Thursday, March 28, 2024

NCAA Tournament: Omaha vs. Minnesota in Sioux Falls

Omaha has advanced to the NCAA tournament for the fifth time in program history. Previous appearances include:

  • 2006 (Worcester, Massachusetts). Boston University beat Omaha 9-2.
  • 2012 (St. Louis, Missouri). Michigan defeated Omaha 3-2 in overtime. 
  • 2015 (South Bend, Indiana). Omaha beat Harvard 4-1 and then beat RIT 4-0 to advance to the program’s first-ever (and only) Frozen Four appearance.
  • 2021 (Loveland, Colorado). Minnesota defeated Omaha 7-2.

Omaha (23-12-4) will face Minnesota (22-10-5) again in a NCAA regional for the first time since that 2021 loss. The Mavericks are the host school for the Sioux Falls regional, having successfully bid to host both the 2024 and 2026 regionals.

Omaha is coming off its first-ever appearance in a NCHC conference tournament. Omaha upset North Dakota 6-3 in the Friday semi-final before losing to Denver 4-1 in the conference final. 

Minnesota swept Penn State in the Big 10 conference tournament but lost to Michigan 2-1 on March 16. The Gophers haven’t played a game in almost two weeks. Minnesota is coached by former SCSU head coach Bob Motzko who is in his sixth season with the program.

Minnesota advanced to the 2023 Frozen Four, beating Boston University 6-2 before losing to Quinnipiac 3-2 in overtime in the championship game.

Series preview articles:

Minnesota Hockey: ($)
> Thursday, 7:30 p.m. CT at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center (Sioux Falls, SD)
> (With a win, Omaha would play in the regional final game on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. CT at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls.)

Both games will be broadcast live on 1290 AM and on The Varsity Network app. Pre-game coverage begins 30 minutes prior to face-off with the FNBO Pre-Game Show. “Voice of the Mavs” Mike Vaillancourt will have the play-by-play, with color commentary provided by Terry Leahy.

ESPNU and ESPN+ (streaming)
Also available on TSN+ in Canada.

Watch Party:
The UNO Alumni Association is doing a watch party at Aksarben Cinema. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Details here.

Live Stats:
Live stats can be found here. 

In the 40-minute 21st episode of the sixth season of the MavPuckCast, Jon and Jason discuss the Omaha Maverick Hockey team’s first-ever appearance in the NCHC Frozen Faceoff, take a look at “Things You Missed in St. Paul,” show highlights from the Selection Sunday event, and preview the NCAA regionals In Sioux Falls.

Next up: Omaha’s season is on the line. Win tonight and advance to Saturday’s regional championship game. Lose and the season is over.

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