Junior forward Kyle Rau and the rest of the Minnesota Golden Gophers (28-6-6) will do battle tonight with the Union Dutchmen (31-6-4) for the NCAA title at the Wells Fargo Center in the City of Brotherly Love. Game time is 7:30 p.m. with ESPN having the television coverage.
Rau set up both goals in Minnesota's stirring last second, 2-1 semifinal win over Rocco Grimaldi's North Dakota Fighting Sioux. The Dutchmen sent home the favored Boston College Eagles. The Eagles lineup included Panthers defensive prospects Mike Matheson and Ian McCoshen as well as Hobey Baker winner, John "Johnny Hockey" Gaudreau.
The small, but ornery Rau has scored 14 goals and added 25 assists in 40 games for the Gophers this season. He has amassed 122 points in 120 career NCAA games so far.
Will winning the title tonight be the capper to the Eden Prairie native's college days or will he return to the Minnesota campus for one more season before turning pro? The Panthers, or the Rampage, could definitely use a player with Rau's skill set and energy, even if it comes in a pint-sized package, in their lineup next season. Florida selected Rau in the third round (91st overall) in the 2011 Entry Draft.