Men’s hockey stays perfect with Minnesota sweep

Away in Minnesota over the weekend on their first road games of the season, the UW-Eau Claire men’s hockey team racked up two more wins and is now 4-0-0 on the season.

The Blugolds faced Hamline (Minn.) Friday and won 6-1.

Sophomore Ethan Nauman said the Blugolds’ defense is what got them the win.

“We played good defense, and that just transitioned into scoring chances,” Nauman said. “Hamline, they’re just younger so we had age on our side and everything so everyone just gelled together real well.”

Nauman and senior defenseman David Donnellan both scored two goals throughout the night.

Senior forward Jared Williams started the scoring at 3:32 in the first period.

Junior forward Joe Krause scored his first goal as a Blugold at 12:13 in the first period. Krause transferred to Eau Claire from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, and this is his first season playing hockey for Eau Claire.

Making his goaltending debut for the Blugolds,

freshman goalie Jay Deo made 20 saves out of 21 shots.

Deo said he was excited to get out on the ice.

“It was awesome, quite the debut for my college career,” he said “Going into the game, I had some nerves and wasn’t sure what to expect because I hadn’t played since last April.”

Hamline came into the second period fast and furious, grabbing their only goal of the night just 58 seconds in. But Deo was there to block the rest of the shots.

Nauman said Deo played well for his first start, and the team’s defense was there to make sure Deo didn’t have too many shots thrown at him.

“We’re just trying to build depth at goalie right now moving forward,” Nauman said. “He’s a good goalie, he’s a quick goalie. He’s a little bit smaller, but he has a very good glove hand.”

Donnellan and Nauman wouldn’t let Hamline have the last goal of the night. They went back and forth over the second and third periods, taking turns getting the puck into the net. Both men scored a goal in each of the two final periods.

On Saturday, the Blugolds were in Blaine, Minn., and defeated Bethel University (Minn.) 2-1.

Sophomore goalie Tyler Green was back in the net and was able to keep Bethel from making a goal until the third period. Green racked up 28 saves on 29 goals for the night, his third victory on the season.

Junior forward Ross Andersen scored the first goal of the night at 6:02 in the first period, with assists from Krause and senior forward Daniel Olszewski.

Neither team was able to score until the second period when Krause sunk the puck into the net just under five minutes in with Olszewski assisting again.

Bethel came into the night looking for their first win of the season, and head coach Matt Loen said it was a tougher game than Friday’s.

“They have a couple of good players,” Loen said. “And we had a lot of scoring opportunities that we didn’t quite make.”

The Royals’ Grant Dye was able to grab a goal at 2:06 in the third period. The Blugolds made sure to keep Bethel from scoring for the rest of the game, but were unable to make any more goals of their own.

Nauman said the team took a lot of penalties against Bethel, but the Blugolds’ penalty kill played well.

This season, the Blugolds haven’t let any of their opponents score while a team member was sitting out a penalty as they are 100 percent on the season with successful penalty kills, Nauman said.

The Blugolds didn’t leave the Bethel game entirely unscathed, however. Andersen left the game with a concussion. Loen said Anderson is doing fine, but will be unable to play this weekend.

Next weekend the Blugolds will face the also unbeaten St. Norbert. The Green Knights were ranked No. 2 in the poll released last week, just behind the Blugolds at No. 1.

Nauman said the team won’t let any team injuries serve as an excuse this weekend, and St. Norbert is going to be the team to beat.

“They have some key additions they’ve added this summer,” he said. “So they’re going to be very tough, very good and hard game on either side. It’ll be a good measuring stick to see where we are after this weekend.”