WCHA Press Releases

WCHA Week 20: Mavericks Play For A Championship
Minnesota State faces a familiar foe to open the Frozen Four on Thursday

Opening Faceoff

- Mavericks Advance to the Frozen Four: West Region champion Minnesota State will represent the WCHA at the NCAA Frozen Four April 8-10 at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pa., as the Mavericks make their first appearance in the NCAA championship weekend.

  • The Mavericks will be seeking their first Division I national championship and will also be playing for the WCHA's 38th NCAA title.
  • MSU advanced to Pittsburgh with wins over No. 3 seed Quinnipiac and No. 1 seed Minnesota at the NCAA West Regional in Loveland, Colo., March 27-28.
  • Minnesota State opened the regional with a come-from-behind 4-3 win over Quinnipiac on Feb. 27. The Mavericks trailed 3-1 in the third period before Nathan Smith and Cade Borchardt found the back of the net late in the period to send the game to overtime. Sophomore Ryan Sandelin jammed home a loose puck at 11:13 of the extra session to secure MSU's first Division I NCAA tournament win.
  • No rally was necessary the following night as Sam Morton and Sandelin scored in the first period and Dryden McKay turned away all 22 shots by top-seeded Minnesota as the Mavericks rolled to a 4-0 win in the regional championship game.

- WCHA in the Frozen Four: Minnesota State's appearance in Pittsburgh will be the 96th for a WCHA team in the national semifinals since the league's inaugural season in 1951-52 and the first for the league since St. Cloud State reached the 2013 Frozen Four, which was also played in Pittsburgh.

  • Sixty-three of the 96 league teams to play in the Frozen Four reached the national championship game. Thirty-seven went on to win the NCAA title while 26 teams finished as the runner-up. Fourteen WCHA teams won the NCAA third-place game between 1952 and 1989, the final year for the consolation game at the Frozen Four.
  • Eighteen national championship games have featured two WCHA teams, including five in a row from 1973-77.
  • WCHA teams won seven consecutive national titles from 1960-66 and five in a row from 1973-77 and 2002-06.
  • The 1960-66 run was part of a 12-year span that saw a WCHA team win the NCAA title with North Dakota taking the 1959 title in a season with no WCHA league play.
  • The 2005 Frozen Four marked the only time four WCHA teams reached the national semifinals in the same season as Denver defeated North Dakota in the championship game. The duo was joined by Colorado College and Minnesota in that year's event in Columbus, Ohio.

By The Numbers

- 236: Wins for Minnesota State in nine seasons under 2021 Spencer Penrose Award winner Mike Hastings, the most by any school in that span.

- 75: Career wins for Minnesota State goaltender Dryden McKay, a total which leads the post-realignment WCHA (2013-present) and ranks 10th all-time in the league record book.

- 24: Shutouts by WCHA netminders this season, the most for any conference in the country. The total accounts for 26.3 percent of NCAA blankings in 2020-21 (24-of-91).

- 37: National championships won by WCHA schools from 1951-2020.

- 10: NCAA-leading and WCHA single-season record-equaling shutout total for Minnesota State's Dryden McKay in 25 games. McKay set the record a season ago in 37 outings.

- 6: Game-winning goals this season for Minnesota State's Julian Napravnik, which is tied for the NCAA lead.

- 3: WCHA goaltenders ranked in the NCAA top-10 in both goals-against average and save percentage - Minnesota State's Dryden McKay, Michigan Tech's Blake Pietila and Lake Superior State's Mareks Mitens - the most of any conference in the country.

- 1.52: NCAA-leading goals allowed per game average for Minnesota State. The Mavericks are one of only four teams allowing fewer than two goals per game this season (Massachusetts- 1.70, Michigan- 1.96, North Dakota- 1.97).

The Week Ahead

- No. 2 St. Cloud State vs. No. 2 Minnesota State:strong> Minnesota State's first Frozen Four opponent will be a familiar one. Northeast Regional champion St. Cloud State is one of the Mavericks' oldest, most-played opponents. MSU first met the Huskies during the program's debut season in 1969-70 and owns an all-time record of 63-56-13 (.526) in 132 meetings with SCSU. The last time the two teams met was in 2019-20 when St. Cloud State claimed a 7-2 win at the Mariucci Classic on Dec. 28, 2019. This will be the first NCAA tournament meeting between the two programs.

2021 WCHA Postseason Tournament

Once again in 2021, the WCHA crowned a playoff champion at the WCHA Postseason Tournament presented by SPIRE Credit Union. Lake Superior State received the WCHA's automatic bid to the 2021 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championship and the Jeff Sauer WCHA Championship Trophy, presented by Anderson's Pure Maple Syrup.