College Hockey:
Fast Start Carries Yellowjackets

— Two early goals would stake UW-Superior to a lead they would never relinquish as they defeated UW-Stevens Point in a NCHA conference clash 5-3 at Wessman Arena.

It didn’t take Superior long to get on the board as less than three minutes into the game an innocent looking clear from the Yellowjackets was mishandled by Stevens Point defenseman Tom Upton at the Pointer blueline. The loose puck hopped directly to a streaking Corey Stark who beat Pointer goaltender Marcus Paulson high to stake the Yellowjackets to the early lead.

If it was Superior’s goal to put the Pointers in an early hole, they would succeed less than two minutes later. Playing his first career game as a Yellowjacket, freshman forward Joel Gaulrapp would try a backhand attempt that pulled Paulson out of position just long enough for the rebound to trickle far-side to Cory Lennartson who shoveled it into a wide open net. 4:29 into the game, 2-0 Yellowjackets.

It looked like the floodgates were going to open for Superior as shortly thereafter, a tripping penalty on the Pointers would put the Yellowjackets a man up. Instead, the Pointers would spring free on a two-on-one shorthanded rush that resulted in Josh Calleja burying a pass from Pat Lee, cutting the deficit to one.

The Pointers would apply some consistent pressure late in the period but Yellowjacket goalie Chad Beiswenger would keep them off the board and Superior, on the strength of a 15-9 shot advantage, would carry the 2-1 lead into the first intermission.

The second period would begin in much the same way as the first as Superior would score two goals in the opening five minutes, though this time both would come on the power play. The first would come at the 1:31 mark as Gaulrapp would get the puck deep down the Pointers right side before flipping a pass across the top of the crease that was backhanded home by Matt Lamirande. The second follow 2:10 later as another penalty would set up a goal by Superior forward Rob Turnville.

Trailing 4-1 early in the period, the Pointers were presented an opportunity to once again rebound quickly as back-to-back Yellowjacket penalties gave the Pointers over a minute with a five-on-three advantage. Despite the advantage, Beiswenger and the Yellowjackets penalty killers, with an assist from the crossbar, would keep the Pointers off the board.

From there the period would take a turn for the wild.

First, the Pointers appeared to cut the lead to two but despite play stopping for a couple seconds following the apparent goal, the officials ruled the puck never was in the net, in turn drawing the ire of the entire Pointer team and coaching staff.

After the officials consultation with the Pointer bench finally ended a few minutes later, play resumed and Superior quickly looked to have extended its lead to 5-1 but the goal was waved off and the Pointers were assessed a slashing penalty instead.

No one would score for the rest of the period, and quite frankly even if they did it probably would have been waved off anyway.

The final stanza would remain rather uneventful until the12:52 mark whenYellowjacket forward Myles Palliser would beat the Pointer defense down the left wing and beat Paulson five-hole to ice the game for Superior.

Brett Beckfeld would notch a power play goal for the Pointers and Pat Lee would follow with an extra-attacker goal with 14 seconds remaining to round out the scoring. It wouldn’t be enough for the Pointers, however, and theYellowjackets would claim the win, earning a season sweep of the Pointers.

Beiswenger stopped 31 to pick up the win, while Paulson turned away 30 in the losing effort.

The win moves Superior to 16-4-0 on the season and 6-3-0 in the NCHA, while Stevens Point falls to 5-13-2 overall and 1-7-1 in the conference. The Yellowjackets stay home tomorrow as they host UW-Eau Claire while the Pointers travel to St. Scholastica.

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