There’s some extra time built into this week’s schedule for Robbie Beydoun to look back before he looks ahead.
Beydoun and all other members of the University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team have to quarantine in their Connecticut hotel from arrival Tuesday until two COVID-19 tests come back negative.
Three years ago, Beydoun was in Bridgeport for an NCAA tournament regional as a freshman backup goaltender for Michigan Tech.
One year ago, he was contemplating his future after entering his name into the transfer portal.
“It’s pretty cool how it’s coming full circle,” Beydoun said. “Just seeing how much I’ve grown since the last time I was there. It’s going to be a special experience specifically for me, too, just reflecting on the journey I’ve been through in my college hockey career.”
Beydoun is scheduled to start in the Bridgeport regional opener against Bemidji State on Friday as UW continues a goalie rotation that has lasted nearly two months.
If the Badgers get past the Beavers and face either UMass or Lake Superior State on Saturday, it’ll likely be freshman Cameron Rowe in the crease with a spot in the Frozen Four on the line.
Rowe was pulled from the Big Ten Championship Game against Minnesota on March 16 after allowing five goals in just over 38 minutes. But coach Tony Granato didn’t pin the loss on Rowe, and his commitment to extending the life span of the platoon is evidence of continued faith in both goalies.
“Both of these guys have been very reliable and dependable and very confident all year,” Granato said.
Beydoun didn’t play in Bridgeport in the 2018 regional as Michigan Tech took top seed Notre Dame to overtime before losing. He started only 23 games over three seasons with the Huskies — three of them against Western Collegiate Hockey Association foe Bemidji State.
He played for the last time in his freshman and sophomore seasons against the Beavers, going 0-3 with a .902 save percentage and a 3.71 goals-against average.
What Beydoun remembers about Bemidji State is a similarity to a lot of WCHA teams: “Very hard working,” he said. “They grind. They get bodies to the net. They get pucks on net from everywhere.”
Managing the traffic around him and controlling rebounds are paramount, he said.
Beydoun and Rowe have been major parts of the Badgers’ reversal of fortunes this season, and for the veteran it has been a good outcome for a graduate transfer year.
“It was really exciting for me just having the opportunity to come in and help turn around a team,” Beydoun said. “I think that’s something that everybody came into this year with, just that mindset of being sick of losing.”
A Venn diagram of Division I men’s hockey teams whose top two goalies both have a .920 save percentage or greater (five) and teams that split playing time with both getting at least a third of the minutes (11) has only the Badgers in the union.
A UW goalie hasn’t posted a .920 save percentage since Joel Rumpel in 2013-14, the previous time UW made the NCAA tournament. Rowe is at .934, Beydoun at .922.
Rowe said his start against Minnesota in the Big Ten tournament final was “a tough pill to swallow” even without the added baggage of knowing there was a trophy on the line.
He said he abided by the 24-hour rule, whereby all is forgotten within a day of the outcome.
“For me, that next ice session has always been huge, where you’re like, OK, I actually have moved on,” Rowe said. “Because in that time you’re not in your own head but you’re thinking the last time I skated this was the outcome. But practice has been solid this week.”
The Badgers’ goalie platoon started the week after the only other time Rowe was pulled from a start this season, a loss at Penn State on Jan. 22. Since, Beydoun has started the first game of a series and Rowe has gone in for the second. UW is 11-2-1 over that stretch.
Beydoun has a .947 save percentage — fourth-best in the country — and two shutouts in seven starts during the rotation.
“It’s just been a lot of fun,” Beydoun said of his senior season after transferring. “Obviously, getting first place in the regular season, it’s something that’ll be cool to look back on. It’s really just been more about the joy of coming to the rink every day and just getting to compete with these guys. That’s what’s been most special to me.”
Look back on State Journal coverage of Badgers men's hockey games in the 2020-21 season
Read stories from University of Wisconsin men's hockey games in the 2020-21 season.
Bemidji State was the aggressor from the beginning and kept UW from playing the brand of hockey it has used to generate scoring chances.
The Badgers paid for a lackluster effort in the second period as the Gophers beat UW for the first time in six championship-round games.
Cole Caufield scored his 27th goal of the season 6 minutes, 50 seconds into the extra session to send the fifth-ranked Badgers past the Nittany Lions 4-3 on Monday in the Big Ten semifinals.
Cole Caufield scores twice to give the Badgers a 2-1 victory at Michigan State and the Big Ten title on the final day of the regular season.
Robbie Beydoun, playing in his home state, makes 28 saves as the Badgers keep the heat on Minnesota in the chase for the Big Ten title.
If a 7-0 victory against Ohio State at LaBahn Arena was Cole Caufield's last time playing at home for the Badgers, it was the kind of effort UW fans will want to remember him by.
Holloway scored twice on the power play to lead the Badgers past the Buckeyes.
Ty Pelton-Byce scored twice for the Badgers, including the tying goal with 26.8 seconds left after UW let two third-period leads slip away.
Coach Tony Granato went down the lineup in handing out individual laurels for good chances created, hits dished out or composed plays in the defensive zone.
The Badgers erase the sour taste of their largest loss of the season with their first victory at Michigan in their past eight tries.
A four-goal second period by the Wolverines was the difference after the Badgers took the lead.
No. 11 UW is alone atop the conference standings after completing its first series sweep at Minnesota in 12 years with an emphatic 8-1 victory against the second-ranked Golden Gophers.
Cole Caufield broke a tie with seven minutes remaining and Dylan Holloway figured in two goals in the following 2:18 as Wisconsin beat Minnesota 4-1.
Cole Caufield scores two goals for the second straight game and Linus Weissbach records his first three-point game of the season.
Robbie Beydoun stopped 19 shots for his second shutout of the season.
After falling behind 3-0 in the first period, the Badgers couldn't pull all the way back with a late push.
The Badgers scored two power-play goals to win at Penn State for the first time in five tries.
A third-period penalty kill was "probably the biggest five minutes of our season so far," Badgers coach Tony Granato said.
UW freshman Cameron Rowe makes 11 saves for his first shutout.
The Badgers outshot the Gophers but paid the price for turnovers, a slow line change and a bad penalty.
Beydoun made 35 saves as the Badgers knocked off the Gophers in their first game since Dec. 4.
Cameron Rowe made 40 saves in his first collegiate start as the Badgers split a series at the Buckeyes.
The Badgers have lost all three games since four forwards became unavailable due to COVID-19 protocol.
Sophomore Jax Murray scored his first two collegiate goals for the Sun Devils as the Badgers fell to .500.
The Badgers were missing five forwards, one of whom sources said was held out because of a positive COVID-19 test and three others who were close contacts.
Caufield had his second hat trick for the Badgers and Tarek Baker scored a key short-handed goal.
Robbie Beydoun made a career-high 49 saves for the Badgers.
Missing their top two centers, the Badgers nearly emerged with a split against the sixth-ranked Wolverines.
The Wolverines scored three times in the final 5 minutes, 22 seconds of the second period to turn a deficit into a two-goal lead going into the intermission.
Dylan Holloway's third-period goal put the Badgers ahead for good after they lost two-goal and one-goal leads.
Linus Weissbach helped provide the offense and Robbie Beydoun was a stable presence in goal in the Badgers' 2-0 victory over No. 20 Notre Dame.