Men’s hockey’s work not done yet

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Men’s hockey’s work not done yet

Story by Martha Landry, News Editor

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Being nationally ranked third in D3hockey.com and USCHO.com’s Top 15 rankings hasn’t gone to the heads of the UW-Eau Claire men’s hockey team.

Even with a record-breaking team, Coach Matt Loen said they aren’t getting ahead of themselves. It’s early in the season still so the Eau Claire hockey men are taking it one game at a time.

Currently, the men’s record is 9-0-1, with their only tie against St. Norbert (Green Bay). Senior captain Jordan Singer said beating St. Norbert was a huge accomplishment. He said the tie puts a bit of a damper on their record but the last time the Blugolds beat the Green Knights in Green Bay was 1994 — which gave the men something to celebrate.

Singer, the leading scorer for Eau Claire, said there are many factors for the team’s success this season but the most prominent would be their depth.

“I think it’s just more of a well-balanced team,” Singer said. “We have a lot of guys on the team that can score. We have been playing well together offensively and defensively.”

With 21 upperclassmen on the team, Loen said there is a lot of support and experience the older men can bring. Sophomore forward Ross Andersen, has played in every game so far this year and sits with five goals.

“It’s fun being able to contribute to the team’s success,” Andersen said. “Being one of the younger guys, I’m able to be on the line with Singer and (senior Andrew) McCabe. I’m able to look up to them and that helps.”

With 10 games under their belt, the Blugolds aren’t allowing themselves to get too excited. McCabe said they are using their depth and experience and hope to carry their success into the second half of the season.

“Traditionally we have gotten off to a fast start,” McCabe said. “Our achilles heel is coming back after Christmas and fading away a little bit. That is something we definitely want to change this year.”

Eau Claire is feeling a target on their back, Loen said. To prepare, the men are keeping it in their head that every team will be bringing their best game against the Blugolds.

“The bulls-eye on us gets a little bigger,” Singer said. “You are going to get everyone’s best game when they come to play you. It’s good, makes us better. But it also makes it tougher to stay perfect.”

The Blugolds traditionally do start the season strong, McCabe said, but having a record ranking is still exciting for the team and they are grateful for the recognition for their hard work.

This season, Eau Claire has three transfer students, each coming from Division I schools.

“Having that experience, coming from a Division I program has really helped us as a team,” Singer said. “They know what it takes to play at a higher level and bringing that to our team has been really helpful.”

A theme from the team has been to take each game as it comes. Anderson said last season, the Blugolds were over-confident and they aren’t allowing themselves to get certain of their chances of success.

“Last year (Loen) kind of expected us to do well and we didn’t do as well as we should have,” Andersen said.

With only four games left before break — important, all-conference games, Loen said — the team is going to play their best to have the best record they can going into the winter break.

“We have set a high standard now and we have to keep living up to that,” Singer said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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