Observations from Minnesota's 5-4 loss to Vermont

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Rau Coming Up Big
Freshman Kyle Rau, who moved to left wing after serving as a center for Eden Prairie High School last year continues to impress, providing a bright spot for Minnesota even in defeat. The 5-foot-8 forward has been a spark to both special teams units and has shown that he a great hockey sense and nose for the net. Rau potted his team-leading sixth goal of the year in the Gophers' third period comeback effort and almost had a game tying assist minutes later when he alertly fed Nick Bjugstad with a pass in the slot. The freshman isn't afraid to throw his 172-pound frame around, either. He made several hits on the night, highlighted a big open-ice check at the blueline on UVM's Kyle Reynolds when the team was shorthanded in the final frame.

Patterson's Streak Snapped
Kent Patterson's home shutout streak of 210:44 came to an end 4:07 into the second period on Saturday when Vermont's Connor Brickley scored on a one-timer from Matt White. After allowing a goal with 6:37 left in the third period of the Gophers' final playoff game against Alaska-Anchorage, Patterson went over ten full periods without allowing a goal on home ice. 

More Steaks End
Minnesota's impressive unbeaten run against one of the top conferences in the nation, Hockey East, came to an end on Sunday. The Gophers were 5-0-1 against Hockey East opponents since losing to Boston College 5-2 in the 2008 NCAA Regional in Worcester, Mass. before losing 5-4 to Vermont on Sunday. UM defeated Northeastern, Vermont, and Massachusetts (twice) and beat and tied New Hampshire in those six games. The Gophers run of five straight games with five or more goals, the longest such run for the program since the 2001-02 season, also came to an end in the loss. Minnesota gave its opponent more than six power-play chances for the first time all year, providing the Catamounts with a man advantage seven times.

O from the D
Coming into Sunday, the only defenseman on the Gophers to record a goal was Ben Marshall. Though the team lost, sophomore blueliners Justin Holl and Nate Schmidt scored their first goals of the season with blasts from the point. Schmidt's tally was the first of his career after going all of last year without a goal. Holl scored for the first time since his first career game 
(29 total games played in between goals) last year against Massachusetts, another Hockey East foe. Schmidt also added his seventh and eighth assists of the season in the loss.
The McCarthy Factor
Vermont made one change in its lineup from Friday night after falling 6-0. Coach Kevin Sneddon inserted Chris McCarthy, the Catamounts' second-leading scorer from a season ago, onto the second line in place of Matt Marshall. The move paid huge dividends, as McCarthy gave the Gopher defensemen fits with aggressive forechecking. The junior winger also showed up in the box score, notching a goal and two assists with a plus-3 rating.

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