The St. Olaf men’s hockey team took on University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire in a two-game series on Nov. 7-8 at the Northfield Ice Arena. St. Olaf was looking to win its first game of the 2014-15 season, following back-to-back losses against Bethel University and Gustavus Adolphus College in pre-season exhibition contests. Despite the Blugolds overcoming the Oles 3-0 in the first contest, St. Olaf managed to reverse its fortunes in the second, recording a 3-2 victory.
In the first encounter on Nov. 7, the Oles fought strongly in the first period, as neither team managed to open up its scoring accounts.
However, the Blugolds took a 1-0 advantage 13 minutes into the second period when Adam Knochenmus ’17 beat goaltender Steve Papciak ’15. The Blugolds scored again just six minutes later to further the lead, which left the Oles trailing 0-2 going into the final period.
Ethan Nauman ’16 gave Eau Claire a 3-0 lead when he scored ten minutes into the final period. It was the final goal of the game, with the Blugolds winning 3-0. St. Olaf held a 34-32 edge in shots on goal, but were unable to get anything past Blugolds’ goaltender Tyler Green ’16.
The second contest on Nov. 8 gave the Oles an immediate opportunity to seek revenge against the Blugolds. St. Olaf scored thirteen minutes into the first period when Brian Hickey ’15 scored a fantastic unassisted goal.
Eau Claire tied the game in the second period; however, Mike Erickson ’16 quickly responded for the Oles, scoring to put St. Olaf up 2-1. The Blugolds once again drew level in the final period on the back of an Elliot Grauer ’17 goal.
With just six minutes remaining, Steven Sherman ’17 scored the game-winner for St. Olaf, giving the Oles a much needed victory. Goaltender Papciak was strong for St. Olaf, making 48 saves in the 3-2 win. The Blugolds outshot the Oles 50-33.
St. Olaf returns to Northfield Ice Arena on Nov. 14 for a MIAC clash with Saint John’s University. Last time the two teams met, it was the Johnnies who were victorious, defeating the Oles 7-4. The game is important to both sides, as it is the first official conference game for each team.
Photo Credit: ANDREW WILDER/MANITOU MESSENGER