Rau, Wilcox Earn Big Ten Honors

Ben Gotz

After leading the Gophers back to the national rankings with a sweep of Michigan, Kyle Rau and Adam Wilcox picked up two of the Big Ten's three weekly awards.

Rau was named the Big Ten's second star after a four goal weekend, while Wilcox picked up the third star after allowing two goals over two games to the No. 1 offense in the country.

"It’s big. I just kind of feel like my old self again," Wilcox said, rebounding after a disappointing stretch of play in the middle of the season. "It happens. It’s hockey. In three years, you’re going to have stretches like that and it trickles down from me to the whole team."

It certainly trickled down to Rau, who scored his second career hat trick Friday night in the Gophers 6-2 victory over the Wolverines, and added another empty-net goal Saturday to seal the sweep with 20 seconds remaining.

The two worked in tandem in the final sequence Saturday, with Wilcox making a huge save with about 40 seconds remaining in the game that allowed the Gophers to clear the puck away, leading to Rau's goal.

"I knew it was going to be one of those nights where I had a feeling he was going to have to come up with a big save and he was going to do that," senior forward Seth Ambroz said Saturday on Wilcox. "He made that huge save there with about 40 seconds left which was just awesome and once Rauser put it in that was just big, big sigh of relief there."

The Gophers can breathe a small sigh of relief knowing they're now tied at the top of the Big Ten standings, but the team will face another test this weekend when they head on the road to face the third place Penn State Nittany Lions. The Gophers have not fared extremely well on the road in conference play this year, going 2-2-2 in the Big Ten outside of Mariucci Arena.