Coach Loen not satisfied with recent performance

    Despite winning one game and tying another, Coach Loen expects more from his team.

    More stories from Thomas Hensen


    With just a two-game series against Arizona State University and two conference games left in the season, the No. 8 UW-Eau Claire men’s hockey team needs every win it can get to make it to the NCAA Division III Men’s Hockey Championship Tournament.

    Trying to maintain the momentum from its overtime win against No. 6 UW-Stevens Point on Jan. 22, the Blugolds (13-5-3) were able to get one win on the road against UW-Superior on Saturday after tying UW-Stout 2-2 at home last Thursday.

    In its first encounter with Stout on Dec. 3, the team won easily, shutting out the Blue Devils 7-0. Last Thursday, however, didn’t follow the same script. Eau Claire head coach Matt Loen was not pleased with the way the game turned out.

    “It was our worst game of the year,” Loen said. “Stout came back.”

    Jesse Tredinnick, a sophomore forward, scored first for Eau Claire early in the first period. However, the rest of the period was scoreless. The Blue Devils rallied soon after, scoring two straight goals, one in the second period and the other in the third.

    “They wanted to avenge their loss,” Loen said. “They were playing hard, moving their feet, finishing their checks and we stood around and watched them.”

    Though it didn’t take long for the Blugolds to answer the two consecutive goals as Garret Clemment, a junior forward, put one in on a breakaway less than two minutes later.

    Neither team scored again before starting overtime. With very little offensive production from either team in overtime, the game ended with a tie.

    Senior goaltender Tyler Green played a pivotal role in a game that could have ended differently without his performance, Loen said. Green recorded a season high in saves, stopping 45 of the 47 shots on goal.

    “We would have lost that game,” Loen said, “if it wasn’t for Tyler Green.”

    On Saturday, it took the Blugolds 38 seconds to score on Superior as Eau Claire’s Jake Hopfner, a sophomore forward, found the back of the net. The Yellowjackets went on to score two straight goals as the Blugolds found themselves trailing 2-1 late in the second period.

    “We didn’t have a very good second period against Superior,” Loen said. “Fortunately, we got a couple power play goals to help us out.”

    With 1:14 remaining in the second period, Eau Claire scored four unanswered goals, two of which were on power plays, to finish the game 5-2.

    “Our power play has been bailing us out all year,” Loen said.

    Adam Knochenmus, a junior forward, recorded one goal and two assists. Todd Koritzinsky, a sophomore forward and the game’s leading scorer, sealed the game for the Blugolds with the last two goals.

    Eau Claire will play a two-game series against Arizona State University at 8p.m. Central time Friday and Saturday in Tempe, Ariz. You can watch the game live here.