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MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUND--UP: No.1 Golden Gophers complete road sweep of PSU

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STATE COLLEGE., Penn. - University of Minnesota men's hockey player Sam Warning netted a pair of goals and top-ranked Minnesota skated by Penn State 5-2 last night. 

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The win moved the Gopher overall record to 15-3-2 overall and 5-0-1 in the Big Ten.  Warning's goals were his first since October.  Minnesota also received goals from Travis Boyd, Nate Condon, and Justin Kloos.  Gopher goaltender Adam Wilcox turned away a career high 36 shots in the win.  Minnesota now readies for a big week ahead.  More than 40,000 hockey fans are expected to watch the Gophers play against Ohio State on Friday night at TCF Stadium on the U of M campus.  That game faces off at 8 p.m and there are tickets still available for the outdoor game.

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Minnesota-Duluth senior goalie Aaron Crandall of Lakeville has been named the NCHC Goaltender of the Week after leading the Bulldogs to a weekend road sweep at Nebraska-Omaha.  Crandall saved 90 of the 93 shots he faced on the weekend.  In addition, Saint John's senior forward Josh Gross of Maple Grove is this week's MIAC men's hockey Player of the Week after helping the Johnnies to a pair of non-conference wins over UW-Stout and Marian (WI).  Saint Mary's senior goaltender Sarah Gustafson of Esko is the MIAC women's hockey Player of the Week.  She led the Cardinals to a sweep of UW-Eau Claire.  

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The Minnesota Wild open up a three-game homestand tonight against the Ottawa Senators.  Minnesota will also host Edmonton and Dallas over the next five days.  The Wild have won five of their last six games following Sunday's 4-0 victory in Nashville.  They sit at 25-18-5.  The Sens are 20-18-8.  Tonight's game starts at 7 p.m. at the Xcel Energy Center.

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The Minnesota Timberwolves have recalled rookie forward Shabazz Muhammad from Iowa of the NBA D-League.  Muhammad averaged 24.8 points and 9.8 rebounds while shooting 57 percent from the field, helping Iowa go 3-and-1 during his stint.  The 21-year-old UCLA product appeared in 11 games with the T'wolves earlier this season, but averaged just 1.1 points and 3.8 minutes of action.  Muhammad says he is simply waiting for his chance to contribute at the NBA level and will continue to work hard to earn playing time.  

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The Timberwolves are back in action tomorrow night against the Sacramento Kings at Target Center.  Minnesota has alternated wins and losses over its last eight games following Sunday's 104-86 setback in San Antonio.  The T'wolves are 18-19 on the season.  The Kings have won three in-a-row to improve to 13-22.  Tomorrow's tip time is 7 p.m. at the Target Center.

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Four players from the WNBA Minnesota Lynx, including Hutchinson native Lindsay Whalen, have been placed on the USA Basketball Women's National Team roster pool.  Whalen is joined by Minnesota teammates Seimone Augustus, Maya Moore, and Monica Wright.  The 2014 USA World Championship team roster and the 2016 U.S. Olympic team roster will be selected from the talent pool.  The talent pool consists of 33 players as of now, but players can be added or removed from the pool over the next few months.  The USA won the Olympic gold medal in London in 2012 with a roster including Whalen, Moore, and Augustus.

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The Minnesota Golden Gophers are back in action on Thursday as they host ninth-ranked Ohio State at Williams Arena in a Big Ten men's basketball game.  The Gophers are coming off an 87-75 overtime setback at fifth-ranked Michigan State on Saturday.  Minnesota is now 13-and-4 on the year and 2-and-2 in Big Ten play.  The Buckeyes are 15-and-2 and 2-and-2.  Thursday's game begins at 8 p.m. at the Barn and tickets are still available.

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The 14th-ranked University of Minnesota women's gymnastics team beat No. 20 Washington last night in Seattle, 196.35-195.025.  Minnesota won all four events and junior Cierra Tomson of Jacksonville, Florida led the way by taking the all-around title with a career high score of 39.375.  The Gophers travel to New Hampshire for an event on Sunday.

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University of Minnesota director of football operations Dan O'Brien has been promoted to senior associate athletics director and will oversee Gopher football and athletics facilities on campus.  O'Brien will assume a portion of the duties left by the departure of deputy athletic director David Benedict, who is taking a job at Auburn.  O'Brien has been with the University of Minnesota since 2008 after having served as athletic director at Hamline and previously as a football coach and athletic director at Concordia-St. Paul. 

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The 54th annual Twins Caravan got underway yesterday in Minneapolis and will continue throughout the region for the next ten days.  Twins pitcher Brian Duensing, outfielder Ryan Pressly, Hall of Famer Paul Molitor and broadcaster Dick Bremer began the caravan in Minneapolis yesterday and will stop in three Iowa locations today.  Minnesota pitchers Kyle Gibson, Caleb Thielbar, former star Tony Oliva, and broadcaster Cory Provus will be in Waseca, Owatonna, and Rochester today.  Here is the tentative schedule of the Twins Caravan (guests and schedule subject to change without notice):

Tuesday, January 14th:  Cedar Falls (IA), Des Moines (IA), Spencer (IA) -- Duensing, Pressly, Molitor, Bremer

Tuesday, January 14th:  Waseca, Owatonna, Rochester -- Gibson, Thielbar, Oliva, Provus

Wednesday, January 15th:  Worthington, Sioux City (IA), Sioux Falls (SD) -- Duensing, Pressly, Bremer

Wednesday, January 15th:  St. Charles, Preston, Winona -- Gibson, Thielbar, Oliva, Provus

Thursday, January 16th:  Marshall, Windom, Sleepy Eye, Mankato  -- Duensing, Pressly, Bremer

Thursday, January 16th:  Eau Claire (WI), St. Paul, St. Cloud -- Gibson, Thielbar, Provus

Monday, January 20th:  Valley City (ND), Jamestown (ND), Detroit Lakes, Fargo -- Swarzak, Plouffe, Steinbach, Blyleven, St. Peter

Monday, January 20th:  Minneapolis, Waconia, Glencoe, Montevideo, Willmar -- Perkins, Dozier, Brunansky, Gladden

Tuesday, January 21st:  Grand Forks (ND), Crookston, Erskine, Bagley, Bemidji -- Swarzak, Plouffe, Steinbach, Blyleven

Tuesday, January 21st:  Benson, Ortonville, Wahpeton (ND), Fergus Falls -- Perkins, Dozier, Brunansky, Gladden

Tuesday, January 21st:  Minneapolis, St. Paul, Bloomington -- Mauer, Florimon, Nolasco, Atteberry

Wednesday, January 22nd:  Grand Rapids, Hibbing, Ely -- Swarzak, Plouffe, Steinbach, Blyleven

Wednesday, January 22nd:  Morris, Glenwood, Freeport, Alexandria -- Perkins, Dozier, Brunansky, Gladden

Wednesday, January 22nd:  Pine City, Amery (WI), Red Wing -- Florimon, Nolasco, Bremer

Thursday, January 23rd:  Virginia, Cloquet, Duluth -- Swarzak, Plouffe, Steinbach, Blyleven

Thursday, January 23rd:  Wadena, Aitkin, Brainerd, Little Falls -- Perkins, Dozier, Fien, Diamond, Brunansky, Gladden

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The Minnesota Vikings continue to search for a new head coach, a little more than two weeks after firing Leslie Frazier.  Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer is reported to be the frontrunner for the job and is set for a second interview with the team today.  Multiple media outlets are reporting the interview today will include team owners Zygi and Mark Wilf.

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The Indianapolis 500's qualifying format is changing.  Pole Day is being moved to Sunday, May 18th this year.  The annual event has traditionally been held on Saturday.  Pole Day will likely take place at the end of the day.  This year's 500 is scheduled for May 25th.

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