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Have pads, will travel: Former Badgers goalie Robbie Beydoun wins twice in weekend journey through levels of minor league hockey
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UW MEN'S HOCKEY

Have pads, will travel: Former Badgers goalie Robbie Beydoun wins twice in weekend journey through levels of minor league hockey

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Robbie Beydoun save

Badgers goalie Robbie Beydoun makes one of his 29 saves in Saturday's victory over Notre Dame.

Robbie Beydoun was correct in his feeling that a promotion to the second tier of North American pro hockey was going to be a brief one.

Here's what the former University of Wisconsin goalie didn't know ahead of time:

• The ECHL team that loaned him out for a weekend series in the American Hockey League wanted him back Sunday to play a second game less than 18 hours after the first one ended.

• There weren't any available hotel rooms where he looked to stop off overnight for a few hours on his drive to game No. 2.

• His game back in the ECHL with Fort Wayne on Sunday was going to end up in overtime.

All of it added to what is becoming a compelling tale of Beydoun's first few weeks in pro hockey.

"It'll be a story that I'll be telling for the rest of my life," he said Monday.

Beydoun won his AHL debut with the Iowa Wild on Saturday night, making 25 saves in a 5-2 victory against the host Chicago Wolves to earn first-star honors. He backed up another former UW netminder, Joel Rumpel, in Friday's game after finishing a three-day quarantine after his call-up from the ECHL's Fort Wayne Komets.

Goalies are a valuable commodity in minor league hockey but they have to be willing to pick up and move quickly when and where the next opportunity comes calling. That was late Saturday night in Chicago for Beydoun, who found out that his time in the top minor league AHL was over and the Komets were hoping he could play in a game at Indianapolis that was scheduled to start at 4:05 p.m. Eastern on Sunday.

"I said, 'You know what, I'll start driving over there,'" Beydoun said. "I figured it would add to the cool story it's been so far playing pro. It was wild."

One of the Komets coaches told him to drive part of the way, find a hotel for a few hours and then finish the drive Sunday morning. None of the hotels at which Beydoun stopped had an open room, so he pushed on and got to the team hotel around 4:30 a.m.

He was on the ice again less than 12 hours later with pads that barely had time to dry from the night before. He gave up four goals but Fort Wayne rallied from a two-goal deficit to win six minutes into a seven-minute overtime session.

"It was a really cool experience and something that I'll be cherishing for a while, playing in two different leagues in less than 24 hours," Beydoun said. "Luckily, I was able to get a couple wins. It'll be a really cool memory, for sure."

A look at former University of Wisconsin men's hockey players who have appeared in an NHL game during the 2020-21 season through April 28.

Beydoun's travels and results were part of a memorable weekend for former Badgers players.

Cole Caufield scored his first NHL goal in overtime to give the Montreal Canadiens a 3-2 home victory against Ottawa on Saturday.

The Hobey Baker Award winner was the 66th former UW skater to score an NHL goal but only the second to get his first in overtime. The other was defenseman Jamie McBain, who scored for Carolina on March 20, 2010, to defeat Marc-Andre Fleury and Pittsburgh.

"(Your first NHL goal) is something you always dream about as a kid," Caufield told reporters after the game, "but to have a moment like that, it's pretty unbelievable."

Caufield joined former Badgers players K'Andre Miller, Trent Frederic and Wyatt Kalynuk in scoring for the first time in the NHL this season. It's only the third time that four former UW players recorded NHL goal No. 1 in the same season. The others were 1979-80 (Craig Norwich, Mike Eaves, Steve Alley, Mark Johnson) and 2007-08 (Andy Wozniewski, Jake Dowell, Jack Skille, Adam Burish).

Former Madison La Follette and Badgers forward Craig Smith scored his second NHL hat trick Saturday in Boston's 6-2 victory against the Don Granato-coached Buffalo Sabres.

"It was cool seeing the hats flying," Smith told reporters. "I don't see it very often for myself."

Beydoun is 5-0 in his five pro starts with a .930 save percentage and a 1.97 goals-against average. He opened his pro career with a shutout for Fort Wayne, just like he did for the Badgers last November after he arrived as a graduate transfer from Michigan Tech.

The market for pro goaltenders is difficult to crack with veterans and newcomers jousting for a limited number of openings. Making a good first impression like Beydoun is doing can be helpful.

"I'm just trying to prove that I can lead a team at this level, no matter what league it's in," he said. "I just want to prove that I can give a team a chance to win every single night. I'm just going to keep having fun doing that. That's been my No. 1 priority this whole time I've been playing pro, realizing that having a job where you play a game and stop pucks, it's a privilege. I'm really lucky to be doing it."

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.

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Bemidji State was the aggressor from the beginning and kept UW from playing the brand of hockey it has used to generate scoring chances.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Holloway scored twice on the power play to lead the Badgers past the Buckeyes.

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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.

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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.

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The Badgers erase the sour taste of their largest loss of the season with their first victory at Michigan in their past eight tries.

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A four-goal second period by the Wolverines was the difference after the Badgers took the lead.

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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.

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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.

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Cole Caufield scores two goals for the second straight game and Linus Weissbach records his first three-point game of the season.

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Robbie Beydoun stopped 19 shots for his second shutout of the season.

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After falling behind 3-0 in the first period, the Badgers couldn't pull all the way back with a late push.

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The Badgers scored two power-play goals to win at Penn State for the first time in five tries.

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A third-period penalty kill was "probably the biggest five minutes of our season so far," Badgers coach Tony Granato said.

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UW freshman Cameron Rowe makes 11 saves for his first shutout.

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The Badgers outshot the Gophers but paid the price for turnovers, a slow line change and a bad penalty.

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Beydoun made 35 saves as the Badgers knocked off the Gophers in their first game since Dec. 4.

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Cameron Rowe made 40 saves in his first collegiate start as the Badgers split a series at the Buckeyes.

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The Badgers have lost all three games since four forwards became unavailable due to COVID-19 protocol.

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Sophomore Jax Murray scored his first two collegiate goals for the Sun Devils as the Badgers fell to .500.

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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.

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Caufield had his second hat trick for the Badgers and Tarek Baker scored a key short-handed goal.

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Robbie Beydoun made a career-high 49 saves for the Badgers.

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Missing their top two centers, the Badgers nearly emerged with a split against the sixth-ranked Wolverines.

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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.

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Dylan Holloway's third-period goal put the Badgers ahead for good after they lost two-goal and one-goal leads.

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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.

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