EAU CLAIRE (WEAU)- The UW-Eau Claire men's hockey team will play for the WIAC conference tournament championship Saturday night when the Blugolds take on UW-Superior at Hobbs Ice Center. Coach Matt Loen's team gave themselves this opportunity after knocking off Stevens Point in the WIAC semifinals last weekend.
The problem for the Blugolds is that the WIAC does not have an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament. With that said, if Coach Loen's team beats Superior, they are considered a long shot to get an at-large bid into the NCAA's and a chance to defend their national championship.
The Blugolds would then be at the mercy of the NCAA tournament selection committee. Those bids will be announced on Sunday night. For now, all UWEC can worry about is winning on Saturday. Says Coach Loen, "Let's go out and play our best and win the WIAC championship and give the NCAA committee the opportunity to talk about us. Let's be in the mix. We've had a good year, we haven't had too much success against Stevens Point and St. Norbert, but if we win on Saturday we'll have 19 wins and that's a bitter pill to swallow to have 19 wins and not get into the NCAA tournament."
Adds senior forward Jon Waggoner, "We're treating it as if it's our last game, we're hoping for the best afterwards, but tomorrow night we're just going in to it, we're going to play our game, and hopefully come away with a W and have the first trophy here in the WIAC."