Men’s hockey comes up winless after pair of early leads

Story by Haley Zblewski

In their final games of the regular season, the UW-Eau Claire men’s hockey team tied UW-Superior 3-3 on Friday and lost to the College of St. Scholastica (Minn.) on Saturday by a score of 5-3.

In both games, the Blugolds had an early lead, but were unable to hold onto it in the third period.
Senior forward Tyler Romasco said it seemed all too familiar.

“Our last three weeks we’ve played some good hockey, but we’ve got to win games,” Romasco said. “We can’t play two periods out of three. We’ve got to play a full 60 minutes of hockey, not 40.”

On Friday, the Blugolds maintained a one goal lead for much of the game. But after allowing Superior to knot things up in the third, the game was eventually pushed to overtime.

The Yellowjackets grabbed the first goal of the night on a power play.

The Blugolds tied up the game on their first power play of the night when Romasco put the puck away with a little less than three minutes left in the first period. Junior forward Jordan Singer put the team ahead 2-1 with only seconds left in the first period as he scored his first goal of the weekend.

Quickly in the second period, the Yellowjackets tied up the game 2-2 as they made their second power play goal of the night. Five minutes later, the Blugolds took back their lead when junior forward Travis Peckskamp tipped one in off the post.

Superior tied up the game up again about three and a half minutes into the third, the only goal of the period. The tie led to a five minute overtime period, during which neither team was able to score, and the game ended up as a 3-3 tie.
Romasco said playing the way they have the past few weeks is not going to get the Blugolds through the playoffs.

“It’s playoffs, the guys know that if you lose you go home,” Romasco said. “We’ve worked hard since September leading up to this point and it really starts to count next weekend.”

Coach Matt Loen had similar remarks and said he still thinks the team is capable of advancing in the playoffs.

“The regular season’s over,” Loen said. “These guys can be two and done, or, I think we’re good enough to advance to the next round, if they want to. But it’s up to them.”

In their final game of the regular season, the Blugolds outshot St. Scholastica 38-23, but it was not enough to get them a win, as they fell 5-3.

The game started out with some aggressive play from the Blugolds, which allowed them to take an early lead in the first period.

Singer scored all three of the Blugolds’ goals against the Saints, gaining his first hat trick of the season. He scored his first goal of the evening within the first four minutes of play. About five minutes later, Singer found the back of the net again.

Singer said that linemates Romasco and freshman forward Ross Anderson have helped him out a lot.

“Our line’s been working really good together this weekend and the past couple of weekends,” Singer said. “We’re starting to get some good flow with each other so that helps a lot.”

But before the period was over, the Saints made their way to the net with two minutes to spare in the first, sneaking one past Eau Claire freshman goaltender Andrew Martin.

Singer scored his third goal of the night with about three minutes left in the second period. Before the period was over, the Saints got one more goal, leaving the score 3-2.

The Saints controlled the ice in the third period, and quickly tied it up when they scored their third goal of the night 24 seconds into the period. The Saints scored two more times before the whistle, taking their first lead of the night at a little over seven minutes into the third.

The Saints scored on an empty netter with a minute to go, after the Blugolds pulled goaltender Brandon Stephenson, making the final score 5-3.

Next Friday, the Blugolds will head to River Falls for the NCHA Tournament. Singer said that despite recent losses by his team, he feels the Blugolds have a good shot of advancing in playoffs.

“We just have to have a good week of practice and we’ll go from there,” Singer said. “I think this team has it in us, we just need to come together as a team and we should be fine.”