EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – The 12th-ranked UW-Eau Claire men's hockey team used a four-goal second period to run away with a 5-2 victory over 3rd-ranked UW-Stevens Point here tonight at Hobbs Ice Center.
With the win the Blugolds improve to 15-5-2 overall and 7-2-0 in the WIAC while the Pointers fall to 17-5-0 and 7-2-0 in conference action. The Blugolds are now tied with the Pointers for first place in the WIAC standings, each earning 14 points with three games to play in the regular season. Eau Claire snapped a five-game Stevens Point winning streak. The game marked the first time the Blugolds had defeated the Pointers at Hobbs Ice Center since a 5-2 victory on November 30, 2012. It was also the most goals Eau Claire has scored against Stevens Point since that victory at Hobbs.
Adam Knochenmus (So.-Roseau, MN) gave the Blugold a 1-0 lead when he scored his ninth goal of the season at 8:11 of the first period. The goal was assisted by David Henry (So-Foster City, CA/Junipero Serra) and T.J. Stuntz (Fr.-Austin, TX/Round Rock).
The Eau Claire offense erupted in the second period scoring four goals, three of them coming within three-and-a-half minutes of each other. Ethan Nauman (Jr.-Mosinee, WI) got things started when he scored his 18th goal of the season at 3:42 assisted by Jeff Pauluk (Jr.-Bloomington, MN/Jefferson) extending the lead to 2-0. Less than a minute later Stuntz scored his first goal as a Blugold at 4:34 assisted by Henry and Knochenmus. Ross Andersen (Sr.-River Falls, WI) continued the Eau Claire onslaught scoring his 17th goal of the season at 7:05 assisted by Patrick Moore (So.-Grand Rapids, MN) and Derek Knetter (Jr.-Wausau, WI/West) giving the Blugolds a 4-0 lead.
Stevens Point pulled goalie Brandon Jaeger after the Andersen goal. Jaeger entered tonight's match up with the Blugolds with an overall record of 17-3-0.
After Stevens Point scored at 11:28 of the second period to end the 4-0 Blugold run Moore answered scoring his seventh goal of the season at 13:57 assisted by Brandon Wahlin (So.-White Bear Lake, MN) regaining a four-goal lead entering the second intermission.
Goalie Jay Deo (So.-Langley, BC) was impressive in net returning to the ice for the first time in two weeks saving 45 shots. Deo has been the goalie for each of the Blugolds' last two victories over the Pointers. Deo was also between the pipes during the Blugolds' 1-0 win at Stevens Point in the WIAC Tournament Semifinals on March 1, 2014.
Eau Claire was outshot by the Pointers 47-33. The Blugolds received 12 penalty minutes on six minor infractions while the Pointers were whistled for four minor penalties totaling eight minutes. Eau Claire went scoreless on three power play opportunities while the Pointers scored one goal out of five power play chances.
The Blugolds and Pointers will close out their weekend series at Hobbs Ice Center tomorrow night with sole possession of first place on the line. Face-off is set for 7:00 p.m.