By Justin Dade - Sports Information
MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn. (Blugolds.com) - The No. 11 University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire men's hockey team fell to the Tommies of St. Thomas 5-3 on Thursday night at St. Thomas Ice Arena.
After winning their last three games, the Blugold's momentum was stalled seeing every goal scored by St. Thomas in the last five minutes of each period.
Jake Bresser (So. – Eau Claire, WI) got the away team on the board first to give the Blugolds a 1-0 lead on a shorthanded goal with 5:10 left in the opening frame. Logan Von Ruden (So. – Northfield, MN) and Colton Wolter (Sr. – Fairbanks, AK) were credited with the assists on UW-Eau Claire's first shorthanded goal of the season.
UW-Eau Claire looked to take the one-goal advantage into the first intermission, but the Tommies found the back of the net with just three seconds remaining on a goal scored by Colin Willox who beat the buzzer.
The Tommies would head to the locker room with a 13-11 advantage in shots on goal in the 1-1 tie.
UW-Eau Claire would retake the lead on the fourth goal of the season scored by captain Jake Hopfner (Sr. – Eastpointe, MI) on the power play. The goal made it 2-1 with just over three minutes gone in the period assisted by Jesse Tredinnick (Sr. – Onalaska, WI) and Todd Koritzinsky (Sr. – Verona, WI).
The Tommies would respond late in the period by beating the clock again on a goal scored with just .4 seconds left by Colton Berg on a rebound to the right of goaltender Camden Haugenoe (Fr. - Williston, ND). Their second buzzer beater made it 2-2 heading into the final period.
Despite giving up two tough goals in back-to-back frames, the Blugolds would regain the lead one more time. Alex Strand (So. - Roseau, MN) gave UW-Eau Claire the 3-2 edge on his third goal of the season with 14:25 left to play in the game. Wolter and Johnny Mueller (Jr. - St. Peters, MO) were credited with the helpers on the tally.
The Blugolds held the 3-2 lead until the 4:17 mark when the Tommies refused to go away one last time. Broydon Stufko tied it up and Willox netted his second goal of the game 1:08 later to give St. Thomas a 4-3 advantage.
UW-Eau Claire had a chance on the power play with Haugenoe pulled to tie it up late, but Brian LeBlanc would end the threat with a late goal into the empty net to send it to the final score of 5-3.
Haugenoe made his fifth consecutive start in net for the Blugolds and will fall to 3-2 on the season saving 22 of the 26 shots he faced. Through five games, the freshman maintains a 1.99 goals allowed average and a save percentage of .915.
The Blugolds (3-2-0) will hit the ice looking to rebound for their next road game on Saturday in Winona against Saint Mary's University. The puck will drop at 7:00 p.m. in Saint Mary's Ice Arena.
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