EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) — The UW-Eau Claire men's hockey team had to be happy to see an opponent that wasn't St. Norbert. The Blugolds fell to the Green Knights on the eve of Thanksgiving for just their second loss of the season, both of which came to St. Norbert. But in welcoming UW-Stevens Point, the task would not get any easier as the Pointers came in ranked No. 2 in the d3hockey.com poll and No. 4 in the USCHO.com poll.
The Pointers (9-0-0, 1-0-0) scored twice in the first period and the Blugolds (5-3-0, 0-1-0) fell in the WIAC opener 4-1 at Hobbs Ice Center.
UW-Stevens Point controlled a surprisingly clean first period. Neither team was whistled for a penalty in the period as the officials let the teams play. The Pointers opened up the scoring at 8:40 when Kyle Politz took a long pass for a semi-breakaway and he beat UW-Eau Claire goalie Tyler Green (So.-Noblesville, Ind./Noblesville) in the five-hole.
At 11:32, the Pointers struck again, this time on a scrum in front of the net after Green made the first save but could not coral the rebound.
The second period had a much different pace as the Blugolds came out and took control, especially for the last 13-15 minutes of the period. But every chance the Blugolds had to cut in to the lead, Pointers goalie Brandon Jaeger had an answer.
It looked like the Blugolds would go into the second intermission down two goals, but with 39 seconds left in the period, Joe Krause (Jr.-Hermantown, Minn./Hermantown) scored after he was left alone in front of Jaeger on a nice pass from Patrick Moore (Fr.-Grand Rapids, Minn./Grand Rapids). Jack Callahan (Jr.-Red Bank, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) also assisted on the goal.
Whatever momentum the Krause goal gave the Blugolds going into the third period, they lost it quickly as the Pointers responded with a goal at 3:48 to regain the two-goal lead.
The Blugolds did get a golden opportunity to climb back into the game when on the power-play, the Pointers were whistled for another penalty just 15 seconds into the current penalty, giving UW-Eau Claire a minute and 45 seconds of a 5-on-3. But that opportunity was lost when Charles Thauwald (So.-Rochester, Minn./Mayo) was taken off for an interference penalty 29 seconds into the 5-on-3.
The Pointers stuck the dagger in the Blugolds at 16:43 on what was almost an instant replay of the first goal, just with a different combination of players.
It was a relatively clean game for both teams, although the third period did see a few more penalties. Neither team was able to capitalize on the man-advantage as the Blugolds were 0-for-5 and the Pointers were 0-for-4.
Green finished with 36 saves on 40 shots as the Blugolds were outshot 40-29 in the game. The Blugolds will continue conference action Saturday night when they travel to UW-Superior to take on the Yellowjackets at 7:05 p.m. This was the final home game for the Blugolds before the winter break. They won't return home until 2014 when they host Augsburg (Minn.) Jan. 7 at 7 p.m.