UWEC hockey teams sweep to start off the season

#9 women’s hockey and #14 men’s hockey win
Hockey opens the season at home with a pair of wins. (Shane Opatz, UWEC Photography)
Hockey opens the season at home with a pair of wins. (Shane Opatz, UWEC Photography)

The UW-Eau Claire men’s hockey team opened up the season against No. 13 Augsburg University on Friday at Hobbs Municipal Ice Arena. 

After a back and forth game between the two ranked teams, the Blugolds pulled out the win with a score of 5-4, snagging the winning goal in overtime. 

Both teams scored two goals in the first period before the Auggies jumped ahead in the second, leading UW-Eau Claire 4-2. The Blugolds came back to score to make the game 4-3. 

Heading into the third period and down by a single goal, the Blugolds netted the puck once more, tying the game up and forcing extra time. 

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Heading into overtime, head coach Matt Loen gave the team a boost, providing them advice to keep moving forward. 

“The message was to finish the game strong, keep puck possession and don’t give the puck away,” Loen said. 

The team did just that, scoring the winning goal just one minute into the extra period. 

The goals for the Blugolds came from Jack Johnston, Leo Bacallao, Aaron Swanson, Quinn Green and Tyler Love.

After notching a win against a ranked opponent to start off the season, Loen said he is looking to use the momentum going forward. 

“It’s always a good test to open the season against a pre-season ranked opponent,” Loen said. “We take games one at a time, and, hopefully, this win can propel us into next weekend as we face two good teams on the road. 

Blugolds men’s hockey heads to Saint John’s University this Friday for their first away game of the year. Puck drop against the Johnnies is at 6 p.m. in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

On the other side of the ice, the UW-Eau Claire women’s hockey team also opened play this weekend, beating the College of Staint Benedict at home. 

The Blugolds opened play on Friday night with a 4-3 win against the Bennies, scoring the final goal in the third period.

Scoring the goals on Friday night were Sadie Long, Eden Gruber and Sophie Rausch

The team then turned around to Saturday’s game against the Bennies, this time beating them 7-1.

Head coach Erik Strand said that they were smarter about their execution during the Saturday game, leading to more dominance than the night before. 

“I would say the difference was we were more specific at how we were releasing our shots,” Strand said. “We chose smarter shots to take and were more successful with our execution. Both nights, I really liked how we held the majority of the momentum.”

Rausch, a fifth-year forward, collected a team high four goals over the weekend. She said her ability to step up in close games comes from her desire to win. 

“I have a fiercely competitive personality and that takes over in those close games,” Rausch said. “I also rely on my drive and confidence to help me out.”

The team is currently ranked seventh in the nation and second in the conference. Strand said the team is looking to be successful the rest of the season, aiming towards winning the championship. 

“We believe we have a great chance at pursuing a conference championship with the overall goal being winning it all,” Strand said. “This group is very focused and energized towards winning a national championship as well.”

The Blugolds are on the road Friday, traveling to Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota for a 2 p.m. game before heading back home on Saturday for a home game against the College of Saint Scholastica. Puck drop is 7 p.m. at Hobbs Municipal Ice Arena. 


Hokanson can be reached at [email protected].

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