Purdue claims the title of Quarterback University, Illinois says they are Linebacker University, and I say Wisconsin is Goaltender University.
In order to try and give a little perspective on how good Badger goaltending has been over the years, I decided to do a breakdown of the goaltenders for the 1970s, '80s, '90s and 2000 decades. Those four decades also cover Wisconsin’s six championships.
All the goalies listed below played more then 50 games except Curtis Joseph. His inclusion on this list will become very apparent later in the blog.
In addition to convincing you that the Badgers deserve the title, I also decided to offer you a challenge. Using the information below, why don’t you pick your top two goaltenders from each decade and then select the one goalie you would put in the nets for the championship game. Good luck. (Especially for picking only two in the 1980s).
I fully understand that it may not be fair to compare different decades because hockey has changed a lot over the years. There are more teams now; the talent level of the Badger teams and the competition are different. The style of play, the size of some rinks, players leaving early, and the equipment have all changed over the years.
1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s
Julian Baretta Dean Anderson Jim Carey Bernd Bruckler
Mike Dibble Marc Behrend Kirk Daubenspeck Brain Elliott
Jim Makey Duane Derkson Graham Melanson Scott Kabotoff
Dick Perkins Terry Kleisinger
Roy Schultz Mike Richter
Listed below are the top 10 Badger goaltenders in the following categories.
Most Victories Top save % Goals Against Ave Total Games
Melanson 81 Elliott 93.1 Elliott 1.78 Melanson 140
Derkson 80 Joseph 91.9 Bruckler 2.48 Derkson 129
Anderson 68 Bruckler 91.6 Joseph 2.49 Daubenspeck 121
Daubenspeck 55 Behrend 91.2 Behrend 2.64 Bruckler 114
Baretta 51 Melanson 91.0 Melanson 2.80 Anderson 110
Bruckler 51 Thomas 90.9 Thomas 2.84 Dibble 95
Elliott 50 Kabotoff 90.2 Vroman 3.05 Baretta 86
Dibble 50 Carey 90.1 Carey 3.05 Elliott 86
Behrend 49 Perkins 90.0 Valley 3.49 Kleisinger 86
Kleisinger 47 Valley 89.9 Kabotoff 3.26 Behrend 60
Now let’s get down to the brass tax of proving that Wisconsin is Goaltender University.
Let’s start with the fact that the Badgers have had 4 First Team All Americans. They include Julian Baretta in 1977, Roy Schultz in 1980, Bernd Bruckler in 2004 and Brian Elliott in 2006.
The Badgers also had 4 Second Team All Americans including Dean Anderson in 1988, Curtis Joseph in 1989, Duane Derkson in 1992, and Kirk Daubenspeck in 1997.
Missing from that impressive list is Mike Richter and Marc Behrend.
After leaving Wisconsin Richter went on to play 15 years in the NHL with the New York Rangers. During that time he played in more then 630 games, set 13 regular and post season Ranger records, had his jersey retired, and won a Stanley Cup Championship in 1984.
Marc Behrend allowed just two goals in two NCAA Championship games to help the Badgers win titles in 81-83. Behrend set the Wisconsin single season win percentage record of 92.1% with a 17-1-1- record. For his career Marc was 41 games over 500 which also lead’s Wisconsin goalies. Duane Derskon was next at 40 games over 500.
When you check to see how the Badgers ranked in the WCHA lets start with Curtis Joseph. To this day Curtis is the only player in the league history to be named WCHA – MVP, Player of the Year, and the WCHA Rookie of the Year in the same season.
Joseph left the Badger program after one year to move on to the NHL. He is still playing about 20 years later. He has been in goal for more then a 1,000 games while playing for St. Louis, Edmonton, Detroit, Phoenix, Calgary, and is still active with Toronto in his second go around with the Maple Leafs.
Wisconsin goaltenders also hold other WCHA records including Brian Elliott 1.94 goals against average in league play, lowest goals against average in all games at 1.78, best winning % for all games at 93.1, tied for first in career shutouts, and still holds the most consecutive scoreless minutes all games 269.51 minutes.
Dean Anderson still holds the league records for most games played in the WCHA in one season with 35, and he is also listed as the leader in total minutes played in league play and overall minutes played in a season.
Still not convinced that Wisconsin is “Goaltender University”
OK here is one more reason. Since 1969 when Wisconsin joined the WCHA no school in the country has won more championships then the Badgers.
You don’t win championships without great goaltending. Case closed.