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All-new Badgers goaltending corps looks to change team trends at the position
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UW MEN'S HOCKEY

All-new Badgers goaltending corps looks to change team trends at the position

From the Get ready for Wisconsin Badgers men's hockey season with State Journal's in-depth coverage series
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Robbie Beydoun

Goaltender Robbie Beydoun pushes the puck away from Michigan State's Sam Saliba during a Jan. 1, 2018, game. Beydoun graduated from Michigan Tech in three years and will play for the Badgers this season.

There are two sides to the narrative surrounding the goaltending position with the University of Wisconsin men's hockey team entering the 2020-21 season.

One is that the Badgers have been among the worst in NCAA Division I men's hockey in a key goaltending metric in the last five years.

The other is that none of the three goalies on this year's roster has had anything to do with those results.

The latter is a rarity. With graduate transfer Robbie Beydoun and freshmen Cameron Rowe and Ben Garrity at the position, the Badgers don't have a goalie that was on their eligible roster in the previous season for the first time in 46 years.

Although there were a few years with heavy goalie turnover since then, neither Bob Johnson nor Jeff Sauer nor Mike Eaves experienced the all-new scenario that coach Tony Granato will with the Badgers this season.

Granato said that Beydoun is likely to get the first start of the season Friday at No. 20 Notre Dame based on his three years of college experience. Still, there's again some mystery around what the Badgers will get from the goaltending position.

"I think what they've done in practice, they all have proven that they want to be the guy that starts the first game," Granato said. "They're working to be that guy."

UW is the only NCAA Division I men's program that has posted a team save percentage below .900 in each of the last five seasons. It has finished only one of those with a winning record, Granato's first in 2016-17.

The .887 save percentage in 2019-20 was the lowest of the five-year stretch and ranked 58th of 60 teams nationally.

More goes into the save percentage than just the performance of the goaltenders, who can bear the statistical burden for mistakes made by forwards and defensemen. But it's also not a stretch to say that the Badgers need improvements and stability in the crease to have a chance at a better season.

"With all three of us being new here, it's a clean slate," Rowe said. "There's no pressure — but there's pressure. There's going to be a lot of eyes or just people saying things. Three new goalies coming in, we need to step up and be big. But at the same time I believe all of us are comfortable doing that. It's a challenge that we're looking at positively."

The Badgers have gone through a fair amount of turnover at goaltender in the last six years but a complete remake between seasons is unusual for the program.

In the fall of 1988, UW brought in freshmen Curtis Joseph and Duane Derksen to play almost all of the minutes but also had seldom-used senior John Lambie on the roster.

Twenty-three years later, Joel Rumpel and Landon Peterson arrived for their first seasons but joined junior third-stringer Mitch Thompson.

The 1964-65 season, the second of the program's modern era, was the last where the Badgers didn't return a goaltender from the previous year's roster. UW featured sophomores Ben Hall, Gary Johnson and Jon Sundby in an era before freshmen were allowed to play.

This year's transformation was complete after Daniel Lebedeff, who played most of the minutes in goal over the last two seasons with the Badgers, signed with a pro team in his native Finland in the offseason.

"Him leaving to play pro right now probably was the right decision from the standpoint that we needed to have a different guy back there this year to start our season," Granato said. "I think our team needed that. I think our program needed that.

"And then Robbie came along as a transfer and we thought he would be a guy that could step in and be a guy that could really help us. It's not the long haul but it's a short-term fix that we think is to the most important position."

The Badgers are reshaping how they recruit goaltenders, a small position group where teams don't have the margin for error that they do with forwards and defensemen.

Rowe, 19, and Garrity, 20, came aboard this season. Noah Grannan is projected to take Beydoun's spot next season as a 19-year-old after mirroring Rowe's path of playing a year in the United States Hockey League after two with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program.

Granato said the Badgers coaching staff will put a higher priority on recruiting experienced goaltenders in future seasons.

With the departures of Lebedeff and seniors Jack Berry and Johan Blomquist after last season, Beydoun, Rowe and Garrity are tasked with reversing the downward trend with Badgers goaltending statistics.

Beydoun moved to UW after three seasons with Michigan Tech in which he started only 23 times. He appeared in only five games last season while playing behind Matt Jurusik, who transferred away from the Badgers when Kyle Hayton arrived as a grad transfer in 2017.

At the same time that he's one of the newest players on the team, Beydoun also is the oldest at 24.

"I've been really enjoying it because it's like a fresh start," Beydoun said. "It's a new group of guys but you're also a veteran at the same time."

Rowe's 2019-20 campaign with Des Moines in the USHL was below average statistically — a .899 save percentage and 3.52 goals-against average in 33 games — but he said the experience was helpful.

Cameron Rowe photo

Cameron Rowe had an .872 save percentage and a 3.49 goals-against average in 32 appearances for the U.S. Under-18 Team in 2018-19 before playing a season with Des Moines of the USHL.

"I think that was huge for me in Des Moines, especially having a semi-frustrating season there," Rowe said. "Just rolling with the adversity, understanding the situation that this is part of a much bigger picture, I think, was huge to learn during that time."

After two seasons with Minot of the Tier 2 North American Hockey League, Garrity is a long shot to play significant minutes for the Badgers.

Beydoun got to UW after graduating from Michigan Tech in three years. Rowe had been committed to Omaha and North Dakota before landing with the Badgers. Garrity arrived four years after his initial recruiting visit to Madison.

Their experiences are varied but they now share the goal of putting Badgers goaltending back into a good light.

"The past for goalies, it's all in the back of our heads but we don't really talk about it," Garrity said. "We know what we have to do. We know what's been going on the last few years. So we're pushing ourselves and trying to get ready to change that."


Catch up on what you might have missed in the Badgers men's hockey 2020 offseason

Catch up on what you might have missed in the Badgers men's hockey 2020 offseason

The COVID-19 pandemic caused the longest Badgers men's hockey offseason in 51 years. Here's what the State Journal has covered since the 2019-20 season ended.

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Alex Turcotte, the fifth overall pick in the 2019 NHL, draft agreed to terms Wednesday with the Los Angeles Kings on an entry-level contract that'll start next season.

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Badgers men's hockey sophomore K'Andre Miller signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the New York Rangers that starts next season, capfriendly.com reported on Friday.

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The first-round draft pick of the NHL's Montreal Canadiens led the Big Ten in scoring this season.

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DSean hooghe had 26 goals and 56 points in 102 career games for the Badgers.

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Former Badgers men's hockey center Alex Turcotte signed a pro contract and went to California just as North American sports were being halted because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

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The New York Rangers and the NHL denounced the directing of racist slurs at K'Andre Miller during a Zoom video chat promoted by the pro team Friday.

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The Badgers were one of around 15 teams to contact goalie Robbie Beydoun after he entered the NCAA transfer portal in the days following the end of the season.

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De Saint Phalle was a second-team selection, and Stange and Stoever were members of the third team.

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Sophomore wing Roman Ahcan, who started his collegiate career as a fourth-line grinder, was second on the team with 14 goals and led the Badgers in plus/minus at plus-7.

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Right wing Cole Caufield, who led the league scoring race with 24 points in 24 games, became UW's seventh player to be named the top freshman in either the Big Ten or Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

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Cole Caufield, the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, wants to be counted on for more than his goal-scoring prowess.

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Badgers men's hockey captain Wyatt Kalynuk said he'll have a decision in the next 30 days on whether he'll return to the Badgers for his senior season.

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Sources said Brad Traviolia, who oversaw men's hockey as part of his responsibilities with the Big Ten since 2015, departed at the end of April.

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Ty Emberson, a defenseman who's played two seasons with the Badgers, will have three senior alternate captains with him in the leadership group: forwards Tarek Baker and Ty Pelton-Byce and defenseman Tyler Inamoto.

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A Madison native, Andringa was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in December 2017. He stopped chemotherapy treatment in early May.

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A Madison native, Andringa was remembered as an incredible athlete but gained friendship, those close to him said, for a selfless nature and an infectious personality.

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No-shows — the percentage of tickets that were distributed but unused — have been trending higher over the 14 seasons covered by available data.

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K'Andre Miller said it took months to "find the words to express my frustration and anger" over being subjected to racist slurs in an online chat.

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Previously, college games tied after 60 minutes went to a five-minute, sudden-death overtime of 5-on-5 play.

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Luneau made a non-binding oral commitment to play for the Badgers starting in 2022 but reportedly signed with a QMJHL team Friday after being drafted.

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A UW spokesman said Thursday that all 14 of the coaches whose contracts are typically considered by the Athletic Board in spring meetings were extended by a year.

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The Badgers now are scheduled to open against Michigan Tech at the Kohl Center.

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Of 16 former Badgers players who skated at the NHL level in the 2019-20 regular season, 12 were on rosters for camps ahead of the Aug. 1 return to play.

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The Philadelphia Flyers goalie is one of 12 former Badgers players who'll chase the Stanley Cup amid restrictions to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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The event traditionally serves as an evaluation for the World Junior Championship that starts in December.

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Former Badgers men's hockey captain Wyatt Kalynuk has signed a two-year contract with the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks that carries a $925,000 average annual salary at the NHL level.

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Madison native Mick Messner plans to continue his hockey career at Merrimack after departing the University of Wisconsin through the NCAA transfer portal.

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Since returning to campus this summer and starting to undergo testing for the coronavirus, Badgers men's hockey players have started conditioning and weight training regimens.

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The move continues a tumultuous period at what historically has been a position of strength for the Badgers.

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The Eagle River native is about to enter his second season with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program.

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College teams were able to make scholarship offers to the left-handed defenseman starting Aug. 1, and Jugnauth picked the Badgers less than two weeks later.

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Pavelski, already the NHL playoff goal-scoring leader among former Badgers players, recorded a hat trick with his third goal of the game with 11.9 seconds left Sunday to force overtime.

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Ramsey said he also had heard from New Hampshire, Colorado College and Denver this month but UW made the only offer so far.

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Fink is going to camp with the Alberta Junior Hockey League's Brooks Bandits in September but also could play another season with the Northern Alberta X-treme in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League.

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While the Division I men's committee opted to give teams only a mild amount of credit for an overtime victory, women's and Division III levels will go heavier.

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Coach Tony Granato said there's good reason for his team to take a patient approach to both the start of practice and the wait for a clear direction on when the season will begin amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Football and men's hockey are the only two sports pausing activities due to test results, per a UW official. 

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Granato said he couldn't confirm how many members of the Badgers men's hockey team had tested positive for COVID-19 but said there was a "spike, just like what's going on in our community."

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The 83 athletes who have tested positive represent more than 11% of Badgers athletes on campus.

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Granato joined Jerry York, Dean Blais and Jenny Potter in the Class of 2020.

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"You don't think of things that you did," Tony Granato said. "You think of the people that were around you that helped you have so much fun in the game of hockey."

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Joe Pavelski's Dallas Stars and Ryan McDonagh's Tampa Bay Lightning have made it through the bubble to the NHL championship series.

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Cole Caufield said in March that he would return for a second season with the Badgers, but the start of the NCAA schedule has been delayed.

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Former Badger Ryan McDonagh's Tampa Bay Lightning won the NHL championship by defeating the Dallas Stars on Monday.

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Sophomores Cole Caufield, Owen Lindmark and freshman Sam Stange will take part in the event to help select the team for the World Junior Championship.

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Cole Caufield led the Badgers in scoring last season and should be a focal point of the team's offense in a delayed 2020-21 campaign.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has forced changes in the locker room layout, how many players are there at the same time and will make for new travel plans.

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He won't be heading onto the stage as a first-round pick but Holloway will get to experience the event with his family.

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It was the third straight season that a Badgers men's hockey player has been selected in the first round of the NHL draft, a feat that had never happened before.

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The Badgers men's hockey season will open as soon as Nov. 13, a delay of about six weeks because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and also include four non-conference games against Arizona State.

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Forward Sam Stange's selection made it 23 straight years that the Badgers have had a player picked on the second day of the draft.

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Mike Emrick announced his retirement from a Hall of Fame play-by-play career after calling more than 3,750 pro and Olympic hockey games.

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Hockey Canada is considering bringing its prospects to Alberta for a camp that could start before the Badgers are scheduled to open their season, according to a report.

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The Badgers men's hockey team will join the women's hockey team in playing home games in the 8-year-old venue adjacent to the Kohl Center.

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Defenseman Corson Ceulemans got an "A" grade from NHL Central Scouting.

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The first national rankings of the NCAA men's hockey season are out, and the University of Wisconsin men's hockey team has work to do to impre…

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Holloway's sophomore season with the Badgers is on track to begin Nov. 13. Canada's selection camp opens Nov. 16.

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Having a start date to look forward to has reinvigorated defenseman Anthony Kehrer and his UW teammates.

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