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

    Hockey advances to semis

    The Camaraderie, a well-known and popular bar and restaurant on Water Street, was almost completely destroyed by a fire that swept through the building on the morning of Jan. 7.

    The UW-Eau Claire men’s hockey team won both games of its Northern Collegiate Hockey Association quarterfinal series against the UW-River Falls Falcons over the weekend.

    The weekend was an important one for the team, as it determined whether the Blugolds or the ninth-ranked Falcons would continue to the semifinals in the NCHA Peters Cup playoffs.

    This is the fourth time in Eau Claire’s history that the Blugolds have made it past the first round of playoffs, the last time being in 2008, coach Matt Loen said.

    Story continues below advertisement

    “The toughest thing to do in our league is to get past the first round,” Loen said.

    Loen said River Falls, Stout, St. Scholastica and St. Norbert are all tough teams to beat, especially as they’ve fared well during the playoffs in the past.

    “They’ve all had a tie or victory under their belts,” he said. “And River Falls is ranked ninth and we knocked them off. It was a good win for us.”

    On Friday, two goals late in the game got the Blugolds their first win of the weekend, beating River Falls 3-1.

    Junior forward Kurt Weston scored two of the Blugolds’ goals, the first with less than two minutes left in the opening period on a power play shot assisted by senior defenseman Tyler Jundt and junior forward Travis Peckskamp. For the second, Weston slipped one into an empty net unassisted with only 20 seconds remaining on the clock in the third period, sealing the game for Eau Claire.

    The third period is where the Blugolds saw the most action, as junior forward Jordan Singer also scored, with a little more than four minutes left on the clock. This broke the 1-1 tie between the teams and pushed the Blugolds ahead 2-1. Senior forward Tyler Romasco and freshman forward Ross Anderson assisted.

    While the Falcons outshot the Blugolds 30-24, junior goalie Brandon Stephenson was in net and blocked all but one of the Falcons’ 30 shots.

    On Saturday, the Blugolds eliminated the Falcons 2-1 in overtime.

    If Eau Claire had lost, they would have had been forced into a mini game to determine which team advanced.

    Jundt said the team put forth a good team effort.

    “This weekend went about as good as it could have gone,” Jundt said. “We played as well as we could and everyone contributed to the wins.”

    The wins are just the Blugolds’ second and third against River Falls in NCHA post-season history. Eau Claire now has a 3-13 all time record against River Falls and improves to 13-11-3 on the season while the Falcons drop to 16-9-2.

    Jundt said that knowing the Blugolds’ record against the Falcons and that the Blugolds hadn’t advanced past the quarterfinals in four years had a big effect on him.

    “It makes winning even sweeter,” Jundt said. “But we knew after we won on Friday that we still had our work cut out for us. Saturday felt like a complete victory. It was something we deserved; nothing was handed to us.”

    The Falcons scored the only goal of the first period, picking up an early lead over the Blugolds. The Blugolds worked hard to tie up the game in the second period, but with no luck. Falcon goalie Scott Lewan played a strong game and though the Blugolds outshot the Falcons in the second period 9-1, the Blugolds could not get the puck past him.

    About a minute and a half into the third period, junior forward Andrew McCabe swept in and slapped one into the net from 20 feet in front of the goal, tying the game up 1-1.

    With the game being tied at the end of the third period, the game went into overtime. With 29 seconds left in the five minute period,  Singer scored the Blugolds’ winning goal on an empty net. The Falcons had pulled their goalie knowing that they had to win in order to continue on in a forced mini game.

    Overall, the Blugolds outshot the Falcons 34-16 throughout the game. After the loss, River Falls dropped to No. 13 in the national rankings.

    Next Saturday, the Blugolds will head to St. Norbert to take on the Green Knights in the Semifinals. A win for Eau Claire would result in a NCHA Final appearance for the first time in school history.

    Leave a Comment
    More to Discover

    Comments (0)

    The Spectator intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. The Spectator does not allow anonymous comments and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
    All The Spectator Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Activate Search
    Hockey advances to semis