By Nick Hoven, UWEC Sports Information
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – The No. 8 University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire men's hockey team traveled to central Wisconsin for their final conference game of the year against the No. 3
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, defeating the Pointers 2-1.
The first period started right where it left off almost a month ago. Two fast-paced teams coming out strong and trying to get on the board first. It only took eight minutes for the puck to find the back of the net for the Blugolds. Jeff Pauluk (Sr.-Bloomington, MN/Jefferson) slid the puck across the middle of the slot and found Patrick Moore (Jr.-Grand Rapids, MN) on the back door for Moore's sixth power play goal of the year.
The Pointers did not let up and kept shooting until the ending buzzer, recording 13 shots compared to Eau Claire's four. The Blugolds did their part on defense blocking six shots and created turnovers leading to fast breaks. They also lead in face-offs 12-11.
The Blugolds goaltender, Jay Deo (Jr. – Langley, BC) had his hands full in the second period. He stopped all 20 shots that he faced and the Blugolds only managed to get off five shots. Stevens Point also dominated the faceoff circle 28-16 after two periods.
It was the junior from White Bear Lake who extended the Blugold lead in the second period. The Brandon Wahlin (Jr.-White Bear Lake, MN) shot was too fast for Stevens Point goaltender Max Milosek. Derek Knetter's (Sr.-Wausau, WI/West) initial shot was blocked by the Pointers defense, but Wahlin finished off putting the Blugolds up 2-0. Todd Koritzinsky (So. – Verona, WI) also received an assist on the goal.
The third period would test Eau Claire. Stevens Point came out flying once again and relentlessly firing shots at Deo for a three period total of 47 shots. With 1:06 left in the third period the
Pointers found the back net after Jono Davis put one home after a pass from across the crease from Eliot Grauer. The Blugolds would hold onto the win and goaltender Deo would earn his fourth win of the season.
Deo moves to 5-1-2 on the season after shutting down the potent Pointer offense, recording 47 saves on the night.
With the win, the Blugolds (15-5-5, 5-2-1 WIAC) share the conference championship with UW-River Falls but will be the No. 2 seed in the WIAC playoffs as the Falcons win the tiebreaker after sweeping the Blugolds during the regular season.
Eau Claire will have a rematch with the Pointers on Feb. 26-27 at Hobbs Ice Arena for the semifinal round of the WIAC Tournament.