The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Women’s hockey wins, men’s hockey ties

The teams end the weekend undefeated
Both teams continue conference play this week. (Photo by Zach Jacobson, used with permission from Blugold Athletics)

The UW-Eau Claire women’s hockey team started off the conference season strong this weekend, beating Northland and UW-Superior at home. 

The Blugolds started the weekend off by taking down Northland College 5-2, outshooting them 41-14 during the contest. 

The first Blugold goal came towards the end of the first period when Hattie Verstegen scored on a power play, one of four power-play goals throughout the night. 

Eden Gruber scored the second goal of the night halfway into the second period, her first of two goals that evening. Gruber’s second goal came during a power play in the third period. 

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Sadie Long and Maddie Hulter also scored for UW-Eau Claire, with both goals coming in the second period during power plays. 

Alexa Backmann got the win at goalie, stopping 12 of the 14 shots that she faced. 

With five different players netting the puck, coach Erik Strand said strong recruiting allows the team to have enough depth for that to happen. 

“It is a big part of our recruiting efforts to seek talented Blugolds so that we have a lot of talent at each position,” Strand said. “We have been very fortunate to attract a lot of talented student-athletes who thrive in our system and who are committed towards reaching their full potential.”

On Saturday, the team saw themselves back at home for another conference matchup, this time against UW-Superior. 

In a back-and-forth game, the Blugolds prevailed, beating the Yellowjackets 4-2. 

The first goal of the game was by UW-Superior, scoring just two minutes into the game. Their only other goal came partway through the second period. 

UW-Eau Claire’s first goal of the night, once again, came during a power play in the first period. Verstegen, a fourth-year forward, once again found the back of the net, collecting her second goal of the weekend. 

“Maintaining consistency and building off of each shift throughout the game allows me to generate points,” Verstegen said. “My linemates complement each other really well, and we have fun together which contributes to the success we have.”

Sophie Rausch grabbed two goals on the night, her first coming with two minutes left in the game, tying the score at 2-2. Rausch scored her second goal a few minutes later with just 20 seconds left in the game. 

In the end, Gruber was the star of the night, putting the Blugolds up 3-2 with less than two minutes left in the game. 

As the team prepares to take on a tough UW-River Falls this weekend, Strand said they are ready to start watching film and work through practices in preparation. 

“We will design practice to try to mimic the space that we think can be available for us to create some offense,” Strand said. “We’re also focusing on some areas in our defensive zone that we will need to be better at to give us a chance to have success.”

Women’s hockey is back at home on Saturday, Nov. 18 against UW-River Falls. Puck drop is at 2 p.m.

UW-Eau Claire men’s hockey also had a game this weekend, tying Bethel University at home 2-2. 

Bethel got up early, scoring their first goal towards the end of the first period. The Blugolds answered back halfway through the second period when Kyler Grundy put a goal in. 

The score stayed 1-1 until the last two minutes of the game when Tyler Herzberg scored, putting the Blugolds up with just over a minute left in regulation. 

The Royals quickly answered back, scoring their second goal of the night with 45 seconds left, forcing overtime.

Ultimately, neither team was able to jump ahead in the extra minutes, leading to the contest ending in a tie. 

Coach Matthew Loen said he was expecting more from the team. 

“Our effort just wasn’t there, not sure why, but some things just weren’t going right,” Loen said. “We were pretty disappointed in the tie since we thought we’d be able to pull away with the win. 

Looking ahead, the Blugolds are ready to start off conference play as they face three conference opponents this week. 

“The message is to go into our first game against (UW-Stevens Point) with a lot of energy and effort,” Loen said. “It’s a tough place to play, so we have to work hard.”

Men’s hockey is back on the road Tuesday, Nov. 14 for a conference matchup against UW-Stevens Point. Start time is at 7 p.m. in Stevens Point. 


Hokanson can be reached at [email protected]

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