EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) — Coming into the season, the UW-Eau Claire men's hockey team had one pressing issue, replacing the backbone of their National Championship team, goalie Brandon Stephenson, who was lost to graduation. With a 4-0 shutout win over Lawrence University Saturday night at Hobbs Ice Center, the Blugolds appear to have found their answer.
The duo of Tyler Green (So.-Noblesville, Ind./Noblesville) and Jay Deo (Fr.-Langley, B.C./Langley) have now notched four straight shutouts, breaking the previous record of two, that was set in the 2010-2011 season by Stephenson. The streak started in the final game before the break, when Deo shutout Lawrence on the road in a 5-0 victory. Green went on two pitch back-to-back shutouts on Tuesday and Friday night and Deo made 27 saves against the Vikings (4-10-1) to put up the fourth-straight zero.
The offense hasn't been too bad either for the Blugolds (10-3-1). After a UW-Eau Claire goal was waved off midway through the first period because the net was ruled to be off before the puck went in, the Blugolds responded, and this time it counted.
David Donnellan (Sr.-Eau Claire, Wis./Memorial) ripped a shot from the right point that got through traffic and beat the Lawrence goalie to put the Blugolds up 1-0 at 10:30 in the first. Brian Nehring (Sr.-Hopedale, Mass./Milford) and Mark Pustin (Sr.-Northridge, Cal./Granada Hills) assisted on the goal.
In the second period at 6:17, Jon Waggoner (Sr.-Fairbanks, Alaska/Lathrop) put the Blugolds ahead 2-0, with helpers from Jared Williams (Sr.-West Chicago, Ill./Bartlett) and Joe Krause (Jr.-Hermantown, Minn./Hermantown).
At 14:47, Pustin got his second goal of the season with assists from Nehring and Ethan Nauman (So.-Mosinee, Wis./Mosinee) to give the Blugolds a 3-0 lead at the second intermission.
The Final tally came in the third period at 4:29 when Nauman skated across the Lawrence goalie's face and deposited the puck into an open net. Nehring picked up his third assist of the night on the goal.
The game got chippy toward the end, and both teams were whistled for several penalties. The Vikings had 10 penalties for 31 minutes and the Blugolds had five for 10. The Blugolds were 0-for-9 with the man-advantage while the Vikings were 0-for-5.
UW-Eau Claire held the edge in shots once again, outshooting Lawrence 45-to-27.
The Blugolds will look to keep their streak going next Saturday, Jan. 18., when they take on St. Thomas (Minn.) at Hobbs Ice Center for their final nonconference matchup of the season. The game is set for 7 p.m.