RIVER FALLS, Wis. (Blugolds.com) — After suffering their first loss of the season last weekend, the UW-Eau Claire men's hockey team got back on track Friday night against UW-River Falls with a 5-1 victory.
After falling to UW-Stevens Point in overtime last weekend, the Blugolds (11-1-1, 7-1-1 NCHA) came out and set the tone against the Falcons (4-5-2, 0-5-2 NCHA) in River Falls.
The teams were scoreless through most of the first period, until Ross Andersen (So.-River Falls, Wis./River Falls), who was returning to his hometown, broke through at 18:37 and gave the Blugolds a 1-0 lead.
The Blugolds struck again in the second period. Midway through the stanza Chris Heineman (So.-New Boston, Mich./Traverse City Central) gave the Blugolds a 2-0 lead with an assist by Jon Waggoner (Jr.-Fairbanks, Alaska/Lathrop).
At 15:53 the Falcons broke through for their lone goal of the game on a shorthanded tally. That's how the period ended, but the Blugolds put the game away in the third.
Andrew McCabe (Sr.-Eau Claire, Wis./Memorial) started the scoring at 4:02 of the third. Just 0:24 later, Isaiah Bennis (Sr.-Eau Claire, Wis./Memorial) gave the Blugolds a three-goal cushion.
With the game in hand, Brian Nehring (Jr.-Hopedale, Mass./Milford) scored the fifth goal of the night for the Blugolds with assists to Mark Pustin (Jr.-Northridge, Cal./Granada Hills) and Jack Callahan (So.-Red Bank, NJ/Christian Brothers).
Brandon Stephenson (Sr.-Saline, Mich./Saline) made 28 saves on 29 shots to pick up his ninth win of the year in goal. The Blugolds peppered Falcon's goalie, Scott Lewan, with 41 shots. The Blugolds were 0-for-4 on the power-play as were the Falcons.
The two teams will play again Saturday night at River Falls. It will be the final game of 2012 for the Blugolds as they will break for about a month for the holiday season. They will return to action in 2013 on Jan. 4 to take on St. John's at Hobbs Ice Center.