Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Badgers Close In On Canadian Goalie

The crystal ball is becoming very clear in regards to the Badgers pursuit of goaltenders to eventually replace juniors Brett Bennett and Scott Gudmandson.

There has been rampant speculation over the past year on what the Badgers would eventually do with two goalies graduating in the same year. While we still don't know exactly what the Badgers plans are, it looks like they are on the verge of locking up one goalie from north of the border very soon.

Joel Rumpel, a goaltender from the Penticton Vees of the British Columbia hockey leage is scheduled to visit the Wisconsin campus this weekend according to Badger beat writer Andy Baggot.

Rumpel is an 18 year old who has burst onto the scene after limited playing time to start the season. Through 21 games, the nephew of Roy Schultz (All American for Bucky in 1980) is second in the BCHL in both GAA (1.86) and Save percentage (9.24). Those are impressive numbers for a goalie considering the BCHL is considered a wide open offensive style junior league.

From the Baggot article, "He's been outstanding since day one,'' Fred Harbinson (Penticton head coach) said of Rumpel, who's listed at 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds. "He's very technically sound and he has a bit of a calmness that settles everyone down.''

Rivals new hockey website College Hockey 247 also talked with Rumpel. Rumpel has been in contact with other colleges but it's clear that he kid is destined to be a Badger. "There have been a few other teams - Notre Dame and St. Cloud State - but Wisconsin is the dream school," he said. "This will be my first-ever visit to a college team so I want to see their hockey environment, tour their campus, get a feel for their coaches, but I've really grown up hearing all about Wisconsin from my uncle and if everything goes well, I think I could [commit]."

Rumple who describes himself as a big bodied goaltender that can cover the net, could step in and immediately make an impact in 2011.

"There hasn't even been an official offer yet," he said. "But this is crazy. A few years ago, I never thought I'd be in this position. You grow up in Saskatchewan and you never think ? but my uncle showed me this whole other world and told me I should definitely think about college because it was so rewarding for him."

Check back over the weekend to see if we have a new goalie in the fold.