It’s a feat that the Minnesota State University hockey program has never accomplished before, let alone finding a win in the first round. Throughout the country, Maverick fans will be celebrating the teams first ever trip to the NCAA Frozen Four in Pittsburgh, Pa., where they will take on the St. Cloud State Huskies for a chance at the National Championship.
The Mavericks overcame a third period 3-1 deficit in the opening round against Quinnipiac, winning a 4-3 overtime thriller. Then, they took a clean 4-0 win against the University of Minnesota Gophers in the regional finals to punch their ticket to Pittsburgh, where they will face their second Minnesota team in the tournament.
Since 1985, the Minnesota State Mavericks are 23-35-8 against the Huskies, where the Huskies took the win in the last matchup at the first game of the Mariucci Classic. The Huskies took down the Mavs by a score of 7-2 in December of 2019, the last time a team scored more than five goals against Minnesota State.
The Huskies display a 19-10-0 record on the season and lost against North Dakota in the NCHC Championship game by a score of 5-3. St. Cloud earned the No. 2 seed in the Northeast Region, where they took on Boston University in the first round. St. Cloud took down the Terriers in a convincing showing where they won by a score of 6-2. The next day, they faced off against the top two team in the nation, Boston College. After allowing a goal to Minnesota Wild prospect Matt Boldy in the first period, the Huskies scored three unanswered goals in the second period, followed by an empty net goal to seal the 4-1 win at the end of the third period.
The Mavs have plenty of tools to manage the Huskies in this all Minnesota matchup in the likes of Dryden McKay, the finalist for the Richter Award, awarded to the top performing goaltender in college hockey, and a Hobey Hat Trick Finalist, awarded to the top performing individual in college hockey. Ryan Sandelin has also shown up big for the Mavericks lately, scoring the overtime game-winning goal in the first round against Quinnipiac, and recorded a goal and an assist on the game-winning goal against Minnesota. Sandelin will have a bit more of a reason to push through to the finals, for a chance to play against Scott Sandelin, the Minnesota-Duluth head coach. Otherwise known as to him as, dad.
The Frozen Four consists of three of the five Minnesota teams to make it into the tournament, with Minnesota-Duluth rounding out the Minnesota teams as they take on UMass in their side of the bracket.