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

    Veteran players welcome newcomers

    The UW-Eau Claire men’s hockey team is excited to get back on the ice, senior forward Jordan Singer said.

    “The guys have been working
    really hard and everyone’s looking
    forward to the season getting going and getting into some games,” he said.

    The men are playing long-time
    rivals UW-Stout in their first games of the season at home on Friday and
    Saturday. Singer said the team is
    excited to start the season against the Blue Devils, and hopes it will be beneficial for them.

    “Last year we lost twice to Stout and we beat them once,” Singer said. “We’re hoping this year we can turn that around and get a couple big points in the conference right off
    the bat.”

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    Head coach Matt Loen said a match against Stout is a great way to kick off the season for a team
    featuring 11 seniors and 10 juniors.

    “There’s obviously a big rivalry there, so it’ll be fun,” Loen said. “It’s a good way to start being a veteran team. If we had 11 freshmen, I’d be saying something different.”

    Senior defenseman Drew Darwitz said he thinks that the Blugolds will hold their own against the Blue Devils
    because they are a veteran team.

    “I think on paper, we have the better team,” he said. “We have a lot of depth this year, a lot of seniors. So we’re going to have that senior leadership throughout most the season.”

    Singer said the team has also brought on eight new players who know their way around the ice, five freshmen and three
    transfer students.

    The freshmen players are forwards Ethan Nauman and Taylor Ward, defensemen Derek Knetter and Jeff
    Pauluk and goalie Tyler Green.

    As far as the transfer students go, junior forward
    Daniel Olszewski came to Eau Claire from Denver University, junior forward Mark Pustin came from Alaska-Anchorage and sophomore defenseman Jack Callahan last played at Quinnipiac

    Darwitz said that all are good players who will help make up for the loss of three players who graduated in May: Two defensemen, Tyler Jundt and P.J. Kavaya, and one forward,
    Tyler Romasco.

    Senior forward Andrew McCabe said that the transfers heard Eau Claire had a good program and was a good school and they wanted to live the Eau Claire experience.

    “They’re guys that we’ve either known from the past or played with in the past and for whatever reason, it just didn’t work out (with their old teams),” McCabe said. “They’re looking forward to a fresh start and they’re really going to help our team this year.”

    Loen said he’s happy with where all the members of the team are now, old
    and new.

    “It’s been good for the new players to learn the ropes from them and see what it takes to play on our team and in our conference,” he said.

    The preseason picks from Northern Collegiate Hockey Association ranks the Blugolds in fourth place, tied with UW-Superior. The league coaches who vote on the rankings selected St. Norbert’s to come in first. UW-River Falls and UW-Stevens Point were ranked in second and third place, respectively.

    McCabe doesn’t think the team’s ranking will hinder them at all.

    “We’re tied for fourth this year, which is fine,” he said. “I mean, rankings, you take them with a grain of salt. I kind of see it as motivation. We can kind of play the underdog role, which is a good thing for us, I think.”

    McCabe said the ranking is something that the team is using to  their benefit.

    “One of our goals is definitely to improve upon that fourth place estimate for our final finish.”


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    Veteran players welcome newcomers