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

    Men’s hockey eliminated from historic post-season

    Lyssa Beyer

    MENOMONIE – It all came down to the overtime. The UW-Eau Claire men’s hockey team’s historic playoff run came to an abrupt end when UW-Stout player Scott Motz slid the puck past Blugold sophomore goalie Tyler Brigl in a 3-2 overtime win that sent Stout to the NCAA championships where it will face St. Norbert College.

    After the goal that came with 5:47 left in overtime, Brigl remained motionless at the net for several moments, head bent, while his teammates quickly skated out to embrace him.

    It was the end for the team that made Blugold history by advancing to the semifinal round of the Peters Cup playoffs, something an Eau Claire team has never done. The Blugolds got to Stout by defeating UW-Superior last week 4-2 in the first game. They lost 5-0 in the next game, forcing a mini-game. Eau Claire won the mini-game 1-0, also something the team had never done.

    “I’m proud of the guys, it’s a tough way to lose,” coach Matt Loen said. “I’m trying to get my thoughts together, I’m flabbergasted that we lost. But the guys played well. We put in the time, we put in the effort, we played exactly the way we should have. They just got the last goal unfortunately.”

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    After a scoreless first period, the Blue Devils got on the board only 25 seconds into the second period on a power play. The Devils are well-known for power play goals, and Loen said it was the Blugolds’ goal to shut that down.

    “That was our goal, to stay out of the box,” Loen said. “We worked on the penalty kill a little bit this week. Their power plays are good, we only gave up one power play goal. And we got a power play goal, so really it’s a wash.”

    Eau Claire retaliated less than two minutes later when sophomore Bryan Plaszcz lit the lamp with an assist from junior Andrew Johnson. The goal was on a power play.

    The Blugolds took the lead 14 minutes into the second period when junior Peter Bracker got the puck past the Stout goalie with an assist from junior Dan Fina.

    Eau Claire took the lead up until 15 minutes into the third period, when Stout scored a goal to force the overtime.

    “It was a good battle,” Johnson said. “We played our systems, and in overtime, breaks can go either way.”

    Despite taking the loss, Brigl had a good night at the net, blocking 36 shots. The Blue Devils outshot Eau Claire 39 to 28.

    The Blugolds finish their season with an 11-16-1 record overall.

    “I’m satisfied with the season,” Johnson said. “We got a playoff win, Eau Claire has never done that. We’re looking to build, and we’ve got a lot of guys coming back. It’s hard to be satisfied with a loss, but you have to take the positive.”

    Loen said he is proud of how far the team went.

    “As an alum, as a Blugold athletic backer, it’s great for our program,” he said. “I talked to the guys after the game, that this is a statement we need to make. We need to work hard in the off season and keep it going.”

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    Men’s hockey eliminated from historic post-season