The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

    Brutal defeat

    David Taintor

    The UW-Eau Claire, UW-Stout rivalry was in full force Friday night at Hobbs Ice Arena. Fans from both teams packed the arena for Eau Claire’s final regular season home game of the season.

    The two teams combined for 21 total penalties in a physical game that showed the rivalry at its best. Both teams took many shots and played an even game, but in the end Stout was a little better and won the game 3-1.The Blue Devils got on the board first at the 8:07 mark of the first period. Shortly after that, Stout got a lucky bounce as the shot was deflected and found a way past junior goalie Tyler Brigl to give them a 2-0 lead.

    “They got a lucky goal, that second goal ticked off like three things and went between Brigl’s legs,” head coach Matt Loen said. “Those are the breaks we don’t get.”

    After those two goals, the Blue Devils looked to blow the game open, but Brigl was up to the task, making some big saves to keep the Blugolds in the game.

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    Junior forward Joe Bluhm got the Blugolds back in the game with just 14 seconds remaining in the first period. Bluhm took a pass from senior line-mate Andrew Johnson and gave the Blugolds a bit of hope heading into the second period.

    “We were fortunate enough to get a goal and that was real big getting momentum going in at the end of the period,” Bluhm said.

    Stout came out and dominated most of the second period as the Blue Devils outshot Eau Claire 20-10. Brigl stopped all 20 shots though and kept his team in the game. Eau Claire was not able to score on Stout senior goalie Matt Koenig either, and the score remained 2-1 in favor of Stout.

    The beginning of the third period proved to be the back-breaker for the Blugolds. Just 19 seconds in, the Blue Devils put one past Brigl to give them what seemed like a commanding 3-1 lead.

    The Blugolds seemingly got within one goal late in the game, but the goal was waved off by the official as he said the net was off its moorings before the puck crossed the line. Koenig received a two-minute penalty for a delay of game for the play, but shortly after that, the Blugolds took a penalty and were not able to capitalize on the power play.

    After the disallowed goal, the Blugolds were not able to get anything going as they struggled all night to solve Koenig. Koenig was coming off one his best weeks of the season as he was named NCHA player of the week last week.

    Shots for the night were even, with Stout taking 39 while Eau Claire took 37. Both goalies played well and made some big saves, but the difference in the game was Stout got the bounces and Eau Claire did not.

    “It can get frustrating when we’re not getting bounces, it’s not going in,” Bluhm said. “We need to find a way, if we want to win games, to put the puck in the net.”

    Saturday night, the Blugolds continued their scoring struggles as they dropped a 2-1 game to UW-River Falls. Bluhm notched the only goal for Eau Claire for the second consecutive night.

    The Blugolds outshot the Falcons 42-22 in the game but again were not on the right side of the bounces.

    With only three games left in the regular season, all coming against ranked opponents, the Blugolds will have to find a way to score.

    “As a team, we’re not playing together,” Loen said. “We’re right there on the fence, we’re ready to do something.”

    The Blugolds will be back in action next weekend. Their task does not get any easier as they will face No. 3 UW-Superior on Friday night and No. 2 St. Scholastica (Minn.) on Saturday night. Both games will be on the road as the Blugolds try to find a way to get back on track heading into the final stretch.

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