EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – Down 2-0 eight minutes into the second period, the 12th-ranked UW-Eau Claire men's hockey team scored two short-handed and one four-on-four goal defeating a7th-ranked UW-River Falls 3-2 on Senior Night at Hobbs Ice Center.
The Blugolds improved to 17-6-2 overall and 9-3 in WIAC action while the Falcons fall to 18-6-1 overall and 7-5 in conference play. Eau Claire has now won 10 of its last 12 meetings against the Falcons including a regular season sweep.
Eau Claire earned sole possession of second place with the victory while River Falls finished in third place four points behind the Blugolds. Stevens Point claimed the outright conference title with a 7-0 victory over Superior.
After a scoreless first period, the Falcons scored goals at 5:25 and 8:02 of the second period taking a 2-0 lead. Patrick Moore (So.-Grand Rapids, MN) started the Blugold comeback scoring a short-handed goal at 9:26 assisted by Ross Andersen (Sr.-River Falls, WI) cutting the Falcon lead to 2-1.
Jack Callahan (Sr.-Red Bank, NJ/Christian Brothers Academy) left his mark on Senior Night when he scored a four-on-four goal at 12:26 of the second period assisted by David Henry (So.-Foster City, CA/Junipero Serra) and Adam Knochenmus (So.-Roseau, MN) tying the game at 2-2.
Andersen completed the Eau Claire comeback scoring his fifth short-handed goal of the year at 5:53 of the third period assisted by Moore Jeff Pauluk (Jr.-Bloomington, MN/Jefferson) for the eventual game winning goal. The Falcons pulled their goalie with 1:35 remaining in regulation but was held scoreless as the Blugolds earned the win.
The Andersen goal ties the school record for most short-handed goals in a season set by Alex Hicks during the 1991-92 season. The game-winning goal was Andersen's fourth of the year, one behind the school record of five set by Hick in 1989-90 and current teammate Ethan Nauman (Jr.-Mosinee, WI) who has five game-winning goals this season.
Goalie Jay Deo (So.-Langley, BC) saved 24 shots on goal to earn the victory. His season record now stands at 8-3-1.
The victory was the final regular season home game for Andersen, Callahan and Charles Thauwald (Sr.-Rochester, MN/Mayo). The seniors were honored in a pre-game speech prior to the start of the game. Over the last four years the Blugolds have an overall record of 73-31-8 which is the most wins and highest winning percentage (68.8%) over a four year period in Eau Claire men's hockey history.
The Blugolds outshot the Falcons 46-26. A total of 23 penalties were called between both teams as Eau Claire was whistled for 13 minor infractions while River Falls received 10 minor penalties. Eau Claire went scoreless on six power play opportunities while River Falls went one-for-nine on the power play.
Both teams will return to Hobbs Ice Center next Friday, February 27 where they will square off in the WIAC Tournament Semifinals. Face-off is set for 7:00 p.m.