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.

Follow Jason on Twitter @JGonStrib

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No shootouts in tournament play make Gophers very happy

Posted by: Jason Gonzalez Updated: March 21, 2014 - 6:09 PM

The Gophers are thankful shootouts are behind them. They lost all three Big Ten shootouts they were involved in this season, including their last visit with Ohio State.

Postseason rules replace shootouts with 20-minute sudden-death overtimes. Teams play until someone scores. Penn State and Michigan played 33 extra minutes of hockey in Thursday's double overtime contest.

Coach Don Lucia has voiced his discontentment with the shootout all season and replied "Thank God" when asked how he felt about not having to worry about them this weekend at Xcel Energy Center. 

The Gophers last experience with Ohio State wasn't a pleasant. The Buckeyes scored in the final four minutes of regulation to force overtime on March 8. They would eventually win the shootout 1-0 and upset the Gophers' hopes of clinching the Big Ten regular-season title that night. 

Ohio State coach Steve Rohlik will remind his players of their recent success against the country's top team, but said he's just happy the Buckeyes are still playing. 

• Gophers Friday lines
Forwards (left wing, center, right wing)
Sam Warning, Kyle Rau, Hudson Fasching
Nate Condon, Justin Kloos, Taylor Cammarata
Tom Serratore, Travis Boyd, Seth Ambroz
Connor Reilly, Gabe Guertler, Vinni Lettieri

Defensemen (left, right)
Brady Skjei, Justin Holl
Mike Reilly, Jake Parenteau
Jake Bischoff, Ben Marshall

Goaltenders
Adam Wilcox, Michael Shibrowski

• SEMIFINALS PREVIEW: NO. 1 GOPHERS vs. NO. 4 OHIO STATE

7 p.m. Friday at Xcel Energy Center

TV/radio: Big Ten Network; 1500-AM; BTN2Go.

Gophers at a glance: The Gophers (25-5-6) have the challenge of coming into Friday’s semifinal cold. Though the bye is considered a benefit to the top seeds, several Gophers said it’s an advantage for the team that played the night before and found its rhythm. Coach Don Lucia expects his team to play faster than it has this season in order to have postseason success. Ohio State plays a similar up-tempo style like the Gophers, which could lead to a lot of scoring. A scoring outburst would be good for the Gophers in their first game of the postseason.

Buckeyes at a glance: No. 4-seed Ohio State (17-13-5) will carry momentum into Friday night’s semifinals. The Buckeyes held off No. 5 Michigan State 2-1 in overtime of the quarterfinals to continue their hopes at extending their season beyond this weekend. They need to win the Big Ten tournament to qualify for the NCAA Regionals. Though he was pointless in Thursday night’s victory, the Buckeyes have the conference’s leading scorer in Ryan Dzingel. He’s given the Gophers trouble this year and played a big role in their shootout victory over the Gophers earlier this month.

For more read full Big Ten Tournament preview.

Extra reading

• 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.

• Friday's Big Ten hockey tournament results: 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.

Though Penn State played nearly 93 minutes of hockey in Thursday’s double overtime victory, fatigue didn’t appear to be a problem early on. Their big men – six players ranging from 6-1, 210-pounds to 6-5 and 236 pounds – instead challenged the Badgers’ size and physical play for as long as they could.

The Nittany Lions’ fight eventually broke down.

They were unable up to convert on the only two power plays of the third period and failed to get any shots off in the final minute.

Wisconsin forced Penn State to play the final 60 seconds of the game in its own zone and keep goaltender Matthew Skoff in the net instead of pulling him for the extra skater.

“The legs will maybe be there for the first periods or two [after a long game], but if you keep on them and keep chipping pucks in and chasing, which we did, made their ‘D’ turn and it paid off towards the end,” Mersch said.

Skoff finished with 32 saves and Wisconsin goaltender Joel Rumpel had 24 saves. The Badgers’ second line of Morgan Zulinick, Jefferson Dahl and Mersch combined for four points.

Penn State coach Guy Gadowsky said his team learned how to mentally compete with the best teams at this stage in Thursday’s upset of Michigan. The improvement carried into the semifinals, but Gadowsky said the Badgers just wore them down.

“This was a tremendous experience and we're very proud of the strides that our team took. I thought we improved a ton,” Gadowsky said. “It was a phenomenal year to compete in [the Big Ten]. It was an absolute honor. I’m disappointed we came up a little short today, but extremely proud of how far we've come.”

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Kansas City 20 FINAL
Oakland 24
Cleveland 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta
Tennessee 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Detroit 11/23/14 12:00 PM
New England
Green Bay 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Jacksonville 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
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Houston
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Chicago
Arizona 11/23/14 3:05 PM
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NY Jets 11/24/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Baltimore 11/24/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
LA Clippers 110 FINAL
Miami 93
Chicago 88 FINAL
Sacramento 103
Minnesota 3 FINAL
Philadelphia 2
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Toronto 5
St. Louis 1 FINAL
Montreal 4
Nashville 2 FINAL
Ottawa 3
Detroit 4 FINAL
Winnipeg 3
Arizona 1 FINAL
Dallas 3
Washington 3 FINAL
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Chicago 4 FINAL
Calgary 3
Anaheim 4 FINAL(SO)
Vancouver 3
Carolina 2 FINAL
Los Angeles 3
Florida 3 FINAL(SO)
San Jose 2
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Dayton 55
USC 46 FINAL
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Coll of Charleston 57 FINAL
Connecticut 65
Drexel 46 FINAL
Miami-Florida 66
New Mexico 65 FINAL
Boston College 69
Penn State 97 FINAL
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Michigan 71
Eckerd 59 FINAL
UCF 76
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Iowa 57
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NC State 79
Navy 51 FINAL
Providence 88
Grambling St 30 FINAL
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Sacred Heart 54
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Stetson 96
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MD-Eastern Shore 66 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 106
SUNY-Westbury 49 FINAL
Wagner 83
Bluefield (VA) 57 FINAL
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Bob Jones Univ 41 FINAL
USC Upstate 107
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Bryant 72
Fordham 50 FINAL
Maryland 66
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Radford 61
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UT Martin 115
George Mason 65 FINAL
West Virginia 91
South Florida 73 FINAL
UAB 71
UC Davis 63 FINAL
Eastern Ill 61
Fla Atlantic 49 FINAL
Harvard 71
SMU 68 FINAL
Indiana 74
Franklin Pierce 57 FINAL
Minnesota 109
Brescia 56 FINAL
Murray State 89
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Fisk 60 FINAL
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New Orleans 71 FINAL
TCU 86
Miss Valley St 61 FINAL
Tulane 100
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LSU-Alexandria 79
Winthrop 58 FINAL
Savannah State 59
Southern U 38 FINAL
Ole Miss 69
Morgan State 53 FINAL
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Loyola Marymount 44 FINAL
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Lipscomb 62 FINAL
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Syracuse 59 FINAL
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Northern Ill 78
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West Virginia 20
North Carolina 45 FINAL
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Texas State 45
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ULM 11/22/14 3:00 PM
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UC Santa Barbara 33
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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 amX28-24
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa 11 amX51-14
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State 11 amX31-24
Nov 22 - at Nebraska 11 am
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin 2:30 pm

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