MADISON, Wis. — Senior center Ben Street knows the anguish of losing a senior captain for a game, let alone an entire season.
So when the Badgers had to rebound against Colorado College Saturday night without senior captain Blake Geoffrion, Street, one of UW’s three captains, helped ease some of the Badgers’ pain, knocking in a fluky goal that helped push the Badgers to a 1-1 tie Saturday night.
With the Tigers (2-1-1, 1-0-1 WCHA) dictating tempo throughout the first 20 minutes, and getting the initial 1-0 lead because of it, the Badgers, after a couple ‘heart-to-heart’ talks by UW coach Mike Eaves, found a small spark, but couldn’t generate a decent scoring chance.
So when that didn’t work, the Badgers tried for the ugliest, dirtiest goal they could muster up, and it worked.
After his initial breakaway was partially blocked by CC goalie Joe Howe and banged off the post into the corner, Street didn’t give up on the play, getting the pass from defenseman John Ramage and firing a shot that bounced off Howe’s back and into the net.
“That was real short-term memory on that one,” Street said. “Not much had been working so far, so I might as well try to bank one in. Luckily it worked out.”
It had been a long road for Street. The team’s emotional leader last season, Street tore his ACL in UW’s fourth game last season and went through a vigorous rehab to try and get back for last year’s stretch run. When that option didn’t present itself, Street put all his emotion coming back for his fifth season, emotion that came out after his goal 2:43 into the third period.
“We were joking beforehand that I was pretty due for one; it has been about a year,” Street chuckled. “It was a little bit of relief but for the most part; it was nice to get one on the board and get into position to win.”
With the Badgers (0-1-1, 0-1-1 WCHA) missing Geoffrion and Eaves benching Michael Davies and Brendan Smith, two nine-plus goal scorers a season ago, and the Tigers missing captain Mike Testwuide, neither team could capitalize on their scoring chances in the final 22-plus grinding minutes.
“It was one of those early year, slug-em-out type of games,” Tigers’ coach Scott Owens said. “It was a great learning weekend from us. We hung in there pretty good.”
Much like the night before when two UW turnovers in the neutral zone led to Colorado College goals, two costly penalties, both occurring right in front of the head referee, gave the Tigers a two-man advantage for 90 seconds early in the first period.
With nine seconds left on the five-on-three advantage, defenseman Nate Prosser made UW suffer, slipping the puck past UW goalie Scott Gudmandson from between the circles at 6:46.
That was the only thing that got by UW’s junior goalie, who stopped 30 of 31 shots. Couple that with junior Brett Bennett stopping 23 of 26 shots Friday and the Badgers appear to be no closer to determining a starting goaltender.
“There were a lot of questions coming into this weekend, starting with the young goaltenders,” Eaves said. “I thought both young men stepped up and did their part.”
While Eaves may stick with a two-goalie system for the foreseeable future, it appears Colorado College has found its netminder. Facing 68 shots on the weekend, the true freshman made 65 saves, showing his coach that the Tigers have found a replacement for goalie Richard Bachman.
“To go back-to-back games in this magnitude, I think we learned a lot there,” Owens said. “He’s put together three good games for us now. We’re fortunate to get three points from here and he’s a big part of that.”