MEQUON, Wis. – Two goals over the final 3:27 put the Concordia University Wisconsin Men's Hockey team in a position to try and force overtime against UW-River Falls Friday night at the Ozaukee Ice Center. Unfortunately for CUW its late rally came up just short, resulting in a 4-3 win by UWRF in non-conference play.
Sophomore Buster Hebda (Firestone, Colo.) scored at the 16:33 mark of the final period and sophomore Chris Hughes (Dundee, Mich.) added a power play goal with 28 seconds remaining to cut the River Falls lead to 4-3. CUW charged over the final 28 seconds and put plenty of pressure on UWRF, but couldn't come up with the tying goal, allowing River Falls to escape with the one-goal victory.
Hebda finished the game with two goals, his first coming shorthanded as he recorded his first two-goal game of his career. Hebda's shorthanded goal was the first CUW has tallied this season with a man down. His second goal was assisted by senior Brandon Bayer (Milwaukee, Wis.) and freshman Michael Chen (Rockville, Md.). Chen's assist was his first career collegiate point.
UWRF built a 2-0 lead 7:48 into the contest with goals from Alex Murphy and Willie Hess. Murphy scored 3:39 into play off an assist from Mike Fazio, while Hess scored a shorthanded unassisted goal at the 7:48 mark.
Momentum then shifted in Concordia Wisconsin's favor at the 19:18 mark of the first period when Hebda scored shorthanded on an assist from sophomore Kevin Michelcavage (Sterling Heights, Mich.). Not only did Hebda bring CUW to within one, but UWRF was charged with a five-minute major for contacting the head and a game misconduct, giving the Falcons 4:18 on the power play to begin the second period.
UWRF responded to the challenge of playing a man down for an extended period of time, killing off the penalty and then going on to score two goals 2:25 apart. River Falls pushed its lead to 3-1 when Mike Williams went top shelf and then recorded a power play goal off the stick of Ryan Doner, taking a 4-1 lead into the second intermission.
The 4-1 lead appeared it would allow UWRF to coast to a win, but CUW had other ideas, scoring the two goals over the final 3:32 of play. Hughes goal was scored after Concordia Wisconsin pulled goaltender Morgan Hudson (Ottawa, Ontario.). Freshman Dylan Hutton (Ajax, Ontario) and sophomore Devin Stuermer (Milwaukee, Wis.) were credited with assists on the Hughes score.
Hudson finished the game with 21 saves as his team outshot UWRF, 33-25. CUW was trailing in shots 21-12 heading into the third stanza but they controlled the final period, outshooting UWRF 21-4. Scott Lewan recorded 30 saves, including a couple over the final 32 seconds to pick up his third victory of the season.
CUW will be back in action tomorrow night when they host the defending national champions and number one ranked team in the country, UW-Eau Claire. UWEC is ranked No. 1 by the USCHO and No. 2 by D3Hockey.com. Puck is set to drop at 7 p.m. and live stats and video will be available courtesy of CUWFalcons.com. The Blugolds also played tonight, dropping their first game of the year 5-2 against St. Norbert, a team ranked No. 1 by D3Hockey and No. 2 by the USCHO.