After leaving Boston University last fall, goalie Brett Bennett didn’t know where he wanted to next play. A fifth-round pick of the Coyotes in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, Bennett decided to play for the Indiana Ice of the United States Hockey League.
“I never played in the league before and I kind of wasn’t sure what it was about,” Bennett said. “I got there and (Head Coach Jeff Blashill) took me under his wing.”
Bennett’s journey into the USHL concluded with the first league championship for Indiana, which defeated the Fargo Force three games to one in the Clark Cup Finals.
“When you win a championship, it’s great,” Bennett said. “Coach Blashill is a goalie guy. He taught me a lot throughout the course of the season. Winning any championship is hard. It’s awesome to win it with my teammates.”
Night in and night out, Blashill called upon Bennett, who accumulated a league-high 3,110 minutes during the regular season and 35 victories.
“Brett did a great job for us all season,” said Blashill, the Ice’s first-year coach. “Brett's great play early gave our team a lot of confidence helping us to a very good record early in the season. Brett stayed consistent all year and raised his game to a new level in the playoffs. Brett was a huge reason we are Clark Cup Champions.”
The grind of the regular season didn’t get to Bennett in the postseason. Bennett finished the finals with a 1.25 goals-against average and a .955 save percentage.
“I worked on my consistency all season as I was playing basically every night except a handful of games,” Bennett said. “The grind of the schedule was the toughest part, especially the back-to-back-to-back games. Traveling with the Ice is hard with the 12- to 16-hour bus rides. I was also taking a full load of classes to keep me eligible to transfer.”
Bennett will join the University of Wisconsin program next season.
“It’s definitely one of those storied programs,” Bennett said. “It will just be another chapter. You’ve got to move on and get ready for the next season. I have a few buddies on the team. It’s a first-class program.”