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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Gophers looking forward to week off + video

Posted by: Jason Gonzalez Updated: February 15, 2014 - 11:42 PM

Time off the ice will go a long way for the Gophers’ bumps and bruises.

“The week break is going to be great for us,” Gophers forward Nate Condon said. “A lot of bumps and bruises. A lot of defensemen have been hurt this season. Any time you get time off it’s great for guys to heal up and hopefully be ready to make a big push for the end of the season.”

That includes Condon. He went hard into the boards on Friday night and left for the locker room before returning.

The break will also allow the Gophers to return to full strength. Injured freshman defenseman Michael Brodzinski is expected to return for the Penn State series in two weeks. He’s been out since the matchup against brother Jonny Brodzinski and St. Cloud State on Jan. 24.

It’s the Gophers’ first bye week since Nov. 1-2.

Coach Don Lucia said the focus this week will be school. The team can practice every day, if necessary, but won’t. He’ll give the Gophers extra days off in hope of a fresh, healthy group returning for practice a week from Monday.

Condon said the team isn’t worried about losing momentum after the sweep of Michigan. Heath is more important at this point in the season.

Ready Saturday's 4-1 Gophers' victory game story.

• Team USA’s shootout victory over Russia on Saturday morning offered a teaching moment for the Gophers.

The coaching staff pointed out several late blocks by defenseman Ryan McDonagh (St. Paul native) and forward Ryan Kesler. That’s the will to win Lucia wants from his players.

“What great talent on the ice and the will to win when you see McDonagh and Kesler taking missiles and blocking shots. That doesn’t feel good,” Lucia said. “We talked to our guys about that. That’s 9.7 million blocked shots between those two, so if they can do it, we can do it.”

Despite the shootout excitement provided by Warroad native T.J. Oshie, Lucia still isn’t a fan of it in college hockey. He still found it in him to celebrate Oshie, though he is North Dakota alum.  

• Michigan coach Red Berenson said the Gophers are as good as team they’ve seen this year. He’ll get two more looks at the Gophers during the final stretch of the regular season. The Gophers travel to Ann Arbor, Mich., March 14-15, the last weekend of Big Ten play.

• Gophers senior captain Nate Condon had the honor of being part of Friday’s ceremonial drop of the puck with legendary John Mayasich. Condon said Mayasich didn’t say much at center ice, but what he did say might have led to the Gophers’ success this weekend.

“I think he said he wanted us to get our scoring back, so hopefully it was his touch that put us over the top,” Condon said. “Obviously he has enough points.”

Read Friday's 5-3 Gophers' victory game story.

Postgame video
To view on mobile device, click “View on full site” at bottom of page.

Gophers redshirt freshman forward Connor Reilly:

Gophers coach Don Lucia:

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Houston 7:30 PM
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Edmonton
Arkansas State 10/21/14 7:00 PM
Louisiana
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
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Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
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Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
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Navy
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(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
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Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
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Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
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Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
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(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
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(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
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Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
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Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
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Hawaii
Ottawa 6 FINAL
Hamilton 16
Montreal 20 FINAL
Toronto 12
Calgary 33 FINAL
Winnipeg 23
Edmonton 24 FINAL
Saskatchewan 19
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

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