The UW-Eau Claire women’s hockey program is getting used to playing in March.
For the second consecutive season, the Blugolds are heading to the NCAA tournament.
Eau Claire was one of the 10 teams which received a spot in this year’s Division III tournament on Monday. The Blugolds will hit the road to take on St. Thomas in Mendota Heights, Minnesota at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
This is the second time in program history that the Blugolds have qualified for the NCAA tournament. Last year they reached the quarterfinals, where they fell 3-2 to Hamline.
The Blugolds had to play in the only opening-round game last season, but were drawn directly into the quarterfinals this season. Including this weekend’s matchup, Eau Claire (21-5-2) has faced a Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference team in all three NCAA tournament games it has ever played in.
St. Thomas enters the quarterfinals with a 24-1-2 record.
Eau Claire enters the tournament fresh off a 7-3 hammering of UW-River Falls in the WIAC tournament championship game. The Falcons also made the NCAA tournament, and the two could potentially meet again in the semifinals.