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Geoffrion, Preds Prospects Star in NCAA Match-Up

by Jay Levin / Nashville Predators
Four Preds college prospects went head-to-head this weekend when University of Wisconsin hosted University of Minnesota in the first two games of the annual border battle. After a summer of trash-talking, the Preds prospects didn't dissapoint combining to score four goals (including a game-winner) and 10 points in the two games.

 Preds Prospects Take Part in Top NCAA Rivalry
Wisconsin took the series opener on Friday night, 4-2, as senior captain Blake Geoffrion, a second round pick by the Preds in the 2006 Entry Draft, scored twice -- both goals coming off assists from freshman Craig Smith, a fourth round pick by the Preds in this summer's draft. Geoffrion, who finished with a game-high seven shots on goal, opened the scoring just 24 seconds into the game and then netted the eventual game-winner in the second period.

Freshman Zach Budish, a second round pick by the Preds in this summer's draft, ensured Minnesota walked away with a weekend split by recording a three-point night in the Saturday series finale. Budish assisted on the game's opening goal just 1:24 into the first period and then added a tally of his own a few shifts later to push the score to 2-0, before closing out the game's scoring with an empty netter with 1:01 remaining in the game. Geoffrion and Smith, integral to Wisconsin's Friday night win, continued to produce for the Badgers on Saturday. The combined to assist on Wisconsin's first goal of the game and Smith added his fourth point of the series with another helper on UW's second goal.

Geoffrion and Smith have been key components to the Wisconsin offense this season. In Conference play, Geoffrion ranks second in the WCHA with five goals (in five games), while Smith ranks tied for third with six assists (also in five games) and second in freshman scoring with six points (just one point shy of the freshman scoring lead). Budish, after missing most of his high school season in '08-09 to a knee injury, is rounding back into game shape with four points in eight WCHA games, while Ryan Flynn -- the lone Preds prospect to miss out on the scoresheet this weekend -- has provided solid two-way play for Gophers this season.
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