Schmidt, Rau Earn WCHA Honors

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Sophomore defenseman Nate Schmidt was named the Red Baron WCHA Defensive Player of the Week for Feb. 28, while Kyle Rau repeated as the Red Baron WCHA Rookie of the Week.

Schmidt assisted on three of Minnesota's six goals this past weekend as the Gophers became the first team to sweep Nebraska Omaha at home in the regular season since January 11-12, 2008. Schmidt's lengthy and accurate backhand pass to a streaking Sam Warning was the only assist on Warning's goal as Minnesota jumped out to a 1-0 lead against the Mavericks on Friday.

On Saturday, with Minnesota trailing 1-0, Schmidt assisted on both goals that gave the Gophers a 2-1 lead at the end of the first period.

Schmidt was on the ice for four of Minnesota's six goals last weekend and was on the ice for only one goal against (Nebraska Omaha's shorthanded goal on Friday). He also blocked five shots on the weekend, which was the most among any Minnesota player.

This is the first time that Schmidt has been honored by the WCHA.

Rau had another three-point weekend at Nebraska Omaha as he repeated as the league's rookie of the week. The freshman had the primary assist on Nick Bjugstad's third-period, game-tying goal on Friday, which Minnesota won 3-2 in overtime. The Gophers trailed 2-1 entering the third period and Rau helped Minnesota win for only the second time this year when trailing after two periods.  

On Saturday, Rau scored two power-play goals--including the game-winner--as Minnesota clipped the Mavericks 3-2. Rau was involved in three of Minnesota's six goals this weekend. He leads Minnesota with six game-winning goals and is tied for first on the team with seven power-play goals. Rau is also tied for second in the nation with a +23 rating.

This is the third time that Rau, who is on a seven-game point streak, has been named WCHA Rookie of the Week, as he also received the honor on Oct. 18 and Feb. 21. He was also the National Rookie of the Month for October.

In addition, Nick Bjugstad (Nov. 22) and Mark Alt (Dec. 13) were previously honored earlier this year as the WCHA Offensive Player of the Week. Senior goaltender Kent Patterson was named the WCHA Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 11, Nov. 1 and Feb. 21.

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