One week after losing at home to St. Norbert in the NCHA Peters Cup final, 3-0, Wisconsin-Eau Claire exacted revenge away from home by beating the Green Knights, 3-1, in the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament.
“On the other side, they ended our season last year and we talked about that too,” Blugolds coach Matt Loen said. “We remember, we always remember the past. And I thought we responded, beating St. John’s and then St. Norbert.”
Jon Waggoner got Wisconsin-Eau Claire on the board first when he scored from the top of the faceoff circle just 1:39 seconds into the game. The Green Knights tied it when Carl Ekstrom streaked down the slot and scored a power-play goal at 8:23 of the first.
The Blugolds responded with their own power-play goal late in the period at 19:16 when Chris Heineman scored his sixth goal of the season.
The Green Knights outshot the Blugolds, 40-21, but failed to draw even, including on three second-period power plays, and Kurt Weston sealed it for Eau Claire with an empty-net goal with 42 seconds left.
Brandon Stephenson made 39 saves in net for Eau Claire, which will face Utica in the Frozen Four semifinals in Lake Placid, N.Y., next Friday.
“The mind-set was just making the first save,” Stephenson said. “The guys in front let me see every shot and that’s why we were successful tonight.”