Hockey suffers double losses

In coach Marlin Muylaert’s first weekend series back after his five-game suspension, the men’s hockey team dropped two home games.

The Blugolds fell prey to UW-Superior Friday night and College of St. Scholastica Saturday night.

“It’s pretty difficult this last month with all that’s been going on,” junior captain Jeff Pradal said.

Since the Dec. 9 game in which Muylaert ordered his team to leave the ice and forfeit a game against Augsburg College (Minn.), causing his suspension, the ‘Golds have won just two games while losing four.

In Friday’s contest Eau Claire fell to the Yellow Jackets 5-1. Superior scored one goal in each of the first two periods before exploding for three goals in the final period.

Freshman Kuzma Kurakin scored the only Blugold goal of the contest on a power play in the final three minutes.

Saturday’s game was a different story with the same result.

The Blugolds outshot St. Scholastica, but in the end lost 3-1.

“It’s safe to say we dominated that game,” Pradal said. “We dominated them all over the ice.”

The Saints jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period, scoring a goal at 11 minutes and 43 seconds and again at 14:03 on a power play.

The Blugolds came to life in the second period when freshman Matthew Gehr and sophomore Matt Plummer fed the puck to junior Erik Strand for the team’s only goal.

St. Scholastica scored an empty net goal with 47 seconds remaining in the third period to put the game out of reach for Eau Claire.

The win marked the Saints’ first victory in the Northern Collegiate Hockey Assoc-iation this season.

“They got a couple breaks and we didn’t,” Pradal said. “They got a couple lucky bounces on those first two goals.”

Muylaert said the team played well on defense, but needs to step up on offense.

“We’ve got to get more offensive intensity,” he said. “(We need to) get more fit, more chemistry throughout our lines.”

For the Blugolds to get back into the winning way they experienced before the winter break, Muylaert said the players who stepped up then need to step up again.

Eau Claire will take on St. Scholastica again on Friday in Duluth.

“We’ve got six games remaining in the season to establish a decent position for the playoffs,” Pradal said. “Anything can happen once the playoffs get here.

“We’re definitely not going to quit.”