Sept. 19, 2013
SAINT PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota's Kyle Rau was the lone unanimous selection in today's Big Ten Preseason Players to Watch List while the conference coaches selected the Gophers to finish second in the league's first-ever campaign, the Big Ten announced today ahead of Big Ten Media Day at Xcel Energy Center. Adam Wilcox and Mike Reilly also represented the Gophers in this year's Watch List.
Minnesota won a Big Ten-high 26 games last season and advanced to the program's 34th NCAA tournament appearance. In the team's final year of competition in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, the Gophers were Co-MacNaughton Cup champions, sharing the regular season title - Minnesota's second-straight MacNaugton Cup and its fourth in the last eight years.
Meanwhile, Rau enters his junior campaign with the Maroon and Gold as Minnesota's leading returner. The forward tallied 40 points (15 goals, 25 assists) in 40 games last season while the Gophers were 23-2-1 when he tallied a point. Rau tied for first in the nation with seven game-winning goals last season.
Wilcox returns to Minnesota's lineup after one of the most impressive rookie seasons in Gophers history. The netminder's 25 wins last season tied Kellen Briggs for Minnesota's rookie wins record while the Third Team All-WCHA honoree also set a new school record with a 1.88 GAA.
Reilly led all Minnesota freshmen last season with 14 points (three goals, 11 assists) in 37 games last season. One of three Reilly brothers on Minnesota's roster this year, the defenseman also helped the U.S. win gold at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships in Russia last season.
Only Wisconsin was selected ahead of Minnesota in this year's coaches poll with Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Penn State rounding out the poll, respectively.
The Gophers host an exhibition game against Lethbridge at Mariucci Arena on Oct. 5 before opening the regular season on home ice with the Ice Breaker Tournament the following weekend.
-Pride on Ice-
Martin, Kessel Face Off for Stanley Cup
Gopher alums will face off in the Stanley Cup Final for the fourth time in program history.
Four Gophers to Skate at World Cup of Hockey
A native of Pori, Finland, Haula is coming off a career year with the Wild - setting new career highs for points (34), goals (14) and assists (20).
Pitlick, Westby Earn USA Hockey Honors
Pitlick was named the Dave Tyler Junior Player of the Year while Westby was tabbed the Adult Player of the Year.