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Blugold Hockey Ends Regular Season On Winning Note
Posted: Saturday, February 10, 2007
EAU CLAIRE - The UW-Eau Claire men's hockey team ended the regular season on a positive with a 3-2 Northern Collegiate Hockey Association triumph over UW-Stevens Point Saturday night at the Hobbs Ice Center.
The win allowed the Blugolds to tie Stevens Point for sixth place in the final Northern Collegiate Hockey Association regular season standings. However, the Pointers will take the No. 6 seed into the NCHA post-season tournament while the Blugolds will be seeded No. 7. The difference is that Stevens Point's final conference point total includes three wins and a tie while the Blugolds had two wins and three ties.
The victory also snapped a seven-game non-win streak by the Blugolds who last won on Jan. 13 when they beat St. Olaf by a 2-1 count. The Blugolds had played five consecutive games in which they tied or lost by a single goal prior to Saturday's triumph.
After losing a 5-4 decision to the Pointers at Stevens Point Friday night, the Blugolds had to come back from a 1-0 deficit to earn Saturday's victory. The Pointers took the lead at the 14:48 mark of the opening period but the Blugolds scored twice in the final 4:03 to gain a 2-1 advantage at the first intermission. Freshman Mark Stockdale (Brantfort, ONT) scored first at 15:57 followed by Andrew Johnson's (So.-Andover, MN/Anoka) power play goal at 19:09. The ?Golds outshot the Pointers, 18-9, in dominating the first period.
The Blugolds gave themselves some breathing room with a Greg Petersen (So.-Maple Grove, MN/Totino-Grace) goal just 2:19 into the second period.
The Pointers made the Blugolds pay for a third-period penalty when Reed Lally scored on a power play at the 6:44 mark to close the gap to 3-2. But the Blugolds did not allow Stevens Point another power play chance the remainder of the game and skated off the final 30 seconds when Point pulled its goal for an additional attacker. The Blugolds just missed a length of the ice open net shot.
Second-year Blugold coach Luke Strand went with seldom-used goalie Tyler Brigl (Eagan, MN) against the Pointers. The freshman netminder turned away 29 shots in only his fifth start and pushed his season record to 4-0-1.
The win came against a team that has been a nemesis to the Blugolds in the past decade. This was only the fifth time in the last 29 meetings with the Pointers that the Blugolds came away with a "W".
The Blugolds finished the regular season with a 9-12-4 record while the Pointers are 7-16-2. The Blugolds made a seven-game improvement from Strand's first season at the helm in 2005-06 when they finished 2-21-4.
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