MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — The Minnesota State men’s hockey team is going dancing for the seventh time in program history, as the Mavericks are one of five Minnesota schools in this year’s NCAA Tournament.
”We’re excited, everybody’s excited,” head coach Mike Hastings said. “I think anybody that gets into this tournament is excited because they’ve shown multiple times over the last ten years, you see a team that gets in late, wins it. The idea is getting there and having an opportunity to compete for a championship.”
The Mavericks earned the WCHA regular season title before falling in the conference tournament’s semifinals round.
MSU now hopes to make a deep run at this year’s tournament, with a first round match-up against Quinnipiac.
”They’re not a one trick pony. They’re as sound defensively as you’ll find in college hockey. They’ve done that. Their coach and team has been in this situation before and had success,” Hastings said. “Our focus is going to be on our preparation and what we’ll get ready for, what we’ll be able to see, get in there and do what we can.”
The No. 2 Mavericks are also joined by Minnesota and Nebraska-Omaha in the Loveland, Colorado, Regional.
For all the teams in this year’s field of 16, COVID-19 protocols will make the preparation different from years past.
”We’re going to have two days of protocol while we’re there where we have to have two clean tests. I think our first one is Wednesday, then Thursday before we can practice. Everyone is in the same boat. It’s one about our preparation being what it needs to be while we’re here. Travel safely, get there, and have our preparation on Friday for a Saturday start. The road is in front of us, and it’s a road we’re excited to be on,” Hastings added.
The regional semifinal action between MSU and Quinnipiac begins Saturday at 4 p.m. on ESPN3. If the Mavericks win, they’ll play in the regional championship game Sunday at 7 p.m. on ESPN 2.