RIVER FALLS, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – Two late goals in the final period helped lift the UW-Eau Claire men's hockey team past ninth-ranked UW-River Falls 3-1 in the first game of a two-game NCHA Quarterfinal series tonight at Hunt Arena.
The Blugolds and Falcons will compete again tomorrow at 7:05 p.m. A win or tie for the Blugolds will send them to an NCHA Semifinal game on Feb. 25 while a loss would send the series into a mini-game to determine which team advances.
In tonight's game, the Blugolds scored the game's first goal as Kurt Weston (Jr.-Roseau, Minn.) found the back of the net at 18:16 in the opening period. Tyler Jundt (Sr.-Williston, N.D.) and Travis Peckskamp (Jr.-Sauk Rapids, Minn.) assisted on the power-play goal.
After The Falcons answered at 11:56 in the second period to tie the game at 1-1, the teams skated even until the final five minutes of the final period.
At 15:48 in the closing period, Jordan Singer (Jr.-Lino Lakes, Minn./Centennial) gave the Blugolds a one-goal lead as he scored with assists from Tyler Romasco (Sr.-Perry, Ohio) and Ross Andersen (Fr.-River Falls, Wis.).
With only 20 seconds remaining on the clock, Weston gave the Blugolds a 3-1 lead as he scored unassisted on an empty net.
The Falcons outshot the Blugolds 30-24 but Brandon Stephenson (Jr.-Saline, Mich.) made 29 saves, playing all 60 minutes in-goal for Eau Claire.
The win over River Falls is just the Blugolds' second in NCHA post-season history as they now have a 2-13 all-time record against the Falcons. Eau Claire improves to 12-11-3 on the season while River Falls drops to 16-8-2.