Blue liner Goloubef gets offensive in 1st year with Badgers

first_imgBEN CLASSON/Herald photoWisconsin men’s hockey head coach Mike Eaves described freshman Cody Goloubef as an “offensive type of defenseman.”And Gouloubef thinks the title fits. “I think that’s a fair title,” Goloubef said. “I’m the [defenseman] that’s going to make the first pass out of the zone every time, likes to jump up into the rush and fool around with the puck at the blue line.”Through his first six games as a Badger, the freshman blue liner has notched four points, including his first collegiate goal in Wisconsin’s 4-2 victory over WCHA foe Michigan Tech. He’s also recorded three assists, including one in the team’s first game of the season.”He’s got a big shot and has the offensive instincts as a defenseman,” Eaves said. “He’s playing to his strength, and that’s good right now.”Added forward Ben Street: “He seems to have a nose for the net. He’s out buzzing around there, but he’s never really out of position, which is a big thing.”Goloubef’s name wasn’t in the mix in the preseason hype when looking at the team’s incoming freshmen. Fellow defensemen Brendan Smith and Ryan McDonagh, as well as forward Kyle Turris, earned all the praise after each were selected in the first round of the NHL Draft.But playing alongside the pro prospects on defense has allowed Goloubef to learn a few things of his own along the way.”I just kind of play my game and if I see anything that they’re doing that works, I try that out,” he said. “They’re both first-round picks, so they know what they’re doing.”After eight games, Goloubef has been right there with the other freshmen defensemen in the scoring category. Smith has eight points on two goals and six assists, and McDonagh has collected two goals and an assist thus far.”They’re young, and they’ve been doing a good job with listening and learning quick,” senior defenseman Kyle Klubertanz said of his first year teammates. “They’re all mature, no matter what their age says.”Goloubef, at 17, is the youngest Wisconsin player. That youth has not translated into inexperience, however, as Klubertanz points out.”He’s the youngest kid on the team, but he’s mature beyond his years, for sure,” Klubertanz said. “He knows the game; he loves the game.”While Goloubef is pleased with his offensive production so far, he admitted he wouldn’t mind seeing his scoring numbers increase.”I’d like to bump that up a little more,” Goloubef said. “A couple more scoring opportunities wouldn’t hurt. We’ll try and keep that going, but it’s not too much on my mind. I just want to play solid and the points will come.”Every little bit Goloubef and the other defensemen can produce on offense takes some of the pressure off the forwards.”It takes a bit off of us, for sure,” Street said. “It’s great to have those guys helping us out. … It gives you a different threat and makes it a little harder for the teams to defend us, too, when they know that those guys are jumping up and that those guys can make the plays to get the goal.”For all the young players, the WCHA season has been a tough adjustment. Goloubef picked up an assist on the lone goal in Saturday’s 3-1 loss to the Sioux, and noted the difference in difficulty from the team’s early nonconference games.”It was a lot more intense, a lot more physical, a lot quicker, (and) a lot more skilled,” Goloubef said. Eaves called the maturity level of the UW freshmen as a “process,” noting the game against the Huskies was their first real test.”I think against Michigan Tech was a real eye-opener,” Eaves said. “Now they’ve played against a WCHA opponent and the different level that was compared to our first four games. …Their learning curve is still pretty steep right now.”The majority of the schedule is still ahead for Wisconsin so Goloubef and the rest of the freshmen will have plenty of opportunities to learn from the competitive play of the WCHA as the season progresses.”They’ve got a lot of questions because they want to know the right things to do,” Klubertanz said. “We don’t always have the answers, but we help them as much as possible. We’re just there to point them in the right direction.”last_img

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