MENOMONIE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) - The UW-Eau Claire men's hockey team scored a big conference win over adversary and 13th-ranked UW-Stout tonight, never relinquishing the lead in a 4-3 victory.
The Blugolds jumped out to a three-goal lead in the first and second periods. Bryce Wilcox (So.-Rochester, Minn./Century), assisted by Andrew Wilcox (Jr.-Rochester, Minn./Century), recorded his first goal of the season on a power play eight minutes into the game. Jordan Singer (So.-Lino Lakes, Minn./Centennial) and later Brian Nehring (Fr.-Hopedale, Mass./Milford) found the back of the Blue Devil net in the second period to give Eau Claire the big 3-0 advantage.
But Stout ended the shutout in the final period. Just 24 seconds into play, the Blue Devils snuck a goal into the Eau Claire net and tallied another score before the midway point to close to within one of the Blugolds.
With four minutes remaining, Kurt Weston (So.-Roseau, Minn.) padded the Blugold cushion heading into the final minutes of competition. The goal came just in time, as Stout managed another score, but couldn't overcome the early deficit. Weston's goal prevented the tie, and Eau Claire picked up the 4-3 win.
En route to the victory, goalie Brandon Stephenson (So.-Saline, Mich.) picked up the win by playing all 60 minutes of competition and making a total of 25 saves during the game. Eau Claire outshot the Blue Devils 37-28 and also converted one of its two power play opportunities, whereas Stout failed to score on any of its five chances.
The victory marks the fifth time this season the Blugolds have defeated a ranked opponent. The win also boosts Eau Claire to 6-4 overall and 2-3 in the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association. Stout drops to 7-4 overall and 4-3 in the conference.
Tomorrow night, the Blugolds bring the battle against Stout back to Hobbs Ice Center. The game is set to begin at 7 p.m.