EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – Shutouts are starting to become a trend for the UW-Eau Claire men's hockey team. With WIAC opponent UW-Superior in town Friday night, the Blugolds picked up their eighth shutout of the season, a school record, with a 3-0 win at Hobbs Ice Center.
The previous record for shutouts in a season was four in 2007-08. Tyler Brigl notched all four shutouts that year. With the shutout against the Yellowjackets (7-12-3, 2-5-2) Tyler Green (So.-Noblesville, Ind./Noblesville) earned his fifth of the season, a new school record. His partner Jay Deo (Fr.-Langley, B.C./Langley) has three this season.
Coming into the season, the defense was undoubtedly going to be the strength of the Blugolds (15-4-1, 4-2-1). After a slow start to the season, they continue to prove that they have one of the best defensive groups in hockey as they have also played an important role in all the shutouts.
At 14:50 of the first period, Jon Waggoner (Sr.-Fairbanks, Alaska, Lathrop) buried the puck on a rebound with a flurry in front of the net to give the Blugolds the 1-0 lead. Brian Nehring (Sr.-Hopedale, Mass./Milford) and Jared Williams (Sr.-West Chicago, Ill./Bartlett) picked up assists on the goal.
Neither team scored the rest of the period, in what turned out to be a very choppy period with several whistles.
In the second period, the Blugolds struck again at 10:10. Jack Callahan (Jr.-Red Bank, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) took a pass coming down the slot and the first shot was stopped by UW-Superior goalie Dayn Belfour, the son of NHL Hall-of-Fame goaltender, Ed Belfour. But Callahan picked up the rebound and put it through Belfour's five-hole for the 2-0 lead. David Henry (Fr.-Foster City, Cal./Junipero Serra) made the pass to Callahan in the slot and Adam Knochenmus (Fr.-Roseau, Minn./Roseau) picked up an assist as well.
Shortly after, the Blugolds struck again, this time at 13:08 of the second. Ross Andersen (Jr-River Falls, Wis./River Falls) made several nifty moves to get around the defenders, he took a shot that was stopped by Belfour, but Patrick Moore (Fr.-Grand Rapids, Minn./Grand Rapids) was there to put away the rebound. Niko Kapetanovic (Sr.-North Prairie, Wis./Kettle Moraine) also picked up a helper on the goal.
Waggoner received a five-minute major at the 17:36 mark for cross-checking, giving the Yellowjackets some hope. They weren't able to capitalize in the remainder of the second period, but they still had 2:36 of power-play time to start the third period.
The Blugolds penalty kill was up to the task once again though, giving up few, if any quality chances during the power-play. Other than that, there was little action in the third period with neither team finding the back of the net and just three penalties total.
UW-Eau Claire outshot UW-Superior 43-29, including 21-9 in a dominating second period. Green made 29 saves on 29 shots for another shutout. The one area where the Blugolds struggled was on the power-play, going 0-for-6 with the man-advantage. The Yellowjackets were 0-for-4 on the power-play.
The two teams meet again Saturday night back in Eau Claire for the final time this season. The game is set for 7 p.m. at Hobbs Ice Center.