Observations from Minnesota's 4-1 win over Wisconsin

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Meaningful Win
With the 4-1 win on Saturday, Minnesota head coach Don Lucia's earned his 300th win as the head coach of the University of Minnesota hockey team. The Gophers, who lost on Friday's series-opener in hockey and lost on the football field earlier Saturday, avoided being swept in Madison, Wis. since Nov. 12 and 13, 1999. The top-ranked Gophers also improved to 3-6-1 in their last ten games as the country's top ranked team. UM will meet the Badgers again at Mariucci Arena for the Gophers' Senior Weekend on March 2 and 3.

Freshmen Not Named Rau
Through the first month of the season, Kyle Rau was the best freshman in NCAA Division I hockey, shown by his HCA National Freshman of the Month award. He also scored a clutch game-winning goal against North Dakota a week ago and was solid in every facet of the game. He played terrific again this weekend, but some other freshmen stepped up their game, as well.

Entering Friday night's game, Seth Ambroz has a plus/minus rating of +1, tied for the lowest among Gophers with more than three games played. He didn't improve on that number in the loss, but he did make a positive impact in the game by making several hits and breaking up two prime scoring chances for Wisconsin's Ryan Little. He was one of six Minnesota skaters that weren't on the ice for a Badger goal and he almost netted his third goal of the season in the final frame when he hit the crossbar with 9:10 to go.

On Saturday, Ambroz continued his solid play, creating a screen in front of the Wisconsin net that helped Seth Helgeson score the game's first goal. He finished with a +2 rating on the night.

Rookie defenseman Ben Marshall also played well, creating many chances on both nights. His feed to Erik Haula early in the third period on Friday almost gave the Gophers life early in the period, but Haula's one-timer was stopped by UW goalie Joel Rumpel.

Marshall played well again on Saturday, firing several shots in from the point and making some good rushes deep into the offensive zone.

Fellow first-year skaters Travis Boyd and Sam Warning did their part to contribute to Saturday's win, as well.

Senior Leadership
Another positive from UM's first WCHA loss was the play of senior assistant captain Jake Hansen. Hansen helped create several scoring chances in the final 25 minutes of the game and was finally rewarded with his fourth goal of the year with 1:09 to go. In the series finale, Hansen was effective again, helping the Gophers second line gain the UW zone on several occasions.

Another senior who stepped up this weekend was captain Taylor Matson. Eager to make sure his team avoided a sweep, Matson made a great effort to set up Seth Helgeson's opening tally. He also beat UW goalie Joel Rumpel 6:14 into the third period to notch the game-winning goal.

"That Felt Great"
For the second straight year, Wausau, Wis.-native Nate Condon scored against his home-state team at the Kohl Center. Around ten minutes after making a great effort to set up Taylor Matson's goal, Condon created his own breakaway and converted on a snapshot to ice the game at 4-1. The goal was similar to a shorthanded goal he scored at Alaska Anchorage two weeks ago.

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