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

Blugolds dominate Friday matchup, then skate to a tie on Saturday night

They look to finish out the regular season strong next weekend at UW-Stout
Fourth year, Sammy Martel controls the puck on the forecheck. Photo by Chico La Barbera, used with permission from UWEC Athletics.

The Blugold men’s hockey team entered the home stretch of their regular season facing off against WIAC rival UW-River Falls. The games were played on back to back nights at Hobbs Arena. 

With the regular season winding down, both games over the weekend were critical in terms of seeding for the end-of-season WIAC tournament. The Blugolds dominated Friday’s match-up 6-0. Their resounding Friday victory was followed by a shootout loss on Saturday night. 

The weekend festivities began when the puck dropped at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. The Blugolds jumped on UW-River Falls early when fourth-year Jack Johnston found second-year Cade Lemmer out in front of the net for a goal, 2:58 into the first period. 

The rest of the first period was controlled by the Blugolds but to no avail on the scoreboard. The rest of the game was led by UW-Eau Claire’s offense, scoring two more goals in the second period then three more to close out the game in the third. 

The shots on goal were relatively even, 30-24. UW-Eau Claire had an abundance of quality shots on net and scoring chances whereas UW-River Falls had only a handful of quality looks all night. 

It was senior night at Hobbs Arena for the Blugolds, a sentimental pregame for seniors on the squad.

Both teams came out firing in the second, netting two goals a piece. The Blugolds equalized the score, putting one behind the UW-River Falls goaltender with less than a minute to go in the period. 

Both teams fought hard in the third period but neither could add a tally to their goal total resulting in the teams to tie. That being said, the action carried over into a 3 vs. 3 overtime period in which neither team could find the back of the net. 

Following overtime the teams went toe to toe in a shootout, where the Blugolds ultimately fell to UW-River Falls.

Head coach Matt Loen talked about the seniors and what they bring to the team following the shootout on Saturday night. 

“Leadership as a group has got them a lot of wins,” Loen said. “They’re great people off the ice, good students, and great for our program all the years they’ve been here.”

Tyler Love, a graduate student, commented on the focus of the team heading into the end of the regular season and WIAC tournament. 

“Just keep doing what we’re doing, we’re 7-1 in our last eight games so staying focused on our process is the main thing,” Love said.

According to Love, the Blugold locker room is confident as they look to make a run in the WIAC tournament.

The Blugolds close out their regular season at UW-Stout next weekend with hopes of securing the N0. 2 seed in the WIAC tournament. After the weekend series, UW-Eau Claire fell to No. 19 in the national rankings and is looking to finish their regular season on a high note. 

Duea can be reached at [email protected]

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