Opposing coaches have thrown everything but the Zamboni at Eden Prairie senior Kyle Rau, and all those exotic schemes have failed to achieve even marginal success.
There is none.
“Everyone has tried to defense him differently,” Eden Prairie coach Lee Smith said after Rau scored twice and added two assists in the Eagles’ 5-1 triumph over Eagan on Friday, March 10, in the state Class 2A semifinals at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. “Some try to shadow him, some try to match lines. But the thing that you find is the more that they try to do it, the better he becomes.”
So if the best strategy is to treat Rau as just another player, well, turns out that didn’t work for Eagan, either.
“No,” Wildcats coach Mike Taylor said after a long pause when asked if he had implemented anything special in his game plan in an attempt to slow the Mr. Hockey candidate.
Rau has four goals in the Eagles two state tournament games and an even 40 this season.
Rau scored on a back-door tap-in on a power play 22 seconds into the second period to put Eden Prairie ahead 3-0. Just more than three minutes later the Eagles led 4-0, courtesy of a Rau one-timer from just outside the crease.
Luc Gerdes and Nick Seeler scored in the first period for Eden Prairie, and Ben Boldenow added a goal in the third.