River Falls (WQOW) -- It is hard to overstate how big Saturday was for Eau Claire hockey, especially in the college ranks, where UW-Eau Claire swept both the Men's and Women's WIAC Championships.
The women made their second straight, and second ever, appearance in the O'Brien Cup Final a memorable one. Elizabeth Bauer scored the game tying goal in the third period, and Mariah Czech scored the game winner in double overtime, as the Blugolds earned their first ever conference title.
Needless to say, Head Coach Erik Strand and the rest of the team is still riding high from the experience, "It was exactly what you'd think a WIAC Title game would be. Both teams had tremendous opportunities. Both goaltenders had some key saves at key times. We were just very fortunate. It was unbelievable. For the alumni and especially for our seniors and our recent graduates to be a part of something like this in a fairly short period of time, to have a dream that I think they all had and shared in realized is just, it's extremely special."
The Blugolds will find out whether they make the NCAA Tournament tomorrow afternoon - brackets are released at 9 a.m.
The UW-Eau Claire Men's team topped Stevens Point in their own Championship, 3-2, Alex Strand scoring the game-winner in the third period. The Blugolds await a potential at large bid from the NCAA, as well.
WIAC Championships/NCGA West Regional
1. UW-LA CROSSE 191.875
2. UW-WHITEWATER 191.725
3. HAMLINE 189.700
4. UW-EAU CLAIRE 187.775
5. GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS 185.725
6. WINONA STATE 194.900
7. UW-OSHKOSH 184.700
8. UW-STOUT 183.825
UWST: Shaquilla Payne, Vault Champion, 9.800
(3) MINNESOTA 3
(1) WISCONSIN 1
Gophers at Badgers, Next Saturday, NCAA Quarterfinals