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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Badgers, Gophers split Border Battle series

Ben Street scored the Badgers\’ final goal in their 4-2 win over the Golden Gophers Friday night.[/media-credit]

When two talented hockey teams square off, more often than not, a few critical plays make the difference in the eventual outcome.

According to head coach Mike Eaves, Saturday night’s game between the Wisconsin Badgers and Minnesota Golden Gophers turned on those pivotal moments.

“They got the timely saves and the timely goals,” Eaves said.


With a 5-2 victory, the Gophers avoided a sweep and took game two of the Border Battle series. Surprisingly enough, Brett Bennett was the goaltender credited with Saturday’s loss.

Eaves had been playing Bennett on Friday nights and Scott Gudmandson on Saturday, but the head coach decided to give Bennett back-to-back starts for the first time all season.

“It was a gut feeling. I thought in looking at film and watching the way he played [Friday] night there was just this confidence,” Eaves said. “We talked about it as a staff and we felt that we should let him ride it.”

The decision appeared to backfire early, as Bennett allowed a soft wrist shot from Minnesota captain Tony Lucia to beat him in the game’s opening minutes.

“The first goal was one he would love to have back,” Eaves said. “Maybe he put too much pressure on himself and fought it a little bit.”

Bennett was admittedly disappointed with his play but he did see encouraging signs in his performance.

“I felt I didn’t play well, but I felt that there were things in my game that looked good and I felt good in certain aspects of the game,” Bennett said. “I think it’s going to come, it’s just going to be a matter of time.”

For the rest of the Badgers, the night was summed up by missed chances. UW once again dominated in shots, as the Badgers tallied 47 to the Gophers’ 28.

UW captain Ryan McDonagh knows that with Saturday night’s loss, he and his teammates let a golden opportunity slip away.

“Anytime you lose a Saturday night game after a Friday night win … it’s real tough to swallow,” McDonagh said. “I think the team will realize it more on Monday or Tuesday as we look back on the TV and see the stats and see that we were getting the chances and we were playing pretty well in our own end. Right now it’s pretty tough to take.”

Although Saturday’s performance ended the weekend on an uninspiring note, the Badgers were able to earn a solid victory in game one of the series.

It was complete role reversal in Friday’s contest, as it was the Badgers who came through in the game’s crucial moments.

“I think tonight, the final analysis will be about timely saves by our young goaltender and timely goals and specifically Ben Street’s goal as a timely goal,” Eaves said following Friday’s game. “It was good on a night where we know we can play better and that’s something that the team needs to show each other as they go through the course of the year.”

After the Gophers cut the Badgers’ lead to one in the third period, Street put away a beautiful centering pass from Michael Davies. The goal gave UW new life and the Badgers held on for a 4-2 victory.

“The biggest goal was Streeter’s definitely; 3-2, two minutes to go in the game, and Street bangs one home,” senior captain Blake Geoffrion said. “We were on our heels a little bit at the end of the game, and that goal was a big one for us.”

Bennett played well in Friday’s outing, but it was the Badger defense that once again protected the goaltender. The men in front of Bennett blocked an astounding 30 shots, but it was a statistic Eaves wasn’t too surprised to see.

“Coach Osiecki made a living blocking shots; He demands that from them,” Eaves said. “It is an important part of the game and good teams do that and in a tight game like that you need that element.”

Defenseman Cody Goloubef was just one of the bodies getting in front of pucks, and he credits the coaching staff for the team’s ability to consistently block shots.

“I think that’s a big thing that coach stresses is blocking pucks. Every time we block them that’s a slight chance it could have went in our net,” Goloubef said. “Every time we get a chance to block them we kind of get a pat on the back and it was a big key emphasis to keep the puck away from our net.”

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