DE PERE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) - While the UW-Eau Claire men's hockey team found itself down 3-0 early in the second period, the Blugolds scored twice to make it a close contest despite falling 3-2 to No. 1-ranked St. Norbert College at Conerstone Center tonight.
St. Norbert scored at 2:31 in the first period and again less than five minutes later. Up 2-0, the Green Knights added another goal 42 seconds into the second period.
But the Blugolds didn't count themselves out and put a puck in the net at 16:32 in the second to get back to within two. Jon Waggoner (Fr.-Fairbanks, Alaska/Lathrop) scored the goal on assists from Eric OHearn (So.-Traverse City, Mich./Central) and Jimmy McCusker (Fr.-Novi, Mich./Novi ).
The score remained unchanged the majority of way after that, but late in the third, with less than a minute to play, Isaiah Bennis (So.-Eau Claire, Wis./Memorial) scored to get the Blugolds within one. The goal came short-handed but the Blugolds had an extra-attacker on the ice as they pulled their goalie late in the period. Eau Claire also had another great opportunity to score again before the buzzer but was unable to convert.
Eau Claire finished outshooting St. Norbert 28-18. While Brandon Stephenson (So.-Saline, Mich.) started the game in-goal, he was pulled after giving up two early goals. Scott Pederson (Jr.-Lake Villa, Ill./Grayslake) came in to play the rest of the game and was credited the loss while saving 15 shots.
The Blugolds fall to 10-7 overall and 4-6 in NCHA play. St. Norbert improves to 15-2 on the season and 9-1 in the conference.
The Blugolds will be on the road again next weekend when they travel to Duluth, Minn. for a two-game series against St. Scholastica. The series will kick off Friday at 7 p.m.