UW-Eau Claire women’s hockey loses in O’Brien Cup finals

Blugolds fall to UW-River Falls in championship game

Charlotte Becker

More stories from Charlotte Becker



“We always try and play for the team and not for ourselves,” hockey player Sophie Rausch said. (File Photo)

The UW-Eau Claire women’s hockey team lost to UW-River Falls on March 4 at Hunt Arena in River Falls. The game was the final championship in the O’Brien Cup.

This was the seventh straight year that the Blugold women’s hockey team has competed in the final of the O’Brien Cup, according to coach Erik Strand.

“We head over to Hunt Arena this weekend and go for our seventh shot at the O’Brien Cup championship and it is absolutely remarkable,” Strand said. “The energy levels are high, the optimism is high — everybody right now is just dialed in.”

UW-Eau Claire and UW-River Falls are familiar opponents, according to fourth-year biology student Jordyn McAlpine.

“They have been working the last couple of weeks and probably changing up a couple of things just like we have been doing,” McAlpine said. “We know what they are gonna bring and we know what we have to bring, so we are ready to go.”

The team had previously gone up against UW-River Falls three times throughout the season. The first game took place on Nov. 19 and ended with a Blugold loss. 

The second and third games were a part of the WIAC championship and took place on Feb. 17 and 18. The second game ended in a 7-4 UW-Eau Claire win and the third ended in a 1-1 tie. This earned the Blugolds second seed in the WIAC tournament.

According to McAlpine, the games between UW-Eau Claire and UW-River Falls are often intense but a good challenge for the opponents.

“It is always coming down to us in the WIAC Championship, so it is really exciting and always a really fun game,” McAlpine said. “It is such a fast-paced and high-energy game. We all usually play our best game of the year.”

The teams have a history of tough competition, according to Strand.

“I know how much we respect River Falls — I feel it is a mutual respect,” Strand said. “And so this will be a really hard game and fast-paced.”

The O’Brien Cup championship ended with a final score of 5-1 in favor of UW-River Falls. McAlpine scored the only goal for the Blugolds in the third period.  

Both the Blugolds and the UW-River Falls Falcons work hard, according to Strand. Neither of the teams wanted to face a loss.

“Both of us want our programs to have success,” Strand said. “You want your players to feel the joy and not the hurt. You know how much everyone is putting into it and if you are on the wrong side of it, it hurts. We want our team to be feeling the excitement, not the pain.”

Even through the losses, fans coming to cheer the team on makes a difference, according to recent graduate in rehabilitation science Hallie Sheridan

“This season has been super awesome,” Sheridan said. “We love when we have fans showing up to our games and packing the stands, so keep that up.”

Becker can be reached at [email protected].