Blugold hockey extends undefeated streak to six

UW-Eau Claire hockey leaves Minnesota with a tie and a win

More stories from Austin Mai



Going undefeated is a tall order for any collegiate sports team. While UW-Eau Claire men’s hockey head coach Matt Loen said there are no expectations to go undefeated with the level of competition that exists in NCAA Division III hockey, through six games, the team hasn’t lost yet.

The No. 8 Eau Claire men’s hockey team traveled to the North Star State to face Saint John’s University (Minn.) and Concordia College-Moorhead (Minn.) this past weekend.

On Friday, the Blugolds took on a winless Johnnies squad but wasn’t able to get the result they were looking for.

“Both teams played well defensively,” junior forward Adam Knochenmus said. “Scoring chances came at a minimum and every time someone had a scoring chance they just weren’t burying it.”

Eau Claire tied Saint John’s 1-1 in overtime. This tie was the second time this season to come from scoreless overtime periods.

Knochenmus said he expects tough competition every time the Blugolds play a Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference team.

“They set us back on our heels,” Knochenmus said. “In the third period they got a goal and we were down one (to) nothing but we happened to find the net and salvage a tie out of it.”

Eau Claire bounced back the next day to defeated Concordia-Moorhead 6-3, including three goals by Knochenmus. The Blugolds led 3-1 after the first period, with two Knochenmus goals and one power-play goal by sophomore forward Todd Koritzinsky.

Knochenmus said they played a good game against Concordia-Moorhead, and it may have been partially inspired by the previous night’s loss

“We don’t like giving up ties,” Knochenmus said. “The guys responded well after Friday night’s tie and we know how important (ties) become later in the season.”

Knochenmus said he was in the right place at the right time for the goals and attributed most of the credit to his teammates. Even after scoring a power-play goal early in the second period, the praise and props kept flowing toward his teammates including junior forwards Patrick Moore, Garret Clemment and David Henry.

“Those guys did a lot of the work,” Knochenmus said. “I just kind of went for the net and they found me.”

Loen described his team’s physicality last weekend and said they were becoming more of a “grinder” team. He said the team wants to play good defense and it’ll come down to limiting opposing teams’ good shots against them.

Loen said the team’s goalies are why the team can and should play like that.

“Our goalies are pretty solid so they’ll stop the shots from outside the house,” Loen said. “As long as we can protect the house and not give up a lot of Grade-A (chances), we should be fine.”

Loen said the team has been inconsistent and must improve and play at the same level for an entire game.

“We’ve played well then go into a slump,” Loen said. “We need to play within ourselves but play well and work hard.”

Eau Claire hosts two games this weekend. Eau Claire will play Concordia University at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Lake Forest College (Ill.) at 7 p.m. Saturday, both at Hobbs Ice Center.