goal of the year. It was his eighth career goal, and first goal in NCAA Tournament play. His last goal came on 3/9/2013 at Bemidji State, a span of 42 games.
-Sam Warning of Minnesota opened the scoring in the game at 10:51 of the third period, his first career NCAA Tournament tally. Warning had an assist in the Gophers’ 7-3 victory over Robert Morris in the West Region Semifinals on March 29, and now has four career NCAA Tournament points (1-3-4). Two of his three assists came during the 2012 NCAA Tournament.Kyle Rau assisted on both Gopher goals this evening, pushing his team-leading point total to 39 with his 25th assist of the season, also a team-high. Rau has recorded a point in each of his last four games, one shy of his season-best streak of five, which occurred from Nov. 16 through Nov. 30 of 2013 (2-5-7). Rau’s current streak has amassed six points (3-3-6). The second assist gave Rau, a junior, his third consecutive season with 25 assists. It was his fourth multi-assist game of the year.
-Rau has recorded a point in six of his seven NCAA Tournament appearances (3-8-11), as he was held scoreless against Boston College during the 2012 national semifinals.
North Dakota Notes
-Forward Connor Gaarder netted his second goal of the 2014 NCAA Tournament with North Dakota’s first goal of the game at 11:23 of the third period. Gaarder’s two tallies are the junior’s first in NCAA Tournament play. He accounted for the game-winning goal in North Dakota’s 2-1 victory over Ferris State in the Midwest Region Final. Gaarder’s nine goals on the year are more than double his combined total from his first two seasons at North Dakota (8).
-Assisting on Gaarder’s goal for North Dakota were Dillon Simpson and Jordan Schmaltz. The assists were the first points of the 2014 Tournament for the two defensemen.
Gophers Frozen Four postgame video
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Gophers press conference/senior defenseman Justin Holl:
Gophers junior forward Sam Warning:
Gophers senior forward Nate Condon:
Gophers freshman forward Hudson Fasching: