Young Badgers to rely on senior goaltenders

first_imgUW goaltender Scott Gudmandson will be counted on to anchor a young men\’s hockey team this season.[/media-credit]Mike Eaves lost a lot at the end of last season. The Wisconsin men’s hockey team said goodbye to 345 points produced by 12 players. Seven senior forwards graduated. The guy the players elected as the team’s next captain was one of four underclassmen to leave for the pros early.What’s a head coach to do?Well, as some guy from New Jersey said, you’ve got to hold on to what you’ve got. And in Eaves’ case, that’s two senior goaltenders.Prior to last weekend’s season-opening tournament in St. Louis, Eaves said the Badgers would need to lean on returning senior netminders Scott Gudmandson and Brett Bennett. With 10 freshmen joining the team, Wisconsin wasn’t sure what it was going to get on the offensive side of the puck. It’s too early to say the nine goals UW scored in its two games will allay those worries.“I think coming into the season, we knew that we were going to be a little more defensive-oriented team,” Gudmandson said.Still, young guys will make mistakes. Eaves is hoping the veterans in goal will steady the team when those issues arise.“I think with their experience and their ability to play, they’ll be able to cover up some of the young mistakes we’re going to make,” he said. “That helps us grow as a team, it’s always easier to grow when you don’t get burned on some of the mistakes you do. So hopefully they’ll be able to do that, and this weekend was a pretty good indication.”Entering last season, it was an open competition between Gudmandson and Bennett, a transfer from Boston University. This season, it’s much the same, with Gudmandson getting the start in Friday night’s 4-3 loss and Bennett posting a shutout in UW’s 6-0 win over Holy Cross.Eaves has no problem not having a de facto No. 1 goaltender, praising the efforts of both his netminders.“”They both won big games last year, no question,” Eaves said. “We forget that Brett beat Denver, beat Minnesota.”Last season, Gudmandson was able to take over the starting job, due to Bennett going down with a shoulder injury in December. Gudmandson would get the larger share of starts after the injury, eventually pulling away and becoming the Badgers’ No. 1 guy.While Bennett beat No. 1 Denver in January, making 30 saves in the 4-3 win, he also was pulled in a game against Minnesota-Duluth for allowing two goals in the first 3:12 of play. He didn’t look the same after the injury.“If I had my brace here, I’d let you wear it and you can tell me (how it affected me),” Benentt said. “It’s one of those things where you’ve got to fight through it. You never ever use that as any kind of excuse. I’m just glad to be healthy and looking forward to this season.”Wisconsin rode Gudmandson all through the playoffs, eventually making the national title game. But with a healthy Bennett back in the fold, Eaves wants both his goaltenders to anchor his team.“Last year, it was healthy competition; it brought out the best in both of us,” Gudmandson said. “Hopefully it will do the same again. I know we both want to be that starting guy, I know for sure I want that to be my net. I really don’t want to share it. But I can only control what I can control.”The duo’s numbers last season were good, but not staggering; Gudmandson finished 20-5-4 on the season with a 2.34 goals-against average, while Bennett went 8-6, with a 2.82 GAA. By comparison, 2010 WCHA player of the year Marc Cheverie had a 2.08 GAA and six shutouts for Denver.Many critics pointed to Wisconsin’s goaltending as the one weakness in the 2009-2010 team, especially during its NCAA run. But the experience Gudmandson and Bennett gained last year is crucial in fueling the expectations of the two this season.“You can’t put a price on that,” Eaves said. “That’s why it’s important they play well for us, because that will help us get off to the kind of start that will help us in the long run.”“I think it’s huge,” Gudmandson agreed. “You can’t take experience away; it’s something that’s invaluable.”And with experience comes confidence. Last year, the confidence came from an explosive offense that was shut out just three times and one of the most talented defensive corps in the nation.This season, that confidence might have to start at the other end of the ice. With a young team, it will be up to the guys trying to stop goals to keep the Badgers on course.“I think confidence for a goaltender is like for a quarterback in football. The whole team, they have to have confidence in the quarterback in football, and if they don’t, things are going to break down, Gudmandson said. “It’s the same thing in hockey, the whole team’s got to have confidence in the goalie, they’ve got to know he’s going to make saves back there, otherwise things are going to break down up front.”Serving as the go-to guys this season doesn’t faze either goaltender. While the Badgers’ offense was able to mask any deficiencies in net by scoring four goals a game last season, it could be very different this year.But that’s just fine by the both of them.“Me and Scott talked about it. We know that we’re going to have to be really important to this team if we’re going to do something special this year,” Bennett said. “We’re ready to shoulder the load.”last_img read more

ASSENE-LABOREX Supports Healthcare, Education, Rugby in Kano

first_imgBy Bennett OghifoA ssene-Laborex Limited, a pharmaceutical business division of CFAO Nigeria plc, a subsidiary of Eurapharma, and part of the CFAO- Toyota Tsusho Corporation have supported Kano State youths in the areas of healthcare, education and rugby sport.The Managing Director, Assene-Laborex Limited, Paul Hogan disclosed this during the 3rd annual iTry Schools Rugby Tournament at the Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano. Scholarship sponsorship through CFAO Solidarite and administered by the British Council, was donated to support members of the winning teams in their education, whilst offering free genotype screening to many adults at the event, using the company’s new product called BioMedomics Sickle Scan™.BioMedomics Sickle Scan™ rapidly and accurately determines haemoglobin variants (genotypes) in less than five minutes. This novel product can also be used for new born screening i.e. at birth, which is currently unavailable in sub-Saharan Africa. Toyota Tsusho South Africa represented by Mr. Marc Thomson & Mr. Ian Govender were also major sponsors of the event. NIPEN’s BiC, a subsidiary of CFAO Nigeria was also an active sponsor of the event. Ade Adebisi, a former England International rugby player who is living with Sickle Cell Anaemia (SCD) was also there as brand ambassador to coach and motivate the youth’s that they can achieve their dreams even with SCD. During the company’s courtesy calls on the Emir of Kano, His Highness, Alhaji Muhammad Sanusi and the Acting Governor of Kano State, Prof. Afiz Abubakar, Mr. Hogan reiterated the company’s determination to continue supporting youth awareness in the State regarding sickle cell anaemia and knowing their genotype early in order to live active, healthy and successful lives.Speaking at this exciting event, the Acting Governor, Prof. Afiz Abubakar thanked Assene-Laborex for supporting the event and called on other organizations, institutions and individuals to emulate the company’s commitment.The Grand Patron of Kano State Youth Rugby Championship, the Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II, in his remarks, thanked Assene-Laborex f§/.;;/;/’№?|?”|”?;”\or their support. He described sports as one of the critical developmental activities that engender peace and unity amongst the citizens and stated that couples considering marriage should be very aware of their genotype beforehand, and more stem cell transplant should be supported. His Highness, the Emir of Kano and His Excellency, the Acting Governor of Kano State received traditional South African mementoes from Mr. Marc Thomson.Thirty-six teams, 800 boys and girls aged 12-18 from schools, communities and clubs participated with Barewa Rugby Club, Kano, emerging overall winner. Mr. Martin Knox Crawford, a passionate rugby lover, initiated youth Rugby Championship in Nigeria as a resident of Kano for many years who coaching youths daily at the racecourse in Kano.For more information on Sickle Scan™ follow these links: and Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin @sicklescan.ngShare this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more