Eau Claire, St. Cloud (WQOW) -- The UW-Eau Claire men's hockey team didn't get slowed down by the snow, as they traveled to face St. John's (MN), for a non-conference game, Thursday night.
Last weekend, the Blugolds snapped a two-game losing streak with wins over MIAC teams Gustavus Adolphus and Concordia. The Gusties are the second place team in that conference, with the Cobbers sitting in fourth. St. John's is in third, and with the Thursday game with UWEC at St. Cloud's Herb Brooks National Hockey Center, the Johnnies have a little extra home ice advantage.
"They play on an Olympic-sized ice rink," says UW-Eau Claire head coach Matt Loen, "so you know, it's a big advantage because most of our games are on regular-sized ice rinks, but they're a hard-working team, they've got a good core group coming back, so it'll be a good challenge tonight for us on the road."
UWEC played just three games in December, losing twice, so Loen hopes his team has momentum heading on the road after defending home ice against Gustavus and Concordia.
"Hopefully, with the last two wins for us here last weekend, we're trending up," Loen says, "we obviously always want to be playing our best hockey here in January and February, so you know, that's our goal, is to be there, give guys an opportunity to win the WIAC championship. Hopefully, we can just continue growing here and getting better each game."
Loen says he wants his team to play its best in January and February, but for that to happen, the Blugolds have to be get more consistency from everyone in what's a deep lineup.
"If we can get all our guys going at once, we're a pretty tough team to handle" Loen says, "but that's been our case all year is the inconsistency of our players, you know, only half our team is going, or you know, certain guys are going, but when we're all going, you can do a lot of damage."
Unfortunately for the Blugolds, they dropped a heartbreaker to the Johnnies, 2-1 in overtrime. St. John's Sam Valerius scored the game winner on a deflection out front with 2.9 seconds left in the OT, after UWEC controlled most of the play in the extra session.
SJU opened the scoring in the first on a power play goal by Kyle Wagner, but the Blugolds tied the game with a Colton Wolter power play goal in the second. Scott Munro and Kyle Lee assisted on the Wolter goal UW-Eau Claire outshot St. John's in the game, 33-25. Blugolds goalie Zach Dyment made 23 saves, with Andrew Lindgren making 32 stops for the Johnnies.
UWEC faces its fourth straight MIAC opponent, Saturday, when the Blugolds travel to St. Olaf (MN).
Eau Claire (WQOW) -- The UW-Eau Claire men's basketball played tough Wednesday night against UW-Whitewater, the 5th-ranked team in Division III, trailing by three at the break, and by four with less than five minutes left in regulation, before the Warhawks pulled away for a 78-65 win.
UWEC played fairly well defensively, holding a good three-point shooting team to just 5 of 21 from behind the arc, but UWW made up for that by attacking the basket, and hitting 24 of 32 shots inside the 3-point line.
"I thought Whitewater was just extremely aggressive on the offensive end of the floor and continued to put pressure on defense by attacking the im, and we went into this game trying to defend the three point line, because they were shooting 43 percent, which is top five in the country, and we did a really good job with that," said UWEC head coach Matt Siverling, "we knew they were going to get in the paint and take tough shots and I thought they made a lot of tough ones at the end of the shot clock, but I thought our defense, for the most part, was pretty good, and guys were out there competing, and battling, and for the most part they weren't getting anything easy."
UW-Eau Claire has another tough game coming up when the Blugolds go to UW-Stevens Point, Saturday. The Pointers lead the WIAC with a 3-0 record.