Eau Claire (WQOW) -- The WIAA boys hockey sectional final between the Regis/McDonell/Bloomer Co-op and Eau Claire Memorial has been moved from the Chippewa Ice Arena to Eau Claire's Hobbs Ice Center.
The top-seeded Old Abes are the three-time defending sectional champion, and are looking to make their 13th trip to the WIAA State Boys Hockey Tournament. RMB is the #2 seed, and has made it to its first-ever sectional final.
These two programs last met in an 2011 regional final, with the Old Abes winning 8-0, but Memorial players expect a much closer game Friday.
"We're really looking forward to playing them," says Old Abes senior defenseman Jake Pientok, "they've got some good players, we're really going to use that to motivate ourselves to play really strong hockey for three periods straight."
Even though the two programs don't play each other during the regular season, there's plenty of familiarity between the players.
"We play with them in the summer quite a bit," says Memorial junior forward Jacob Bresser, "we all come together on one summer team, so we're pretty good friends with them, it'll be a heated battle between us."
RMB started out slowly in its sectional semifinal against Rice Lake, but the Saints were able to close the deal in a 6-2 win over the Warriors. Now, the Saints say they're ready for the next step in the program's evolution.
"It's going to be different," says RMB senior goalie Sam Nelson, "in the past we've played them, got beat 8-0, it's not going to be like that this time."
Saints head coach Guy Brown says, "The history of Chippewa Valley hockey is why we see these kids out here playing today, and it's great for Eau Claire hockey."
The puck will drop at 7:00 P.M. Friday. The Hobbs Ice Center doors will open at 5:30 P.M
Memorial, Regis, & McDonell high schools will have a presale of tickets, Thursday, beginning at 6:30 A.M. at each school. Memorial will sell its tickets at the principal's office. There's a limit of two tickets per person.
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