EAU CLAIRE, Wis. — The Wisconsin-Eau Claire Blugolds out-defensed the Wisconsin-Stevens Point Pointers in a 4-1 victory on Saturday.
The Blugolds’ Ian Sgambelluri scored three goals on the night to lift the Blugolds to their first win of the season. But it wasn’t just Sgambelluri’s offense that did the trick tonight, it was also the stingy Blugold defense that helped goalie Jon Walker pick up his first victory of the season.
The Pointers gained the early advantage as Ryan Maxson picked up a great pass from Randy Enders and scored 4:49 into the first period, putting the Pointers out in front 1-0.
From then on, the story was penalties and Blugold defense. Combined, the two teams amassed 57 minutes in penalties.
The Blugolds tied the game at the 14:31 mark of the first period as Sgambelluri and Jamie Minor worked a picture perfect two on one while shorthanded to wrap up the first-period scoring.
The second period was a penalty-riddled mess with Wisconsin-Stevens Point getting called for four penalties (19 minutes) and Wisconsin-Eau Claire receiving five penalties for 18 minutes. Included in the four penalties for the Pointers was a checking-from-behind call on Nick Glander, in which he received a five-minute major and a game misconduct. For the Blugolds, Tim Murphy was whistled for a 10-minute misconduct for arguing what he felt was a missed call.
Brian Buskowiak and Sgambelluri worked a pretty two on one with Sgambelluri putting it away on the back door, giving the Blugolds their first lead of the weekend at the 19:47 mark of the second.
It took Wisconsin-Eau Claire little time to extend its lead coming out of the dressing room — 34 seconds. The Pointers’ Maxson was whistled for a penalty just eight seconds into the third and that would give the Blugolds the opening they were looking for. Sgambelluri put a shot on net from the side boards and goalie Dave Cinelli couldn’t get across the goal mouth quick enough to cover up, and Mike Lucenti was able to extend the Blugold lead to two, breaking the Pointers’ streak of 12 straight successful penalty kills to start out the season.
The Pointers had a very hard time getting through the neutral zone for the remainder of the period. The final tally of the game belonged to Sgambelluri, as he was able to tuck away an empty-netter with just six seconds remaining on the clock.
Walker, back Saturday after taking Friday off, stopped 34 of the 35 shots put on him. Cinelli, seeing his first action of the season, made 30 saves on 34 attempts.