February 25, 2012

Men's Hockey Narrowly Falls to Nationally-Ranked St. Norbert

GREEN BAY, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – The UW-Eau Claire men's hockey team fell just short 2-0 to fifth-ranked St. Norbert College in the semifinals of the NCHA playoffs to end the season at Cornerstone Community Ice Center tonight.

While St. Norbert scored on a power-play at 11:33 in the opening period to take a 1-0 lead, the teams played fairly even the rest of the night.

But with one minute left in the game, the Blugolds pulled their goalie to bring on an extra attacker and St. Norbert ended up scoring on an empty net with less than seven seconds remaining.

Eau Claire outshot the Green Knights 9-7 in the second period but St. Norbert finished the night with a 30-19 overall advantage.

There were only six penalties the entire night, and the Blugolds committed just two for four minutes, tying a season low.

Brandon Stephenson (Jr.-Saline, Mich.) played just under 59 minutes in-goal and stopped 28 shots. He finished the year with a 2.08 goals-against-average and made a total of 507 saves (.917 save percentage).

Tonight's game was just the Blugolds' fourth NCHA semifinals game they have competed in in the history of the league. Most recently they lost to UW-Stout in 2008.

The Blugolds end the season with a 13-12-3 overall record. St. Norbert (16-5-5) moves on to the NCHA championship game and will host UW-Stevens Point next weekend.

-KM-