EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – On the strength of six first period goals, the 13th-ranked UW-Eau Claire men's hockey team used its potent power play to defeat Lawrence University 11-2 here tonight at Hobbs Ice Center.
The Blugolds improve to 7-3-2 on the year while Lawrence falls to 5-7-1. Eau Claire leads the all-time series 7-1-0 outscoring the Vikings 41-12.
Lawrence needed just 24 seconds to score the game's first goal to take an early 1-0 lead. It did not take long for the Blugolds to respond when Brandon Wahlin (So.-White Bear Lake, MN) scored a power play goal at 5:29 assisted by Preston Hodge (So.-Normal, IL/Oregon) and Jeff Pauluk (Jr.-Bloomington, MN/Jefferson) to tie the game at 1-1.
Colton Wolter (Fr.-Fairbanks, AK/Lathrop) scored his first career goal as a Blugold at 9:21 of the first period giving Eau Claire a 2-1 lead.
The turning point of the game was when Tom Lee of Lawrence received a five-minute major infraction for checking from behind and subsequent game misconduct. The Blugolds took full advantage of the situation as Ross Andersen (Sr.-River Falls, WI), Wahlin and Ethan Nauman (Jr.-Mosinee, WI) each scored power play goals extending the lead to 5-1.
Pauluk added an even strength goal at 16:21 of the first period assisted by Nauman and Joe Schmitz(Jr.-Lino Lakes, MN/Centennial) giving the Blugolds their sixth goal of the first period.
The second period started just as the first had ended when Andersen scored his second goal of the night at 2:17 assisted by Wahlin and Jack Callahan (Sr.-Red Bank, NJ/Christian Brothers Academy) giving Eau Claire a 7-1 lead. Todd Koritzinsky (Fr.-Verona, WI/Middleton) also got into the act scoring his first goal of the game just 12 seconds later to make it an 8-1 Blugold advantage.
The Vikings ended the eight-goal Eau Claire run with an unassisted goal at 4:35 of the second period but the Blugolds quickly answered when Wahlin scored his third goal of the evening at 6:27 giving Eau Claire a seven lead entering the third period.
At 3:00 of the third period Nauman scored his second goal of the night assisted by Jake Hopfner (Fr.-Eastpointe, MI/Warren Woods Tower) and Pauluk getting the Blugolds into double-digit goals with a 10-2 lead. Mac Jansen (Fr.-White Bear Lake, MN) ended the scoring surge with his first goal of the night at 11:37 assisted by Hopfner ending the Blugold scoring surge with an 11-2 triumph.
Goalie Jay Deo (So.-Langley, BC) saved 22 shots in victory. Deo now has a season record of 3-2-1.
The Blugolds outshot the Vikings 52-24. Eau Claire went six-for-10 on power play opportunities while holding Lawrence scoreless on five power play opportunities.
The 11 goals scored by the Blugolds was the most by an Eau Claire team since defeating Concordia Wisconsin 12-4 on November 24, 2012. The school record for goals scored in a game was 17 accomplished twice when the Blugolds defeated Hamline 17-2 on November 20, 1990 and UW-La Crosse 17-1 on December 5, 1987.
Eau Claire has now scored 10 power play goals in its last three games while holding its opponents without a power play goal for six consecutive games.
Wahlin ended the evening with five points scoring three goals along with two assists. His performance fell one point and one goal short of tying school records for points and goals in a single game. Wahlin's three power play goals ties a school record most recently accomplished by Mike Litner versus UW-Stevens Point on December 6, 1991.
Nauman scored two goals while adding two assists while Andersen scored two goals to go with one assist.
Hodge and Callahan each recorded four assists, one assist shy of tying the school record of most assists in a game with five most recently achieved by Mark Hicks against Hamline on November 20, 1990.
The Blugolds will have nearly four weeks off before their next game when they will host Marian University of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin on Friday, January 9. Face-off is set for 7:00 p.m.