EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) - The UW-Eau Claire men's hockey team had the opportunity to complete the season sweep of rival UW-Stout, but was instead shutout by the Blue Devils 2-0 tonight at Hobbs Ice Center.
After defeating the Blue Devils 4-3 and 5-2 early last December, the Blugolds were in position to win all regular season events against Stout for the first time since the 1999-2000 season. But the Blue Devils had other plans, and a goal 13:39 into the second period put Stout ahead by one.
Eau Claire repeatedly fired away at the Stout goal, and heavily outshot the Blue Devils 48-27. The Blugolds' 48 shots was the second highest total on the season, trailing only the 5-2 opening victory against Lawrence University. Despite the multitude of attempts, Eau Claire couldn't find the back of the net. Time ran out for the Blugolds, and Stout sealed the game with an empty net goal with 28 seconds remaining.
Brandon Stephenson (So.-Saline, Mich.) defended the Blugold net for all but 28 seconds and made 25 saves. The loss drops Eau Claire to 12-9-1 overall and 6-8-1 in Northern Collegiate Hockey Association play. After tonight, Stout remains a step ahead of the Blugolds in the conference standings with a new 8-7 NCHA record.
This Saturday, the Blugolds will return to action when they host UW-River Falls. Game time is set for 7 p.m. at the Hobbs Ice Center.