STEVENS POINT, Wis. — Wisconsin-Stevens Point won a hard-fought battle at the K.B. Willett Arena Friday night, 4-2 over Wisconsin-Eau Claire to pick up two NCHA points.
The Pointers put the pressure on early, but couldn’t solve the riddle of Blugold goalie Scott Sutton. Following a two-on-none breakaway stopped by Sutton, the Pointers were finally able to crack the Blugold defense 6:26 into the first when Zenon Kochan worked off a faceoff, walked out in front and snapped a shot under Sutton’s arm to stake the Pointers to a 1-0 lead.
Six and a half minutes later, the Pointers added another tally. With the Pointers on the power play, Ryan Maxson picked a loose puck out of the pile in front of the Blugold net and poked it home for the second goal of the night.
Wisconsin-Eau Claire cut the Pointer lead to one with a pretty goal by Mike Lucenti, who got Pointer goalie Bob Gould going the other way and stuck it in the back of the net to finish the first-period scoring.
Following action on both ends to open the second, the Pointers rippled the twine once again as sophomore Joel Marshall used a Blugold defender as a screen to rifle one over the shoulder of Sutton and put the Pointers back up by two.
The remainder of the second period was spent in the neutral zone as both teams struggled to gain control. The Pointers caught a break in the last minute of the period as Wisconsin-Eau Claire was whistled for too many men on the ice, and the Pointers wasted no time in scoring. Kochan picked up his second goal of the night by taking the puck off a neutral-zone faceoff and scoring just :03 into the power play, at the 19:47 mark, to stake the Pointers to a three-goal lead heading into the third.
A total of 12 penalties were called between the two teams in the third as both teams struggled to get things going. The only goal of the third period belonged to the Blugolds as Chris Hunter beat Gould between the pads to cut the Pointer lead to two.
The remainder of the period was a referee’s nightmare. At the 14:08 mark, the Pointers were whistled for having too many men on the ice, but at the same time, officials Shawn Houser Nick Gignac were conferring in front of the scorer’s bench as Blugold Erik Strand lay face down at center ice. The result of the conference was a five-minute major for spearing and a game disqualification for the Pointers’ Mikhail Salienko. The game DQ means that Salienko will miss Saturday night’s rematch in Eau Claire.
The Pointers ended the game with 13 penalties for 37 minutes and the Blugolds, 11 for 22. Wisconsin-Stevens Point was 2-for-6 on the power play and kept the Blugolds off the board on the power play in seven attempts.
The same two teams go at it again Saturday night at Hobbs Arena in Eau Claire at 7:30 CT.