A Good Read

Ben Street thought that winning a national championship was the normal every season at Wisconsin. After a challenging three seasons that followed his triumph in 2006, Street is back at the Frozen Four, and has a chance to join an elite fraternity.

DETROIT - Ben Street's attitude is right on the par with the rest of the members of the University of Wisconsin. Nobody is thinking about individual accomplishments, NHL contracts or what's next.

All the 27 members are thinking about are all the runs up Bascom Hill, the sprints up stadium stairs and the hours put in to give Wisconsin a chance at its second national title in the last five seasons and seventh in the program history.

"We keep pushing because we know what it takes," Street said. "We want to do it for each other. Nobody is thinking about anything right now except winning the next two games."

Should Wisconsin get past RIT tomorrow here at Ford Field and defeat the winner between Boston College and Miami (Ohio) Saturday evening, the Badgers would earn their seventh national title as a program.

From an individual perspective, Street would bookend an illustrious five-year career with a pair of championship rings, joining Badgers greats Steve Alley and John Taft in 1973 and 77 and a group of 12 players that won two titles in 1981 and 83.

Although he's not one for nostalgia or personal reflection, Street acknowledges that being apart of that fraternity is something to boast about.

"That would be pretty cool," said Street. "It would be a fitting way to bookend my college career. It would be pretty special to be in the same group with those guys and have the opportunity to do it."

The journey, as anyone who knows the senior tri-captain can attest, was a fitting one, full of ups and downs, roadblocks and success.

Coming from the British Columbia Hockey League to Wisconsin, Street fit right in on an upperclassmen team as a third-line center. He scored in his first career game and was one of six Badgers, and the only rookie, to skate in all 43 games, he never took a penalty and his 10 goals made him one of six Badgers to score in double figures, making the championship season even more special.

"Coming in as a freshman, all I knew was winning the national championship," Street said. "It was awesome, but I don't think you appreciate it until you've been through the battles of everything else."

The battles for Street would wage on for the next three seasons. He equaled his production with 10 goals during his sophomore season, but Wisconsin missed the national tournament after sagging during the second half of the season.

"We had just won a national championship, we had a good team and we underachieved pretty hard," Street said. "It's just one of those things where it's like, "What it this? This isn't right? We're supposed to be in it every year." That was a long summer."

Street shared the team lead with 13 goals his junior year, tied for second on the team with 30 points and led the team with four game-winning goals. Wisconsin made it into the playoffs, albeit with a sub.500 record under the old tournament selection process, and was eliminated in overtime in the regional final at the Kohl Center.

A year later, Street was a co-captain, but watched all but four games from the sideline after tearing his ACL on a fluky hit along the boards in Denver.

"It was real emotional for me," said Street. "I had no idea what was going to happen or what my future was going to hold."

A full exhausting recovery later, Street – an undrafted NHL free agent – has put himself in position to chase his dream into the professional ranks. His 14 goals are fourth best on the team and his 29 points are sixth.

He is the only current player to have four 100-shot seasons, to have played alongside three 20-goal scorers and to have beaten all four Big Ten Conference opponents in his career.

After five seasons, Street has won a title, missed the tournament, played on a sub.500 team that lost in the regional final and missed most of his season with an ACL.

How ironic that the injury allowed him to return and be part of Wisconsin's most veteran squad since Street's freshman year, another twist of irony that could make a fitting conclusion to a stellar career.

"It's been weird," Street said with a smile. "If you ask anyone who knows me, it wouldn't be proper unless it was like this. I've been everywhere, and that's what makes it that much more special this time around."

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