Rau scores twice as Gophers rout RPI with 44-shot outburst

  • Article by: JASON GONZALEZ , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 5, 2014 - 12:16 AM

Travis Boyd’s third line scored twice, and played solid defense as the Gophers won the third-place game in the Mariucci Classic.

 

Shout-outs were necessary after the Gophers’ 6-2 victory over Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on Saturday night.

The Gophers third line of Tom Serratore, Travis Boyd and Seth Ambroz reunited to contain the nation’s top scorer and score two goals in the Mariucci Classic’s third-place game at Mariucci Arena. Coach Don Lucia made sure the trio knew he took notice.

“A nice shout-out to Boyd and their line, ‘cause we matched them up the whole night against RPI’s top line, who had 38 goals [entering the game],” Lucia said. “And they ended up scoring a couple goals.”

Defenseman Ben Marshall assisted two of the Gophers’ three goals in the second period. Kyle Rau increased his career point total to 102 with a pair of goals. Boyd scored a goal for the second straight night and assisted two.

Gophers goaltender Adam Wilcox collected 18 saves, while the defense gave up just 20 shots on goal.

Lucia’s return from the World Junior Championships in Malmo, Sweden, included a shuffled up Gophers lineup. The adjustments helped freshen up some stale lines and more importantly reunited Boyd, Serratore and Ambroz.

Boyd was thankful for Lucia’s, Brady Skjei’s and Hudson Fasching’s early return from Sweden. A replenished lineup meant the upperclassmen line would skate together again. The results spoke for themselves, but Boyd added his own praise.

“We knew we were going to be matchup against [top scorer Ryan Haggerty], so we knew we had to do a good job on D,” Boyd said. “I think we picked our spots to create offense and I thought my line played absolutely phenomenal tonight. I think we shut them down and gave our team a spark.”

The hit of the night also came from the third line. Serratore sent 6-5, 215-pound Guy Leboeuf over the boards and into RPI’s bench.

Gophers’ defense returned to full strength with Skjei also back from the World Junior Championships. The group helped contain Haggerty and gave up few quality scoring chances all night. The Engineers made just six shots on goal in the first period.

RPI’s first goal came shorthanded. Brock Higgs was credited with the goal, but a replay showed the skate of Gophers’ defenseman Justin Holl redirected it past Wilcox. Matt Neal scored the Engineer’s second goal on a quick shot after winning a faceoff.

The Gophers’ defensive core also had a big hand in scoring. Marshall assisted two goals and Justin Holl one. The defensemen were limited in transition on Friday night with only five men on the blue line available.

“We played a lot of minutes last night,” Marshall said. “We were glad to get Skjei back. I think we were in sync, we got our shifts, we paced ourselves a little better tonight than last night.”

It appeared RPI pulled within a goal with nine minutes to play, but the goal was waived off. The Engineers were called for interference and the Gophers awarded the power play. Seconds later, Rau made it a three-goal lead, 5-2.

Colgate 3, Ferris State 0

Colgate got past the No. 1- and No. 2-ranked teams to win the Mariucci Classic on Saturday afternoon. The Raiders defeated No. 2 Ferris State, 3-0, less than 24 hours after advancing past the No. 1 Gophers with a 2-1 shootout victory.

The impressive weekend improved Colgate to a game under .500 (8-9-3) on the season. The Raiders defense gave up just 19 shots on goal and goaltender Charlie Finn saved each of them. Finn was named the tournament MVP.

  • Mariucci classic Third-Place Game: Gophers 6, rensselaer 2

    Up next: 6 p.m. next Sunday and Monday at Penn State • TV: none Sunday, BTN Monday (1500-AM both nights)

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