EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) — The UW-Eau Claire men's hockey team endured something they haven't through 11 games so far this year, a loss. Playing UW-Stevens Point for the second straight night, the Blugolds fell 4-3 in overtime in a heartbreaking loss at the hands of the Pointers.
It was a back-and-forth game all night and one that got more physical as the night progressed as well. The Pointers (5-5-1, 2-5-1 NCHA) got on the board first Friday night, but it was the Blugolds (10-1-1, 6-1-1) who struck first in this game.
Travis Peckskamp (Sr.-Sauk Rapids, Minn/Sauk Rapids) got the scoring started at 10:07 of the first period on an assist from Mark Pustin (Jr.-Northridge, Cal./Granada Hills). But the Pointers stole the momentum at the end of the period.
The Pointers got back-to-back goals from Kyle Politz at 15:57 and 19:21 of the first period and went into the intermission with the lead.
But like it has much of the season, the second period belonged to the Blugolds. David Donnellan (Jr.-Eau Claire, Wis./Memorial) sent a shot through traffic that found the back of the net at 11:12 of the second period.
A few minutes later, at 16:38, Jeff Pauluk (Fr.-Bloomington, Minn./Jefferson) put a shot on goal that, to his surprise, found the back of the net for his first goal at UW-Eau Claire. And with that, the Blugolds took a 3-2 lead into the third period.
The Pointers were resilient all night and at 4:07 of the third, they tied the game at 3-3 on a scrum in front of the net.
The two teams battled the rest of the period, but neither team was able to end it in regulation. In overtime, it appeared the Blugolds received a gift as a penalty was called on the Pointers.
But the Blugolds could not capitalize on the man-advantage and the Pointers made them pay. At 2:59 of the overtime, Jon Bockmann ripped a shot from the slot past Blugolds goaltender Brandon Stephenson (Sr.-Saline, Mich./Saline) to quiet the crowd and send the Pointers to celebration.
Stephenson finished with 27 saves and took his first loss of the season, while the Blugolds outshot the Pointers 32-31. The other glaring number for the Blugolds was their 0-for-3 effort on the power-play, a night after going 2-for-2 on the man-advantage.
The Blugolds will look to right-the-ship next weekend when they head to River Falls to take on the Falcons in the final two-game series before the holiday break. Both games will start at 7:05 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evening.