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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Goaltender play to blame for day-and-night performance

Andy Bohmbach scores an incredible mid-air shot against the rival Gophers.[/media-credit]

Nowhere was Wisconsin’s day-and-night performance against Minnesota more evident than in goal. After UM goaltender Alex Kangas struggled to make saves Friday night, UW’s Brett Bennett had similar troubles Saturday.

UW head coach Mike Eaves had relied on a Friday-Saturday rotation of juniors Bennett and Scott Gudmandson up to this point, but started Bennett on consecutive nights for the first time Saturday. Bennett responded by giving up four goals on 27 shots faced.

“I think a lot of it was more mental than anything. Last night I felt in the game, a little more focused,” he said. “I felt, just different (Saturday). It was the first time playing back-to-back nights in a long time — I can’t remember the last time.”


The junior goaltender had a better game Friday, making 16 saves on 18 shots. Eaves saw enough in Bennett Friday to finally give him a back-to-back start.

“I thought looking at film and watching the way he played last night, there was this aura, this confidence,” he said. “And we talked about it as a staff, and felt that against this component, let him ride it, let him ride it out. And maybe he put too much pressure on himself and fought it a little bit.”

Bennett looked out of sorts and jumpy much of the game, and it was especially evident on Minnesota’s third goal. Wisconsin turned the puck over at its own blue line and Bennett found himself out of position, giving Minnesota’s Patrick White an open net to shoot at from the slot.

The junior also got beat on a wrist shot over his right shoulder for the first goal of the game. His defense didn’t do him any favors though, as they gave up a number of odd-man rushes and blocked just 10 shots — after blocking 30 Friday night.

Eaves may have been trying to find a consistent starter by playing Bennett in consecutive games. Last season the Badgers relied on the now-graduated Shane Connelly, who started 37-of-40 games for UW. Eaves said he just felt good about Bennett’s play Friday.

“It was just the way we felt about the way he played last night, indicated that this would be a good thing to do for our team right now,” he said. “So, we gave it a go — at some point during this course of the season, we’re going to have to do it again. Tonight it didn’t work out the way that we’d hoped.”

“It’s going to come, it’s going to come,” Bennett added. “I felt I didn’t play well, but I felt there was things in my game that looked good, I felt good in some aspects of the game.”

Coming up empty

Despite Wisconsin outshooting Minnesota 79-46 for the series, the Gophers outscored the Badgers 7-6. UW was able to come up with four goals on its 32 shots Friday, but scored on just two of its 47 shots Saturday.

Last weekend, Wisconsin outshot New Hampshire 96-35 en route to 4-1 and 6-1 wins.

It took the Badgers until the second period to score against UNH in the second game despite a 13-shot first period, and that tough luck was on display again Saturday night against Minnesota.

UW fired 32 shots on goal in the first two periods against UM before Jake Gardiner finally got a slap shot past the Gophers’ Kangas 28 seconds into the third. The main difference between Saturdays against UNH and UM was that UW found itself in a 3-0 hole before it scored against the Gophers.

“Talking after the second period, the thing that happened in the second, when it was a 2-0 game — before it became 3-0 — we started to press, as most young people will. And even pro guys do it,” Eaves said. “You’re working hard, you’re not getting rewarded for the things that you’re doing.

“And then all of a sudden on the power play, we’re trying to do it ourselves, or we’re shooting the puck when we should be passing and we’re not taking what was given.”

UW senior captain Ben Street didn’t think the Badgers got too worried about being down though.

“We didn’t really lose composure too much I don’t think — we just kept pressing,” he said. “After a while, you’re down 2-0, you’re getting lots of chances but they’re not going in, you start to grip the stick a little tighter.”

Despite consistently outshooting its opponents, UW seems to have trouble converting the large number of shots it produces into goals. Minnesota at one point had three shots on goal, with two of them scoring. Street said he lost track of how many scoring chances the Badgers had Saturday.

“I don’t know. I mean, lots. We definitely created a lot, we were buzzing around their net a fair bit,” he said. “It was just one of those things; we created a lot of chances and you have to try to bury a few. And we didn’t do that tonight.”

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