Men’s hockey lock up No. 2 seed in WIAC tournament

    Blugolds head into a two-game series against UW-Stout with a win under their belt

    Taylor Reisdorf

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    March 25, 2020

    Photo by Gabbie Henn

    Center Colton Wolter, a senior, (pictured) had a solid weekend for UW-Eau Claire scoring his seventh goal of the season.

    The UW-Eau Claire Blugolds hosted the Yellowjackets for senior night this past Friday. After an incredibly strong game on the offensive side, the Blugolds took the win with a final score of 7-3.

    The win secured the Blugolds in the No. 2 seed for the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Tournament.

    Jake Hopfner — a senior captain and forward — said the team was able to “put the pucks in the net” during Friday’s game, something they had been struggling to do throughout the season.

    Less than two minutes into the game, Jesse Tredinnick — a senior forward — scored the first goal of the night with assists from T.J. Stuntz — a senior forward — and Adam Parsells — a first-year defenseman.

    Alex Strand — a second-year forward — scored Eau Claire’s second goal of the night with 23 seconds left in the period. Parsells and Todd Koritzinsky — a senior forward — can be credited with the assists. This brought the Blugolds ahead 2-1 after a Yellowjackets goal by Troy York to tie it at one.

    Jack Murphy — a first-year forward — made his second collegiate goal with 14:33 left in the second period, making it a 3-1 lead for the Blugolds. Parsells and Koritzinsky were again credited with the assists.

    Soon after, Kohls found the back of the net with Murphy and Colton Wolter — a senior center — on the assists. This made it a 4-1 game.

    In the third period, Wolter, Kohls and Nathan Dingmann — a first-year forward — added three more Eau Claire goals to the board. These efforts resulted in a final score of 7-3.

    Head Coach Matt Loen said he’s proud of the team’s ability to meet their power play goals throughout the game. The team had a massive lead in shots (56-17) and a 3-6 night on the power play.

    Goalie Zach Dyment — a first-year — saved 14 out of the 17 shots he encountered.

    All in all, Loen said he’s happy with how the team played, but that they “don’t ever want to give up three goals at home.”

    The Blugolds headed to KB Willett Arena to take on the Pointers on Saturday night. No matter how the game ended, the Blugolds were guaranteed the No. 2 seed at the WIAC Tournament. With a final score of 4-4, the Blugolds earned an extra point in standings with the draw.

    “We improved against Stevens Point this time around,” Loen said “But there were some unfortunate mistakes. It should’ve been a win.”

    The power play success of Friday night carried over into Saturday for the Blugolds as Mac Jansen — a senior forward — evened the score with 11:18 left in the first period. Hopfner and Tredinnick were credited with the assists.

    “We put up a strong fight,” Hopfner said. “We showed them what we’re made of.”

    Wolter scored towards the end of the first period, with Jake Bresser — a second-year forward — and Jacob Wolter  — a senior forward — credited for the assists.

    Less than three minutes into the final period, Parsells made it a 3-3 game with an unassisted goal. The Pointers retaliated with a Willem Nong-Lambert goal, making it 4-3 with 11:59 left in the game.

    With just over three minutes left in the game, Bresser scored a much-needed goal to bring it back to a tie game, with Parsells and Dingmann on the assists.

    Despite the opportunity, the Blugolds were unable to pull ahead in overtime, ending with a final score of 4-4.

    Dyment saved 17 of the 21 shots he encountered, and Eau Claire outshot Stevens Point 37-21.

    The Blugolds finished their regular season with a record of 15-9-1 and a conference record of 5-2-1. Up next is the WIAC Tournament, starting with a two-game series against No. 3 UW-Stout on Feb. 23-24.

    All in all, Loen said he feels the team underachieved throughout their regular season.

    However, after this weekend, they have a good streak going and he hopes it will continue into the WIAC Tournament, he said.

    Hopfner said the season as a whole “could’ve gone better.” However, he said the team’s focus needs to be on what they can do now.

    “We’re looking forward to this off-week to rest and prepare,” Hopfner said.