MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — The weight of postseason struggles is finally gone for the Minnesota State Mavericks after earning the program’s first win in the NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament against Quinnipiac in a dramatic overtime victory.
Following the win, MSU capped off the business trip to Loveland, Colorado, with a dominant 4-0 win over the in-state rival Minnesota Gophers, clinching the West Regional Championship.
”For all the people that have come before me, the guys that started to build this program, I’m happy for them,” head coach Mike Hastings said. “Especially this group of young men, we weren’t feeling too good after we lost to Northern Michigan. A lot of people doubted us, but they really stepped up.“
”Our motto since we started the WCHA playoffs was all about earning respect,” goaltender Dryden McKay added. “We want to earn our respect, we know the only way to do that was to come to the big stage and get the job done. We’re halfway there, and it feels really good right now.”
MSU got back to playing Maverick Hockey at the right time, following a disappointing loss in the WCHA Postseason Tournament to Northern Michigan.
”It was a real eye-opener for us. Time to look in the mirror, get back to the details, get back to how we play. It just showed this weekend. We got back to the way we played. We keep continuing that train and continue it this upcoming week,” stated Riese Zmolek, senior defenseman.
Now the Mavericks are just one win away from playing for a national title. The next test is a date with St. Cloud State in the Frozen Four on April 8, with the winner battling Minnesota Duluth or the University of Massachusetts for the championship.