The UW-Stevens Point men's hockey season is over after a 3-0 loss to Salve Regina (Rhode Island) in the Division III Frozen Four semifinal round.
The Pointers outshot the Seahawks 55-20, including 23-4 in the first period, but couldn't break the seal. It was the first time they were shut out all season.
"For whatever reason, those pucks didn't go in," UWSP head coach Tyler Krueger said in a phone interview with Newsline 9. "I tell the guys all the time that there are things that are out of our control, one of them being a hot goalie.
"We controlled everything that we could that game and for whatever reason it didn't work out the way that we would like it to work out."
All-American goaltender Blake Wojtala saved all 55 shots for Salve Regina. The Seahawks' offense scored on a breakaway goal in the first period, a power play in the second, and an empty-netter in the final minutes after UWSP pulled its goaltender, Max Milosek.
The Pointers finish their season at 21-6-3 after reaching their fourth Frozen Four in five years. Krueger said he is pleased with the way the season ended after a 5-3-1 start that could have left UWSP on the outside of the playoffs looking in.
"The second half stretch we had, I thought we were the best team in the country," he said. "When we were buzzing there was nothing that was going to stop us except what stopped us tonight: a hot goalie."
Krueger, who played on UWSP's Frozen Four team in 2014 and was an assistant coach on the 2015 National Runner-up and 2016 National Championship teams, said his group of players made his job much easier in his first season as the team's head coach.
"It was a fun, very rewarding group to coach... they made my job that much easier and made it fun to come to the rink every single day," the SPASH alumnus said. "They deserved better, but everything happens for a reason... These guys can hold their heads up high. One game doesn't define the season that they had and the things that they overcame."
Salve Regina will play either St. Norbert College (De Pere) or Colby College (Maine) in Saturday's National Championship.
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