Meet the Freshmen: Joel Rumpel

Bucky's 5th Quarter's "Meet the Freshmen" series continues tonight with a goalie from Saskatchewan. We've been introducing you to a couple of incoming hockey freshmen every week leading up to the Badgers season opener October 7th versus Northern Michigan at the Kohl Center. We've already featured goalie Landon Peterson, defensemen Patrick Daly and Jake McCabe, and forwards Brendan Woods, Joseph LaBate, Matt Paape, Tyler Lapic and Brad Navin. Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to Joel Rumpel.

Rumpel was featured last in our freshmen previews, and he was featured last for a reason. Without a goalie on the Wisconsin roster with even one minute of college game experience, Rumpel is arguably the most important freshman on the roster.

The 6'3, 180 pound Swift Current native comes to Wisconsin after spending the past two seasons with the Penticton Vees of the British Columbia Hockey League. Rumpel was outstanding for the Vees in a league typically known for it's offense. Rumpel recorded a 27-12-3 record for Penticton a season ago with a 2.53 GAA and a .911 save percentage.

The history of great goaltenders runs deep at the University of Wisconsin and it's a major reason why Rumpel was interested in the program. Of course, it helps that his uncle, former All-American Roy Schultz is one of those great net-minders to come through Madison.

Rumpel was in town for the Camp Randall Hockey Classic and was blown away with what he saw on his visit. In an interview with College Hockey 247 after his visit, Rumpel talked about the outstanding atmosphere in Madison.

"I'd have to say, just everything blew me away."  "The whole environment, the town was into its hockey. I definitely felt like hockey was huge in Madison and that I would be a part of something special. "

"I saw their facilities too, and they were unbelievable. I've never seen anything like that."

Rumpel was courted by Notre Dame and St. Cloud State in addition to Wisconsin but he always knew where he wanted to end up.

"There have been a few other teams - Notre Dame and St. Cloud State - but Wisconsin is the dream school."

Rumpel is a big goaltender and likes to play big. He's been classified as raw by the coaching staff and is working hard to improve his game every day in practice with goalie coach Jeff Sanger.

Here is what head coach Mike Eaves had to say about Rumpel in his weekly press conference:

"Tall, lanky, athletic, good reflexes. I think those are his strengths as he comes in to us."

And Eaves comments after Rumpel signed his letter of intent:

"He brings a nice pedigree related to the Badger family with his uncle, Roy Schultz, who was an All-American goaltender here back in the early 1980s. He’s a really good athlete. He’s a tremendous track and field athlete so he’s got natural physical abilities, and he’s putting those abilities to work in the game of hockey. He’s going to come in next year as a freshman and going to jump right into the pipes and play immediately for us."

Rumpel has been presented with an outstanding opportunity given that it's an open competition for the starting job with Brett Bennett and Scott Gudmandson lost to graduation. Rumpel was anointed the starter in the off-season but fellow freshman Landon Peterson is making a strong push for playing time himself.

It's Thursday of game week and Eaves has yet to announce who's going to be starting in goal for the Badgers this weekend. I still think that Rumpel has the upper hand and the coaching staff is hoping that he's the guy who will get the majority of starts this season. This weekend could be very telling on who the coaching staff feels is most prepared to lead the Badgers between the pipes.

The Joel Rumpel File:

  • Last Team: Penticton Vees (BCHL)
  • Hometown: Swift Current, Saskatchewan
  • Size: 6'3, 180
  • Last Seasons Stats: 27-12-3, 2.53 GAA and a .911 save percentage.
  • Twitter account: @Rumpz91
  • 2011-2012 Prediction: Rumpel is the most talented goaltender on the roster but Peterson may be a step ahead of him in readiness as the seasons is set to begin. Rumpel has the ability to be an outstanding goalie in this league and is only going to get better with experience. In the end I still think he sees the majority of the starts and is on the WCHA All-Freshmen team. 25 GP (12-10-3) with a 3.10 GAA and a .918 save percentage.

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For more Wisconsin hockey coverage, follow Chuck on Twitter (@UWChuckSchwartz)

Chuck can also be reached via e-mail at chuckschwartz@live.com

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