When taking a look at this year’s Frozen Four participants one school looks a little out of place. Boston University started its Varsity Hockey program in 1918, and in 1926 and 1929, respectively, hockey programs started up at Providence College and the University of North Dakota. At the University of Nebraska Omaha the varsity hockey program is turning 18 years young this year. UNO might not have the pedigree of Providence who the Mavericks take on in the semi-finals but they have proven themselves over the last 6 seasons under Coach Dean Blais. Coach Blais came to the Mavericks after winning multiple national championships at college hockey powerhouse North Dakota.
Taking the Mavericks to their first Frozen Four is one of many steps to put UNO’s hockey team on the map. Next season Coach Blais will open the year in a brand new 7,500 seat arena to showcase how far the program has grown. The first step, though, is beating a talented Providence team who was only a game away from the Frozen Four last season. For the Mavericks to reach the championship on Saturday they will need a monster game from the nation’s best goalie Ryan Massa. Massa has an NCAA-best .939 save percentage and is backed by an outstanding defense. Can UNO bring home their first NCAA hockey championship or will they fade away on the big stage?