Four goals in the first and second period gave the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point a 9-3 win against the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Freshman forwards Andrew Kolb and Dylan Wizner scored two goals each in the win.
Senior forward Harrison Niemann got the Pointers on the board five minutes in the game, assisted by freshman defenseman Kevin Gibson and senior forward Luke Nesper. Less than a minute later, sophomore forward Max Bobrow set up Kolb for his first goal of the night and a 2-0 Point advantage.
Moments later sophomore forward Kyle Heck scored on a Kolb and Gibson assisted goal. Junior forward Johnny Meo gave the Pointers a 4-0 lead in the first period after being set up by Bobrow. Stout answered shortly before the end of the first period on a goal by junior defenseman Joe Beaudette.
“I think our key to being successful was everyone came ready to play. We played our systems well and we were up on the bench and most of all we were having fun,” said Heck.
The second period scoring began when Wizner scored his first goal of the night midway through the period, taking the Pointer lead to 5-1. Niemann assisted Wizner’s first goal, recording his second point of the night.
Blue Devils junior defenseman Jordan Tredinnick scored an unassisted goal less than a minute later to close the gap momentarily.
Kolb would record his second goal on the night moments later. Freshman forward Scott Henegar and Heck recorded the assist.
“Our youth (freshman) have matured over the year. It is important to have the whole team playing their best and I think all of our freshman do exactly that,” said Heck. “Everyone on the team has a role to play whether it’s a big save from our goalies or a big hit from Dylan Wizner, they all contribute to the team in some way.”
Junior forward Nick Kenney scored Point’s next goal, set up by junior forward Jerry Freismuth and senior forward Chad Bockman. Bockman then scored a short-handed goal to bring the Pointer lead to 8-2 after the assist by junior goalie Nick Graves.
Stout got another score before the end of the second on a power play opportunity by senior forward Brandon Gay. But a final goal in the third period by Wizner, assisted by Nesper and Niemann, gave the white out home crowd a 9-3 victory on Senior Night.
“I think our abilities over the season have really excelled. I think we have become more confident in the offensive zone after the Stout game and we need to carry that into this weekend,” said Heck
Graves recored 27 saves in his winning effort while Stout junior goalie Nick Hopper recorded 16 saves while allowing five goals. Hopper was replaced by freshman goalie Eric Wobschall who recorded seven saves and gave up four goals.
This weekend Point begins their run in the playoffs against fellow Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference member, the University of Wisconsin-Superior. The two game series will take place at K. B. Willet arena on Friday and Saturday.
“The one big thing at will help us this weekend is being at home, having our own fans at the game is a huge advantage for us, the more the fans are into the game the more we are. I think if we play our best hockey and follow the systems we will be just fine,” said Heck
The Pointers enter the tournament ranked 15 according to d3hockey.com and earned a four seed with home ice advantage in the first round. Point finished the regular season with a 12-9-4 record, 8-6-4 in conference play. Fellow WIAC member, UW-River Falls finished ranked 11. Point split the season series with River Falls 1-1-1.
“It is great that we are ranked at the 15th spot, even though we weren’t ranked at the beginning of the season we worked hard to get at the spot we are at now,” said Heck.
UWSP, currently a member of the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association, will end its NCHA affiliation and compete solely as a member of the WIAC beginning in 2014. The change affects both men’s and women’s programs and ends what will be a 27-year relationship with UWSP.
The decision is assumed to be budget related and will involve five other conferences during the split.