DE PERE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) - Friday night's game with St. Norbert was an important one for the UW-Eau Claire men's hockey team for many reasons. The Green Knights are the defending back-to-back National Champions and they are ranked No. 3 in the nation in the latest USCHO.com poll.
More importantly, the last time the Blugolds defeated St. Norbert was back in 2010 at home, the last time they won a road game against the Green Knights was 1994. St. Norbert led the all-time series 45-4-3 entering play Friday night.
The Blugolds fell behind early after St. Norbert scored two power-play goals in the first period. They went to the first intermission down 2-0, but in the second period they battled back to tie it up.
Daniel Olszewski (Jr.-Janesville, Wis./Craig) cut the lead in half at 1:41 of the second period on his third goal of the year. Jack Callahan (So.-Red Bank, NJ/Christian Brothers) and Jordan Singer (Sr.-Lino Lakes, Minn./Centennial) assisted on the power-play goal.
Just 1:11 later, Mark Pustin (Jr.-Northridge, Cal./Granada Hills) scored his first goal of the night and his fourth of the year to knot the game at 2-all. Andrew Wilcox (Sr. Rochester, Minn./Century) and David Donnellan (Jr.-Eau Claire, Wis./Memorial) assisted on the goal.
The second period ended with the teams tied 2-2 and it came down to the final 20 minutes of action to determine the winner.
At 10:34 of the third stanza, Isaiah Bennis (Sr.-Eau Claire, Wis./Memorial) gave the Blugolds their first lead of the night on a power-play goal with assists from Singer and Callahan.
The Green Knights answered just 1:05 later at 11:39 to tie the game back up at 3-3. But Pustin gave UW-Eau Claire another big goal in the game, this one proving to be the game-winner.
At 14:35, Pustin scored his second goal of the night, another power-play goal on assists from Singer and Callahan. The Blugolds were able to hold on the rest of the way and at 19:56 Kurt Weston (Sr.-Roseau, Minn./Roseau) scored an empty-netter to put the game away.
The Blugolds came up huge on the power-play, going 3-for-4 and that proved to be the difference in the game. The Green Knights scored twice on the man-advantage but the Blugolds were able to kill off four power-plays giving them the special teams advantage.
Brandon Stephenson (Sr.-Saline, Mich./Saline) came up huge in net once again, finishing with 35 saves on 38 shots and he is now 6-0-0 this season. St. Norbert outshot the Blugolds 38-19 in the contest.
Pustin led the offensive charge with two goals, while Callahan and Singer both notched three assists each. Wilcox added two assists for UW-Eau Claire.
The two teams will play again Saturday night back at Cornerstone Community Ice Center. The Blugolds will look to pick up their second straight win against the Green Knights and keep their unbeaten streak alive. The game is set to start at 7 p.m.