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Blugolds Red-Hot Entering Final Stretch Of Regular Season

Eau Claire (WQOW) — For the UW-Eau Claire’ Men’s Hockey team, the last time they left the ice with a loss all the way back at the end of November. Since then, the Blugolds are 6-0-2 and have won all four games since returning from holiday break.

The forwards continue to put the puck in the net, and the defense has been keeping it out. Leading the way offensively for UW-Eau Claire, is senior Lucas Kohls (20 points, 9 goals) and junior Steen Cooper (14 points, 3 goals), while the defense has been just as good with sophomore goalie Zach Dyment (.923 save percentage, 1.46 GAA) between the pipes. But more importantly the Blugolds are taking care of business at home this season, posting an 8-0-1 record at Hobbs Ice Arena.

“That’s our goal, to protect our house. We want to make sure we’re winning games at home,” says head coach Matt Loen. “A lot of philosophy is being undefeated at home and .500 on the road, you should have a good season that way. We’ve been playing well overall in the second half, we’ve just got to keep it going.”

The Blugolds are getting balance from all four lines offensively, while their three pairs of defense and Dyment have been just as good.

“Our top six have been doing what they need to do, putting the pucks in the net,” says junior forward Steen Cooper. “And the third and fourth lines are playing their role, taking body and being physical. I think everyone just has the mindset that nobody cares about themselves. The team goal is the ultimate goal; everyone has kind of bought into that.”

Now they re-focus their attention back to WIAC play. With a par of big games coming up this week, hosting UW-River Falls on Wednesday, and then the top-ranked team in the nation Friday night, UW-Stevens Point.

“We’ve just got to come out and play our game. As far as it goes they’re a really good team, we’re a really good team,” says senior defensemen Johnny Mueller. “If we stick to our game plan and everyone works as hard as they can, we’ll have a lot of success. It’s just like every other game; every game during the year is an important game and we just treat it the same exact way.”

“We’re all prepared and ready,” says Cooper. “Obviously it’s been a long season so far, and we haven’t played an opponent quite the caliber of Stevens Point. But we played St. Norbert; they’re pretty good and we thought we matched up well against them. It should be a good test for us, but I think we’re ready.”

UW-Eau Claire will host UW-River Falls as Hobbs Ice Arena on Wednesday. The puck is set to drop at 7 P.M.

Rebecca Fiala

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