EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) — Coming off a weekend where they scored 18 goals in two games, the third-ranked UW-Eau Claire men's hockey team was looking to keep the momentum going as they welcomed NCHA opponent UW-Stevens Point to town.
With the teams tied 1-1 after the first period, the Blugolds (10-0-1, 6-0-1 NCHA) broke the game open with a three-goal second period and they held on for the 5-2 win to remain unbeaten this season.
The Pointers (4-5-1, 1-5-1) got on the board first, capitalizing on a turnover in the defensive zone, as Andrew Kolb found the back of the net at 4:13 of the first period.
Just a few minutes later, the Blugolds went on the power-play and they took advantage. Daniel Olszewski (Jr.-Janesville, Wis./Craig) put one past Pointers goaltender Nick Graves just nine seconds into the man advantage to even it back up at 1-1.
That was how the first period would end, but the Blugolds wasted little time jumping out to their first lead of the game in the second period. At 1:20 Kurt Weston (Sr.-Roseau, Minn./Roseau) put home a rebound with assists to Andrew Wilcox (Sr.-Rochester, Minn./Centurty) and Jack Callahan (So.-Red Bank, NJ/Christian Brothers Academy).
Later, it was Weston again who gave the Blugolds a 3-1 lead on his second goal of the night. Weston was able to tip home a shot from Alex Olson (Jr.-Devils Lake, ND/Devils Lake) off an offensive zone faceoff that was won by Olszewski.
Midway through the period, the Blugolds went on the power-play again and this time it was Isaiah Bennis (Sr.-Eau Claire, Wis./Memorial) who came through on the man advantage. Bennis found himself all alone in the slot with virtually an open net as the Pointers were caught out of position and he made it a 4-1 game.
With just under two minutes left in the second, the Pointers cut it to 4-2 when Kevin Gibson put home a pass from Johnny Meo on a 2-on-1.
That was as close as the Pointers would get though, as the Blugolds were happy to play the majority of the third period in the neutral zone. David Donnellan (Jr.-Eau Claire, Wis./Memorial) scored an empty net goal with 0:09 left to finish off the game.
Brandon Stephenson (Sr.-Saline, Mich./Saline) made 24 saves to pick up his eighth win of the year in net.
Entering play Friday night, the Blugolds were 13-for-38 (34%) on the power-play and they continued that dominance against the Pointers, going 2-for-2. They outshot the Pointers 40-26.
The two teams will play again Saturday night with the puck set to drop at 7 p.m. at Hobbs Ice Center. It will be the final home game for the Blugolds before they break for the holidays.