Eau Claire (WQOW) -- Eau Claire North won a WIAA boys hockey sectional final in 2006 to advance to the state tournament, but since then, the Huskies haven't won a single postseason game.
North will get a chance to change that trend Tuesday night in a WIAA regional semifinal against Medford.
The Huskies picked up five wins this past regular season, which is an improvement over recent years. While the future looks brighter, the North coaches and players are focusing on the here and now, and a faceoff with the Raiders at Hobbs Ice Center.
"It's a big deal for us," says North senior goalie Bryce Kamenick, "we haven't gotten to host a home playoff game in quite a while. We've had to travel as far as Ashland, and that's just not fun. It's just good to be at our own place and we get to do our own routine and hopefully go out and win a game."
"We talked about how big it was for the program to host a playoff game with the strides that we made," says North head coach Jordan Fish, "it was one of the goals at the beginning of the year. Obviously another goal is to go deep in the playoffs. It start tomorrow with that one game at a time mentality, so hopefully the boys come out and play hard."
"Nobody is young at the end of the varsity hockey season," says Kamenick, "we have guys with enough experience now that we just have to start making plays and coming together as a team. Playoff time is a perfect time to do that."
It's been a long, tough rebuilding process at North, but the Huskies say they're ready to take the next step.
"It would mean the world to our whole team, our whole program," says Kamenick, "it's been a while since we won and just from where we've come from in the past four years, that would just be a good exclamation point."
"You know, it's a younger team," says Fish about Medford, "they have good goaltending so we have to find a way to bury a puck. We've been doing a better job of that the past couple of weeks, finding some kids that can consistently score for us and hopefully that will transfer over to tomorrow and we can get an early lead.:
If North knocks off Medford, the Huskies will skate against 2nd-seed Regis/McDonell at Hobbs Ice Center, Friday, at 5:00 P.M. The other regional semifinal in that sectional has Altoona/Fall Creek traveling to Ashland/Washburn, with the winner to play at Rice Lake, the #3 seed, Thursday, at 7:00 P.M.
Top-seeded and defending state champion Eau Claire Memorial will host the winner of Tuesday's game between Chequamegon/Phillips and Marshfield. That regional final is set for 7:30 P.M., Friday, at Hobbs Ice Center.
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