By Justin Dade - Sports Information
EAU CLAIRE, Wisconsin - (Blugolds.com) – The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire men's hockey team fell to the UW-Stout Blue Devils in the second game of the WIAC semifinals 3-2, but bounced back to advance by winning the mini game 1-0.
The No. 2 Blugolds struggled early due to a stifling effort on the defensive end by the Blue Devils and strong play from goaltender Tommi Ahlgren in the first two periods.
No. 3 UW-Stout thrived in the role of spoiler getting an early first period goal just like the night before. Alex Bowe gave the Blue Devils a 1-0 lead on a goal scored with 13:50 left in the first period.
The Blugolds would have a slight lead in shots after one period of play, but finished the frame 0-3 on the power play to trail at the first intermission.
After spending a lot of time with the man advantage in the first period, the Blugolds would see the opposite side of the calls and spent 11 of the 20 minutes in the second period on the penalty kill.
UW-Eau Claire would still trail 1-0 after two periods, but would be successful in killing off all four UW-Stout power play's – including a five-minute major.
Jake Bresser (So. – Eau Claire, WI) made Hobbs Ice Center erupt as the Blugolds finally found the back of the net beating Ahlgen glove side with 8:58 left in the third period to tie things up at one. Scott Munro (So. – Vancouver, BC) would be credited with the lone assist on Bresser's 9th goal of the year.
After only one total goal in 50 total minutes, things began to open up after Bresser's goal that evened the score.
UW-Eau Claire looked to hang on to the 2-1 lead and get ready for next weekend, but the Blue Devils didn't go away.
UW-Stout would add two late third-period goals scored by Kyle Sylvester and Conner Valesano to stun the Blugolds and win 3-2 - their first conference road win of the season.
The Blugolds would have to regroup and get ready for the mini game to decide who would advance.
After Bresser drew a penalty, Munro ripped a shot from the point on the power play with 10:39 left in the period and found the back of the net to give the Blugolds the 1-0 lead in the mini game.
UW-Stout would put the pressure on and pull Ahlgren late, but the Blugolds would survive and hang on to win 1-0.
Goaltender Zach Dyment (Fr. - Abbotsford, BC) made his 14th straight start in net for UW-Eau Claire and saved 21 of the 24 shots he saw on the night in the loss.
Dyment was crucial in the mini game saving all eight shots he saw to secure the victory.
The Blugolds will now return to K.B. Willett Arena to take on No. 1 UW-Stevens Point for the second straight season for a chance to hoist the Commissioner's Cup on March 3. Puck drop time has yet to be determined.
Follow all the action on Blugold Game Day.