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Men’s Hockey Wins the Battle But Loses the War

Men’s Hockey Wins the Battle But Loses the War

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. ( – The UW-Eau Claire men's hockey team defeated UW-River Falls 4-2 but lost a minigame 2-1 and a chance to advance to the WIAC Men's Ice Hockey Tournament Championship here tonight at Hobbs Ice Center.

Box Score

The Blugolds improved their overall season record to 18-7-2 while the Falcons fell to 19-7-1 but it was the Falcons who advance as a result of their 2-1 minigame victory.  Eau Claire has defeated River Falls in 11 of their last 14 meetings including a 5-2 record at Hobbs Ice Center over that stretch. 

It was a long night for both teams as over 92 minutes of action was played at the conclusion of the minigame.

The win gave the Blugolds their third-highest single season win total in school history tying the 1989-90 team.  The Blugolds have posted their fifth-straight winning season, the most in school history.

Eau Claire struck early and often in the first period.  T.J. Stuntz (Fr.-Austin, TX/Round Rock) scored the game's first goal at 3:25 assisted by Jack Callahan (Sr.-Red Bank, NJ/Christian Brothers Academy) and Colton Wolter (Fr.-Fairbanks, AK/Lathrop) taking a 1-0 lead. 

Brandon Wahlin (So.-White Bear Lake, MN) added a power play goal at 9:24 of the first period assisted by Jeff Pauluk (Jr.-Bloomington, MN/Jefferson) and Jake Davidson (Fr.-Duluth, MN/Shattuck St. Mary's) extending the Blugold lead to 2-0.

River Falls scored goals at 13:33 of the first period and 10:39 of the second period tying the game at 2-2 but Eau Claire answered in the third period when Stuntz scored the game-winning goal unassisted at 5:22 giving the Blugolds a 3-2 lead. 

Jason Eddy (So.-Woodbury, MN) added an insurance goal at 10:48 assisted by Derek Knetter (Jr.-Wausau, WI/West) and Mac Jansen (Fr.-White Bear Lake, MN) securing a 4-2 victory and forcing a minigame.

Goalie Jay Deo (So.-Langley, BC) saved 31 shots in 59:36 of action improving his season record to 9-4-1.

The Blugolds outshot the Falcons 48-33.  Eau Claire served 10 penalty minutes on five minor infractions while River Falls was whistled for four minor infractions for a total of eight penalty minutes.  The Blugolds were one-for-three on power play opportunities while the Falcons went scoreless on four power play chances.

The Eau Claire victory forced the series into a minigame.  A minigame is used to break a tie and determine the advancing team in a two-game series.  The 20-minute period is to be treated as another game with the exception that it is not counted statistically or in a team's overall won-loss record.  If the score remains tied after the minigame, the tie will be broken by 20-minute, sudden death periods.

Ross Andersen (Sr.-River Falls, WI) scored the first goal of the minigame at 1:47 giving Eau Claire a 1-0 lead.  River Falls scored their first goal at 5:01 tying the game at 1-1.  The minigame would continue with a 20 minute sudden death format to be installed.

More than 12 minutes into the second period a penalty shot was awarded to River Falls after a large pile-up of bodies took place in front of the Eau Claire net.  Taylor Burden of River Falls was able to get the puck past Deo for the eventual winning goal at 12:53 giving the Falcons a 2-1 minigame victory.

Eau Claire was outshot by River Falls 20-16 in the minigame.  Eau Claire was whistled for two minor infractions while River Falls was called for no penalties in 32:53 of minigame action.

The evening marked the final home game for seniors Andersen, Callahan and Charles Thauwald (Sr.-Rochester, MN/Mayo).