After losing four seniors to graduation and seeing WCHA Player of the Year Jamie McBain skip his final season at the University of Wisconsin, the men’s hockey team welcomed two new recruits for the 2009-10 season Wednesday afternoon.
Joining the Badgers are goaltender Brett Bennett — who hails from Williamsville, N.Y. — and defenseman John Ramage of Chesterfield, Mo.
Bennett in particular was a necessary addition to head coach Mike Eaves’ squad with three of the departing seniors playing goaltender, including two-year starter Shane Connelly. As of right now, Wisconsin will carry two net minders on its roster next season with junior-to-be Scott Gudmandson and newcomer Bennett.
“Brett will come in as a Badger after a super year in junior hockey,” Eaves said in a press release. “We look forward to him bringing his experience to our team. And John, with his experience with the national team development program, he has already played multiple college games and will come in and add that experience to our incoming class.”
Ramage skated for the St. Louis Bandits — a North American Hockey League team — where he recorded 11 points in 56 games, including four goals. Ramage’s point totals are a bit off from McBain’s 37 points in 40 games, which led all WCHA defenseman. Ramage also played for the U.S. Under-18 National Team, and the Bandits won the 2008 USA Hockey Tier II Junior A National Championships.
In the 2009 NHL Central Scouting draft rankings, Ramage ranks No. 97 among North American hockey players.
Like fellow Badgers’ Blake Geoffrion and Patrick Johnson, Ramage comes from a successful NHL family. Ramage’s father, Rob Ramage, was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1979 NHL Draft, and the elder Ramage appeared in 1,044 total NHL games.
Bennett will come to UW with only two years of eligibility remaining after suiting up his first two seasons for Boston University. Selected in the fifth round by the Phoenix Coyotes in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, Bennett spent this season starting for the Indiana Ice of the United States Hockey League.
With the Ice, Bennett earned a spot on the First-Team All USHL squad and went 35-17-4 on the year. With four shutouts, the Missouri native posted a 2.59 goals-against average and stopped 91 percent of the shots fired on net.
While manning the pipes for Boston University, Bennett went 16-10-3 with a 2.63 goals-against average. This season, Connelly went 19-14-4 for the Badgers and posted a 2.51 goals-against average.