By Avery Wenck, Sports Editor
Maverick fans, students and players went to Boston this past week–end with the intent of returning as national champions.
Although the Mavericks were defeated by Providence on Thursday, it would be ludicrous to call the trip unsuccessful.
Brian O’Rourke says that the team doesn’t like to call this team ‘young’ anymore because they have a whole season under their belt, but that was something Dean Blais said was a problem.
Who could blame them, though? Their celebrity status as a team had grown significantly within the past few weeks leading up to this trip. Local and national media alike were swarming them constantly for interviews and television bits. A team that wouldn’t normally have anyone at their practices was now welcoming all local television out–lets to watch practice and interview players.
Their send-off on Monday night was nothing short of incredible, either. I’d be willing to bet that no one expected us to fill the Scott Conference Center with that many people, yet it looked like a super bowl parade.
Along with police escorts through the city of Boston, you could understand how all of this would be overwhelming for a team of 17 underclassmen who are supposed to be focused on a hockey game.
Blais said it best: “Give Providence credit. They have more of a veteran set of forwards than we do, and I think they played with more confidence and more relaxed than we did.”
That doesn’t change the fact that they deserved it. The experience these guys got out there will help them grow and learn for the future. They got to play against a top team in Providence who would eventually go on to defeat Boston University and be crowned national champions. They got the opportunity to play on the biggest stage in college hockey in the Frozen Four at the TD Garden.
O’Rourke was happy with the way the guys battled this year to make the first Frozen Four in UNO his–tory. He says this weekend “put Omaha on the map.”
It’s apparent that this team is built to succeed in the future. The majority of the forwards were underclassmen, and all performed consistently this season. Along with next year’s recruits, this team is going to continue to improve and show that they are ready to stay in the national spotlight. An opportunity to go to Tampa next year would be a massive statement.
The seniors and this team as a whole will never be forgotten. What they accomplished this year will go down as the biggest mo–ment in UNO’s history. A stepping stone to an eventual national cham–pionship. Hockey has brought this city and this campus an immense amount of joy this year, and for that we will forever be thankful.