For the first 11 minutes of action, UW-Eau Claire peppered the net with shots and made life very easy for freshman goalie Cam Haugenoe, even on the penalty kill. Despite zeroes on the scoreboard, the Blugolds had set the tone.
Then, in a three-minute span, they were rewarded.
The Blugolds scored three times — with a mix of special teams, grit and skill — to set them off to the races in a 7-0 drubbing of Hamline in nonconferece men’s hockey action Saturday night at Hobbs Ice Center.
“We got all four lines going, defense played well and Cam got a shutout,” coach Matt Loen said. “You really can’t ask for much more.”
UW-Eau Claire outshot the Pipers, who beat UW-Stevens Point a night earlier, 36-16.
Two of the Blugolds’ seven tallies came on the power play, a welcome sight for a team that came in 1-for-12 on man-advantages.
They got the first on a nifty set play started with Adam Kleven at center point. He slapped it down to Jesse Tredinnick at the goal line, who then tapped it back to Jake Hopfner looking at an empty net. He didn’t miss.
Nathan Dingmann also added a power-play goal in the second period.
“Our power play has been average the last couple of games, and it was huge to get that going tonight,” Tredinnick said.
On the flip side, the Blugolds were superb on the penalty kill, fending off a pair of 5-on-3s and even getting a couple of short-handed looks.
The Blugolds were dominant in the neutral zone and defending the point.
“It was just determination honestly,” Colton Wolter said. “Everybody wanted to put in the work blocking shots and getting a little gritty with it.”
Every goal was something different. Memorial grad Jake Bresser sniped one in on a breakaway and later assisted Tredinnick on a skillfull 2-on-1 rush.
Tyler Tomberlin won an individual battle on a rush and backhanded it through the five hole. Kyle Lee and Mac Jansen both scored rebound goals. That combination of grit and skill and executed set plays will put a smile on any coach’s face, and Loen was no exception on Saturday night.
Haugenoe, standing 6-feet-5, was effective with the blocker and pads.
“Having a big guy back there takes up a lot of net, and he’s an intimidating guy to shoot at,” Loen said. “It’s nice, these are good games for him.”