By Nick Hoven, UWEC Sports Information
PLATTSBURGH, New York (Blugolds.com) – The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire men's hockey team competed in the 2019 Primelink Great Northern Shootout championship game on Saturday. After beating the host team a day prior, the Blugolds faced off against Middlebury College in the final tournament game. Despite trailing early, Eau Claire bounced back and held off late Middlebury efforts to win 4-3.
The first period saw the Blugolds in an unfamiliar spot right away. The Panthers would find the back of the net in the first four minutes after a defensive miscue in the Blugold zone. Until this game, the Blugolds had never trailed to start a game and fired back just minutes later. Nick Techel (Wausau, WI/West) would grab the puck below the goal line, made a cut out front, and bury a shot around the Panther goalie to tie things at one. This would tally as Techel's first goal in a Blugold sweater.
Just seven minutes after the tying goal, the Blugolds would capitalize on a 3-on-2 rush to give them the 2-1 lead. Steen Cooper (Sr. – Duncan, BC) would give a drop pass to Jarrad Vroman (So. – Lincoln Park, MI/St. Francis Cabrini) who would send a blast on net. After the puck deflected off a defenseman, it eventually found the back of the cage for Eau Claire's second goal.
The second period would show momentum from the first as Derek Hammer (So. – Woodbury, MN/East Ridge) and Cole Paskus (Jr. – Madison, WI/West) would both find the back of the net to extend the Eau Claire lead to 4-1. This would be Paskus and Hammer's second goals each of the season. The Blugolds would relinquish two goals in the third but would hold on to the lead to secure the championship win.
Goaltender Zach Dyment (Jr. – Abbotsford, BC/Yale Secondary) stopped 25 of the 28 shots he faced on his way to his sixth straight win and a season record of 7-0-1.
For their efforts, Jon Richards (Jr. – Callaway, MN/Detroit Lakes) and Scott Munro (Sr. – Vancouver, BC/St. George's) earned a spot on the All-Tournament Team while Dyment was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player and Techel was named the Most Outstanding Rookie. With the win, the Blugolds are just the second invitational team to win the tournament championship in it's 22-year history.
The Blugolds will travel back home to Eau Claire and resume Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference on Friday, December 6th when they take on Northland College at 7PM from Hobbs Ice Center.