While the UW-Eau Claire men's hockey team didn't get into the NCAA Division III Championship the way it would have liked, the Blugolds have earned an at-large selection to advance, NCAA officials announced Sunday.
Saturday night in front of a sold out crowd at Hobbs Ice Center, the Blugolds fell short to two-time defending national champion St. Norbert College, which earned the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association's automatic qualification to the NCAA Championship.
But with a record of 20-5-2, the Blugolds were one of three teams around the country to receive an at-large bid.
The Blugolds will host a game in the opening round Wednesday (March 6) at 7 p.m. at Hobbs Ice Center against Saint John's University (Minn.), a team the Blugolds beat 5-1 at Hobbs on January 4. A win that night would send the Blugolds to De Pere to face St. Norbert College on Saturday (March 9). Ticket information for Wednesday night will be posted as soon as it becomes available.
Saturday's winners will advance to the semifinals in Lake Placid, N.Y. to play March 15. The national title will be determined March 16.
Eau Claire is making just its second NCAA Championship appearance in school history and first since 1989. In 1989, the Blugolds played UW-Stevens Point in a quarterfinal series in Stevens Point but lost both games.
Prior to that, the Blugolds had appeared in the NAIA Championship in 1982 and 1984, winning the NAIA title in 1984 at Hobbs Ice Center.