Blugolds Open 2013 With Victory Over Johnnies

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) — After nearly a month break, the UW-Eau Claire men's hockey team finally was back in action, playing its first game of 2013. The Blugolds welcomed Saint John's (Minn.) to Hobbs Ice Center for a non-conference matchup and despite a slow start, the Blugolds came alive and defeated the Johnnies 5-1.

The Blugolds (12-2-1) entered the break losing 2-out-of-3, their only two losses of the season thus far. The Johnnies (6-5-1) entered Friday's game with the Blugolds on a five-game winning streak.

Both teams traded chances in the first period, but neither was able to break through and the teams entered the first intermission tied 0-0.

The Blugolds offense came alive in the second period as the broke the game open. Mark Pustin (Jr.-Northridge, Cal./Granada Hills) scored at 6:41 for the first tally of the game. Andrew Wilcox (Sr.-Rochester, Minn./Century) continued the scoring for the Blugolds at 10:12 and less than two minutes later, Jordan Singer (Sr.-Lino Lakes, Minn./Centennial) had the Blugolds out to a 3-0 lead.

The Johnnies would cut the lead to 3-1 near the end of the second period as they scored a power-play goal on the first Blugold penalty of the night.

But the third period belonged to UW-Eau Claire as they were able to put the game away. Singer scored his second goal of the night on a 2-on-1, sliding the puck past Johnnie's goaltender Saxton Soley on a nice pass from Pustin. Soley, a graduate of Eau Claire Memorial and the 2011 Mr. Hockey in the state of Wisconsin, had his homecoming spoiled by the Blugolds.

At 13:22, the Blugolds put the game away on a power-play goal by Drew Darwitz (Sr.-Woodbury, Minn./Cretin-Derham Hall). It was another impressive showing by the offense and the ninth time they have score five goals or more in a game this season.

They finished 1-for-2 on the power-play, while the Johnnies finished 1-for-3 on the man-advantage. The Blugolds also outshot Saint John's 31-27.

Brandon Stephenson (Sr. Saline, Mich./Saline) picked up his tenth win of the season, stopping 26 shots.

The Blugolds will be at home again Saturday night in another non-conference matchup, this time welcoming Concordia-Moorhead (Minn.) to town. The game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Hobbs Ice Center. 

-JM-