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Critics' choice

By Loren Nelson, Editor, 04/01/11, 2:23PM CDT


Flaws hard to find in Eden Prairie's Kyle Rau, the Hub's Player of the Year

Flaws? Every player has ’em.

For high schoolers, a standard checklist of criticisms can be applied that will identify at least a few holes in even the best players’ games:

  • Played weak schedule
  • Soft in the corners
  • Floats in the neutral zone/doesn’t backcheck
  • Doesn’t perform in pressure situations

For Eden Prairie’s Kyle Rau, all those potential negatives were, in fact, the strengths of his considerable game.

The Hockey Hub’s 2010-11 Player of the Year attacked every shift with a rare mix of energy and tenacity. His work ethic was the same at both ends of the rink, even though he was the unquestioned go-to guy for the Eagles when a big goal was required.

Eden Prairie played the state’s toughest schedule -- the Eagles squared off against all of the state’s top 10-ranked Class 2A schools at least once -- and still Rau scored 81 points to finish in the top 10 in the state in scoring (including playoffs).

Eden Prairie's Kyle Rau, who scored 81 points in 31 games, is the Hockey Hub's Player of the Year. Photo by Helen Nelson

As for pressure situations, well, how about triple overtime in the state Class 2A championship?

Rau’s diving poke of the puck -- performed while sliding on his belly through the slot -- gave Eden Prairie a 3-2 victory over Duluth East in the longest championship game in the 67-year history of the state tournament.

“There’s always that factor,” Eden Prairie coach Lee Smith said about Rau’s play in the clutch, “believing that he has done it so many times before, ‘Why wouldn’t he do it again?’ ”

The 5-foot-9. 160-pound Rau, who has committed to play at the University of Minnesota, also scored in double overtime against Wayzata in the Section 6AA title game. During the regular season, he scored with 5 seconds left in overtime to boost the Eagles past eventual state Class 1A runner-up Hermantown.

“He’s not a boisterous guy, he doesn’t say a whole lot,” Smith said. “He’s just a guy who does it in the games when it mattered.”

Rau finished his three-year varsity career with 216 points, the most in school history. His career point total ranks 34th in state history.

Factor in the strength of the Eagles’ schedule (most of the state’s top career scorers played 1A schedules) and his two big-school state titles (Eden Prairie also won the championship in 2009), and Rau figures to be remembered as one of the all-time high school hockey greats.

Holy Family Catholic coach Noel Rahn coached Rau for years in the Eden Prairie youth hockey system. Rahn said he was at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, watching the Eagles’ epic battle against the Greyhounds, sure of how the game was going to end.

“I was in the stands, texting with a bunch of my friends,” Rahn said. “It was easy for me, watching Kyle growing up and coaching him for years, to know what to expect. He was always the guy who won the game for us.

“It was only a matter of, ‘When it is it going to happen?’ You can only hold on for so long, for him not to out-think everybody.”

Rau is playing in the USHL for the Sioux Falls Stampede. Through April 1, he had three goals and four assists in seven games.

-- Loren Nelson, Hockey Hub

Hockey Hub Player of the Year

Name School Year
Kyle Rau Eden Prairie 2011
Nick Bjugstad Blaine 2010

2010-11 First Team All-State

Name School Pos Year
Alex Lyon Lake of the Woods G Sr.
Dan Molenaar Eden Prairie D Sr.
Max Everson Edina D Sr.
Josh Archibald Brainerd F Sr.
Tony Cameranesi Wayzata F Sr.
Kyle Rau Eden Prairie F Sr.

2010-11 Second Team All-State

Name School Pos Year
Charlie Lindgren Lakeville North G Jr.
Nick Seeler Eden Prairie D Sr.
Patrick Daly Benilde-St. Margaret's D Sr.
Tyler Heinonen Delano F Sr.
Joseph LaBate Holy Angels F Sr.
Mike Dockry Burnsville F Sr.

All-Time State Scoring Leaders

No. Name School Final Year Points
1 Ben Hanowski Little Falls 2009 405
2 Johnny Pohl Red Wing 1998 378
3 Dave Spehar Duluth East 1996 304
4 Joey Benik St. Francis 2010 283
5 Gino Guyer Greenway 2002 282
12 (tie) Garrett Hendrickson Virginia 2011 250
34 Kyle Rau Eden Prairie 2011 216

Year: Senior

Height, Weight: 6-foot-1, 190 pounds

Games Played: 27 | Minutes: 1,373:51 | W-L-T: 17-7-3 | SOG: 786
Saves: 743 | GA: 43 | GAA: 1.60 | SV%: .945 | SO: 6

A standout in the Upper Midwest High School Elite Hockey League in the fall, Lyon extended his brilliant play into the winter with one of the greatest seasons posted by a goaltender in recent history. Lyon's .948 save percentage and 1.48 goals-against average were the best in the state, and his six shutouts tied for second most statewide. Lyon won the Frank Brimsek Award given annually to the state's top senior goaltender. He is playing for Cedar Rapids in the USHL and has not committed to a Division I program.

Year: Senior

Height, Weight: 5-foot-11, 170 pounds

GAMES PLAYED: 29  |  GOALS: 6  |  ASSISTS: 23  |  POINTS: 29

Molenaar, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on both hips after the season, was a dominant force for the state Class 2A champion Eagles despite playing through varying levels of pain all season. His superior skating and stickhandling ability made him a dynamic offensive threat, and he was a fixtured on the Eagles' top power-play unit. The co-captain also served as a locker room leader not afraid to speak his mind. Molenaar has not committed to a Division I program.

Year: Senior

Height, Weight: 6-foot-1, 190 pounds

GAMES PLAYED: 26  |  GOALS: 4  |  ASSISTS: 21  |  POINTS: 25

Everson dislocated his wrist late in the season but returned to the lineup in time to lead the Hornets to the state Class 2A tournament. A powerful skater with deceptive speed, Everson was Edina's physical and emotional leader. His combination of flawless positioning and superior strength made him exceedingly difficult to beat in one-on-one situations. He has committed to join his brother Marshall at Harvard next season.

Year: Senior

Height, Weight: 5-foot-10, 170 pounds

GAMES PLAYED: 27  |  GOALS: 30  |  ASSISTS: 48  |  POINTS: 78

Archibald combined fearless play in the corners with a deft touch around the net en route to amassing a school-record 78 points. Archibald, the son of Brainerd coach and former North Dakota star Jim Archiblad, played with off-the-charts grittiness, a style reminiscent of his father's trademark toughness. Archibald, who ranks second in Brainerd history with 152 career points, has committed to play at Nebraska-Omaha.

Year: Senior

Height, Weight: 5-foot-10, 165 pounds

GAMES PLAYED: 28  |  GOALS: 17  |  ASSISTS: 46  |  POINTS: 63

An electrifying offensive talent, Cameranesi has been described by NHL Central Scouting's Jack Barzee as "probably one of the best skaters" in the upcoming NHL draft. The leading scorer in the Upper Midwest High School Elite Hockey League last fall, Cameranesi failed to register a point in just three of 28 games during the high school season. One of 10 finalists for Mr. Hockey, he has committed to play at Minnesota-Duluth.

Year: Senior

Height, Weight: 5-foot-9, 160 pounds

GAMES PLAYED: 31  |  GOALS: 41  |  ASSISTS: 40  |  POINTS: 81

The Mr. Hockey award winner capped one of the greatest careers in state history by scoring in triple overtime on a face-first dive and poke of the puck against Duluth East in the state Class 2A championship game. Rau also scored in double overtime to lift the Eagles past Wayzata in the Section 6AA championship game. He finished as Eden Prairie's career scoring leader with 216 points (108 goals, 108 assists). Rau, who has committed to Minnesota, is playing for Sioux Falls, S.D., in the USHL.

2010-11 Statistical Leaders

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Player Team Yr Pos Ht Wt Comment
A3charlielindgren0097_small Charlie Lindgren Lakeville North Jr. G 6'1" 165 Big, strong, quick, technically sound -- Lindgren has all the traits of a goaltender who could reach the highest of levels. A neck injury was all that could slow Lindgren, as he missed eight games during the regular season. He had a 2.81 goals-against average and .915 save percentage last season, leading Lakeville North to a second straight state Class 2A tournament appearance.
Seeler_medium_small Nick Seeler Eden Prairie Sr. D 5'11" 170 Always a solid defenseman, the late-blooming Seeler emerged as a superstar this season for the state Class 2A champion Eagles. Seeler played with grit bordering on nastiness, and often served as a second goaltender with his shot-blocking ability. The Nebraska-Omaha recruit scored six points in three state tournament games and finished the season with nine goals and 34 assists.
Daly__patrick_crop_small Patrick Daly Benilde-St. Margaret's Sr. D 6'0" 180 Daly, a University of Wisconsin recruit, scored 40 points (three goals, 37 assists) for the Red Knights. Most impressive was his team-best plus/minus rating of plus 48, a testament to his superb play at both ends of the ice.
_13_small Tyler Heinonen Delano Sr. F 6'0" 192 Heinonen opened the season with a five-goal performance against Owatonna to start an amazing streak of 21 consecutive games in which he scored at least one goal. Heinonen finished the season with a state-best 88 points and tied for second with 46 goals. Heinonen has not committed to a Division I program.
Holyangels_joseph_labate_medium_small Joseph LaBate Holy Angels Sr. F 6'4" 195 A University of Wisconsin recruit, LaBate led the Stars with 29 goals in 26 games. His 52 points also were a team high. LaBate's rare blend of size, speed and scoring ability makes him a projected early round pick in the June NHL Draft.
Dockry_medium_small Mike Dockry Burnsville Sr. F 5'11" 165 Dockry's offensive production (30 goals, 39 assists) helped the Blaze win the rugged South Suburban Conference and reach the finals of the Section 2AA playoffs. He was held without a point once in 28 games. Dockry has not committed to a Division I program.

GOALTENDERS: Michael Bitzer, jr., Moorhead; Ryan Coyne, sr., Maple Grove; JoJo Jeanetta, sr., Duluth East.

DEFENSEMEN: Adam Barlow, sr., South St. Paul; Ryan Bullock, sr., Blake; Taylor Fleming, sr., St. Thomas Academy; D.J. Jones, sr., Wayzata; Jared Kohlquist, jr., Hermantown; Kevin Schulze, sr., Hill-Murray.

FORWARDS: Ben Bahe, sr., Hill-Murray; Tim Bonner, sr., Osseo; Jonny Brodzinski, sr., Blaine; Steven Fogarty, sr., Edina; Garrett Hendrickson, sr., Virginia/Mt. Iron-Buhl; Adam Johnson, soph., Hibbing/Chisholm; Justin Kloos, jr., Lakeville South; Mario Lucia, jr., Wayzata; A.J. Michaelson, jr., Apple Valley; Zach Schroeder, sr., St. Thomas Academy; Garrett Skrbich, sr., Hermantown; Pat Steinhauser, sr., Benilde-St. Margaret's.