Gundmandson gets 1st shoutout

first_imgJEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald file photoScott Gudmandson had every right to lose a bit of confidence earlier this season.After surrendering 12 goals in his first two starts — a 5-1 loss to New Hampshire and a 7-4 drubbing at the hands of Denver — the sophomore goaltender had looked anything but solid for the Badgers.But anyone watching Gudmandson Saturday night against Michigan Tech would have never known about his early struggles as he earned his first career shutout by stopping all 34 shots the Huskies threw at him while the Badgers swept the series with a 6-0 victory.“Something that’s always going to be in the back of my mind is giving up 12 goals in two games,” Gudmandson said. “I worked with (goalie coach) Mike Valley a lot, and we had quite a few talks about what I need to do to get that out of my head.”Whatever Valley told the Alberta, Canada native, it must have worked.Gudmandson — the backup to senior Shane Connelly — never looked rattled against the Huskies, directing pucks away from the net and making a few nice glove saves in the shutout effort. It helped when his team got on the board first as junior captain Blake Geoffrion put UW up 1-0 late in the first period.“It’s great when your team scores first,” Gudmandson said. “You’ve got something to lay back on.”“It takes a little pressure off,” Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves said of the first goal. “But you could tell right away he was sharp. He was quick, which is his strength. He was taking space away with his body. … I’m sure getting a goal is like, ‘OK, I don’t have to be perfect now.’”It appeared that the Huskies had tied things up early in the second period when senior forward Justin St. Louis poked a loose puck past Gudmandson. But play had been whistled dead by officials before St. Louis’ shot found the net, keeping the game at 1-0 in favor of Gudmandson and the Badgers.“There’s always turning points in the game, and that very well could have been one of them,” Eaves said.The near-goal didn’t seem to affect Gudmandson, as he continued to stand on his head for the Badgers. The Huskies peppered him with 17 shots in the second period, all of which he turned away.Simply put, it was a different goaltender than Eaves saw earlier in the season.“When he started in New Hampshire, he was really good in the first period. He was good, and I think he’s such a perfectionist. It’s something that a lot of athletes have to learn to deal with and let it go,” Eaves said. “When one goes in, you let it go. You get ready for the next shot. Hopefully tonight was a big boost for confidence in that area for him.”Gudmandson was also aided by the defensive corps in front of him — a group that had allowed five or more goals in five of its first six games. Saturday night, they limited Michigan Tech to 34 shots and were 6-for-6 on the penalty kill.“I think all of our players — that’s where we want to start with them — we want them to do what they do best,” Eaves said. “For our defensive corps, they’re a very talented group of people. Now what’s growing is the fact that they’re learning that without the puck [they should] take time and space away, and shut things down and do some of the simple things that will make their overall game as good as it is [on offense].”As the game clock in the Kohl Center neared zero in the third period, Gudmandson naturally had one eye on the time as he approached his first shutout.“Obviously, that’s in the back of your mind,” Gudmandson said. “It’s my first career shutout and it’s something that’s going to be in the back of my head. But I’m trying my hardest out there to not even think about it. I just want to play and get the ‘W.’”last_img

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