Chippewa Falls (WQOW) -- The puck drops Thursday at the 45th annual WIAA State Boys Hockey Tournament.
Eau Claire Memorial is making that trip to Madison for the fifteenth time in the program's history, and for the eleventh time this century.
The Old Abes were state champs in 2008 and 2013, but last year's trip to state only lasted one game. Green Bay Notre Dame dominated Memorial, 7-0 in the quarterfinals, a loss that the Abes say motivated them all through the offseason.
"You know, we talked in the summer contact days," says Memorial head coach Mike Schwengler, "and the start of the season, bottom line, remember the feeling. Remember the feeling, losing 7-1, 7-0, and getting embarrassed, really, on the state tournament stage, so put it in your back pocket and feed off it all year."
"We kept that one in our brain," says Memorial senior defenseman Bret Schwengler, "and we ingrained that feeling into us and we know that we never want to feel that feeling again, so now we're going to go down there with that, and we're going to use that to keep going, keep motivated, and hopefully, get a little farther."
"This is a new year, we have a good chemistry with this team," says Memorial junior forward Dylan Ross, "we're ready to work hard down there, we're going to use last year as motivation and not let that happen to us this year."
Eau Claire Memorial matches up with Madison Memorial in the state quarterfinals. That game is slated for 5:00 P.M., Thursday.
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