Top-ranked UWSP beats third-ranked Eau Claire, remains unbeaten
Portage County Gazette
The top-ranked University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP) men’s hockey team won at home over third-ranked UW-Eau Claire Friday, Jan. 18, and then went on the road at beat UW-River Falls Saturday, Jan. 19, to remain unbeaten on the season.
The Pointers jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second period on the way to a 3-1 win over Eau Claire (16-3-2, 2-1-1), then built a 6-0 lead at River Falls (8-8-3, 0-3-1) en route a 6-2 victory to improve to 19-0-2 overall and 4-0 in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC).
Coming off a 3-1 win over fifth-ranked Augsburg (Minn.) (14-3-2) at K.B. Willett Arena Friday, Jan. 11, and a 4-1 win over St. John’s (Minn.) (8-8-3) at home Saturday, Jan. 12, UWSP hosted a Top 5 team in the nation for the second week in a row when it faced Eau Claire Friday night.
The game remained tied at 0-0 late into the first period, when junior defenseman Danny Kiraly scored on an assist from senior forward TJ Roo at the 17:13 mark to give the Pointers a 1-0 lead.
TJ Roo struck with a goal 1:28 into the second period on an assist from junior forward Luke McElhenie to increase the lead to 2-0, while junior forward Austin Kelly had a goal at the 15:17 mark of the second period on assists from junior forward Brennen Miller and senior forward B.J. Duffin to make it 3-0.
Eau Claire scored with 2:30 left in the second period to trim its deficit to 3-1, but UWSP sophomore goalie Connor Ryckman made five of his 14 saves in the third period to close out the Pointers’ 3-1 victory.
UWSP was on the road to play at River Falls the next night, when sophomore forward Carter Roo scored with 4:55 left in the first period on assists from sophomore forward Brandon McReynolds and senior defenseman Ryan Bittner to give the team a 1-0 lead, and McElhenie scored at the 17:15 mark of the first period on assists from senior defenseman Ethan Strong and senior forward Tanner Karty to make it 2-0.
It stayed that way until midway through the second period, when Miller had a goal on assists from Kelly and Bittner at the 10:05 mark, and TJ Roo struck with a goal 54 seconds later on an assist from sophomore forward Zach Zech to push the lead to 4-0.
Karty had an unassisted goal at 13:36 of the second period to make it 5-0, and sophomore forward Colin Raver scored with 2:03 to go in the second period on assists from Zech and junior defenseman Drew McLean to increase UWSP’s lead to 6-0.
River Falls scored a pair of goals in the third period to provide the final margin in the 6-2 win for the Pointers, as Ryckman made 13 saves.
UWSP has off this weekend before it travels to face UW-Stout (13-5-1, 0-1-1) at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1, and will be home the next night to take on UW-Superior (6-11-2, 0-1-1) at K.B. Willett Arena at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2.