Erik Haula will return to the Gophers for his junior season, according to head coach Don Lucia. Haula led Minnesota in scoring last season. Kyle Rau and Nate Schmidt will also return next season. Lucia says "if everybody comes back, we should be be a very good team next year."
For the third time this season Kent Patterson has been named WCHA defensive player of the week. The senior Gophers' goalie allowed one goal in a weekend sweep of Bemidji State. The WCHA rookie of the week award was given to Gophers' forward Kyle Rau. It's the second time he's won the award.
Rau is required to serve his one-game suspension Saturday night during the series finale at the University of Denver. He was given a five-minute major penalty for boarding and a ten-minute game misconduct after a high check to Denver's Jason Zucker Friday night.
The Gophers men's hockey team is No. 1in the nation in more than the polls. Nick Bjugstad leads the WCHA with 21 goals -- good for second best in the country. Meanwhile, Kyle Rau leads all freshman in scoring, and goaltender Kent Patterson leads the nation in minutes.
The Gophers swept North Dakota back in early November. Both teams have changed quite a bit since then. UND is now one of the hottest teams in the country while Minnesota has fallen off a little bit. Round two of this interstate rivalry should be fantastic.
Three Gophers are among 77 candidates for the Hobey Baker Award, which goes to the nations top college hockey player. Goalie Kent Patterson, forward Nick Bjugstad, and forward Kyle Rau made the list. The candidates will eventually be trimmed to three, with the winner being named April 6.
Gophers' forward Nick Bjugstad had a hat trick and two assists to help lead Team USA over Latvia in the relegation round of the World Junior Championships. Kyle Rau also scored in the blowout. The U.S. plays in the seventh place game against Switzerland on Wednesday.