Third period goals lead Yellowjackets past Blue Devils
Yellowjackets 4, Blue Devils 1
Friday night at Wessman Arena, the Yellowjacket men's hockey team looked to keep themselves firmly entrenched atop the NCHA standings, and they needed late heroics all night long to do it. Goals in the final minute of each the first and second periods coupled with a pair of goals in the last five minutes of regulation gave the Yellowjackets a 4-1 win over UW-Stout, in a game that was closer than the score indicated.
The started with a flourish, going over five minutes before the first whistle was blown. From there, the Blue Devils carried the majority of the play, and eventually outshot the Yellowjackets. It was one harmless shot, however, that put the Yellowjackets ahead for good. Cody Hotchkin (Duluth, Minn./Denfeld) entered the Stout zone on the right wing and, from the boards, let a shot go that knuckled and seemed to fool goaltender Tom Lescovich, beating him on the long side to make it 1-0 with just 21.8 seconds left in the period. Tanner Dion (Hardisty, Alberta/Central Sedgewick) and Alec Doig (New Prague, Minn./New Prague) assisted on Hotchkin's first career goal.
In the second period the Yellowjackets came out and carried more of the play, however the Blue Devils had the best scoring chance. Midway through the period, Zach Vierling split the defense and went alone, faking to his forehand and pulling to the backhand, but Drew Strandberg (Thunder Bay, Ontario/Westgate CV&I) was there to shut the door and keep it a one-goal. As the period was winding down, Tom Budziakowski (Toronto, Ontario/Bishop Allen Academy) got the puck in the neutral zone and carried into Stout territory, feeding the right wing where Pat Dalbec (Superior, Wis./Superior Senior) moved in on goal, going to the backhand and beating Lescovich to make it 2-0 with just one minute to play in the period. It was the team-leading fourth goal of the season for Dalbec.
The Blue Devils were finally able to break through at 8:53 of the third period when Mike Hartviksen pounced on a loose puck and beat Strandberg to make it 2-1. The Yellowjackets would get some insurance at 14:32 when Brett Meyers (Brooklyn Park, Minn./Champlin Park) drove the net and took a feed from Andy Singerhouse (Hudson, Wis./Hill-Murray), and slid it through Lescovich to make it 3-1. The Stout goaltender got plenty of the puck, just not enough to keep it from crossing the line, giving Meyers his second goal of the year. The Yellowjackets closed out the scoring while shorthanded. Justin Faryna (Calgary, Alberta) took a pass in the neutral zone from Singerhouse and carried up the left wing, evaded a defender and took a shot from between the circles that beat Lescovich to make the final score 4-1.
Faryna has now scored in all three games he's played since returning from an injury. Singerhouse has picked up points in five consecutive games. As a team, the Yellowjackets have three shorthanded goals in their last two games, two of them coming from Faryna.
Strandberg picked up his third win of the season, making 26 saves. Lescovich finished with 23 saves for Stout.
The Yellowjackets took four penalties for eight minutes and went 0-2 on the power play. The Blue Devils, meanwhile, took three penalties for six minutes and went 0-3 with the man advantage.
The Yellowjackets (4-1-2, 3-0-2 NCHA) will close out the series with UW-Stout on Saturday, November 19 at Wessman Arena. The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. and can be heard live locally KUWS 91.3 FM, beginning with the pre-game show at 6:45 p.m. If you are outside the local listening area you can tune in on the web at www.ifan.tv. You can also watch the game via pay-per-view through UW-Superior's official online partner AmericaOne. Jon Garver will have call.