Three Gopher Stars of the Weekend: Minnesota vs. Michigan Tech
Third Star: Kyle Rau - 1G-2A-3P
Rau had a great game Saturday, scoring all his points and generating nearly all of his chances on the weekend in the second game of the series. At his best, Rau is a vital cog on this Gopher team: he can distribute the puck, has a knack for knowing where to be around the goal, and consistently draws penalties with his aggressive style of play. He isn't afraid of contact and generally plays much bigger than his diminutive frame. With the other scoring lines sputtering, Rau needs to be one of the best players on the ice for Minnesota - a tall feat for a freshman. However, I liked Rau's play this weekend and his great game on Saturday especially earned him the number three star.
Second Star: Jake Hansen - 2G-1A-3P
Gopher senior forward Jake Hansen also had a three point weekend, registering one assist Friday before erupting for two goals on Saturday. Hansen is a player who hasn't gotten a whole lot of love in the three stars thus far this season, but his contributions to the Gopher squad should not go overlooked - Hansen is the team's fourth leading goal scorer (eight) and fifth leading point getter (19) for the first half of the season. There are a lot of things that Hansen could improve upon (I've been unimpressed with his passing), the fact remains that he's one of those few guys that can put the puck in the net for this Gopher squad. Minnesota needs him to keep scoring and to bolster the team's secondary goal-scoring capabilities. He did so this weekend, and for that he earns the number two star.
First Star: Mark Alt - 2G-3A-5P
Sophomore defenseman Mark Alt had an incredible weekend, registering five points and two big goals over the course of the two games. Alt has been playing the stay-at-home defenseman of his pairing while Ben Marshall has been allowed to roam. But it was Alt this weekend that jumped into the play and recorded five total points. His goal on Saturday proved to be the game-winner. Alt has been one of the better defensive-defensemen on the team this season, and if he can sprinkle in a few points here and there it will be a boon to this Gopher squad in search of any scoring at all to compliment Nick Bjugstad and Kyle Rau. Alt is often an unsung hero of this squad, but his breakout performance last weekend earns him the number one star.
Gopher Helmet Stickers
This is a new section I've started doing alongside the Three Stars of the Weekend post - each player gets a certain number of "points" based on where they're ranked in the star rankings each weekend, and the below list is the result of all the points accumulated by player throughout the year.
1. Patterson - 29
2. Rau - 16
3. Matson - 15
4. Serratore - 10
5. Bjugstad - 9
6. Schmidt - 7
7. Condon - 6
7. Alt - 6
9. Warning - 4
9. Budish - 4
9. Holl - 4
9. Hansen - 4
13. Haula - 3
14. Marshall - 2
15. Boyd - 1
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