Men’s hockey sees the good and the bad in a three-game stretch


Over the past couple of weeks, the UW-Eau Claire men’s hockey team saw a couple of firsts for the season. St. Norbert College gave the team its first two losses of the season, but the Blugolds also defeated Concordia University in a shutout, 7-0.

After falling to St. Norbert Nov. 22, the men knew they’d have to bring their all against Concordia the next night, senior forward Jon Waggoner said.

“That shutout felt good,” he said. “We needed a rebound, especially after the loss Friday night. We needed a comeback for Saturday night.”

Waggoner scored the first goal of the night, taking advantage of a power play. Sophomore defenseman Jeff Pauluk and senior defenseman Alex Olson assisted.

Not two and a half minutes later, senior forward Brian Nehring scored on a shorthanded goal.

Before the first period was over, the Blugolds would score two more times, with goals made by sophomore forward Charles Thauwald and Waggoner.

The men went into the second period with a four-goal lead, but they didn’t need to worry about falling behind. The Blugolds’ defense and freshman goalie Jay Deo kept Concordia from scoring.

The game was Deo’s second career start and he was able to block all of Concordia’s 29 shots.

The second period proved more difficult for the Blugolds to score, and they added only one more goal to the score thanks to Thauwald.

Junior forward Joe Krause and freshman forward Jason Eddy scored the final two goals of the night in the third period.

The men had a more difficult time against St Norbert, however. They fell 5-2 and also fell to them 8-2 on Nov. 27.

Sophomore forward Ethan Nauman said the games against St. Norbert are a good way of measuring where the Blugolds were at on the season.

Last season, the Blugold men’s hockey team ended St. Norbert’s season during the NCAA championships.

“We weren’t expecting to lose two times,” Waggoner said. “We ended their season last year and they had a chip on their shoulder. We beat them four out of six games last year and they obviously held a grudge.”

In the first game against St. Norbert this season, Waggoner was the only Blugold to score, making the team’s two goals in the second and third periods.

Waggoner said he’s just trying to keep his consistent out on the ice.

“This year I’m keeping it simple, just trying to get shots through,” Waggoner said “For a couple of those shots against St. Norbert, it was about just getting through the traffic to the net.”

Sophomore goalie Tyler Green was in the net, and while he was able to block 27 out of 32 shots, he still saw his first collegiate loss.

The Blugolds will be back home on Friday, Dec. 6 facing off against UW-Stevens Point in their opening game of the WIAC conference this season.

“It’s going to be a battle,” Waggoner said. “Point is undefeated so far, and they’ve got a great lineup. It’s really anybody’s game. It’s going to come down to who wants it more.”

This will mark the first season that conference teams will compete solely under WIAC, after previously being members of the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association. In October, Eau Claire was picked as the team expected to win the WIAC title this year.