April 8, 2022
by Jashvina Shah and Josh Seguin/ CHN Reporter
BOSTON -> As Father, As Son
This is not Ryan Sandelin’s first trip to Boston. He was here 18 years ago, as a five-year-old child, cheering on his father, Scott, and the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs.
“I was a little kid, it was really special,” Sandelin said. “That’s the first memory I have of Bulldog hockey.”
Ryan Sandelin has been with his father through several NCAA tournaments, most recently in 2019 in Buffalo. He was there last year in Pittsburgh with his father, but then as a player for Minnesota State. Now he’s back and his dad has a chance to see Ryan play.
“It’s really special. He does not get many opportunities to see me play. I use it in a way as a motivator for myself to play at the highest level because I only get so many opportunities in the year he is in the stands, ”Sandelin said.
“Being back in this environment and doing it all over again is a kind of full circle. Be here as a fan, be here as a family, just enjoy it for what it is.”
When he recruited Sandelin, Hastings worked with his mother, Wendy, more than with Scott. But Hastings asked Scott Sandelin if Ryan should be a Bulldog.
“He says, ‘You know what, I think he wants to do his own thing,'” Hastings said.
“He’s a pretty special young man. I believe a lot in coaching kids because they grow up in that environment and they understand that there are some good things about it, there are some bad things about it, hard things that you have to. be responsible, it’s okay to be responsible and keep people that way. We’ve been blessed to have Ryan as part of our program. “
At the end of Minnesota State’s off-ice warm-up Thursday, players threw their hats in the middle. They did the same during the CCHA Championship break in the middle of overtime.
“It’s just something we all do,” Sandelin said. “I do not know. It started before I was here. Everyone just loves to make the fun, the circle before we leave for warming up on the ice. That game really helped us yesterday. The fight goes in overtime, we are all warmed up and waiting for the match to end. [It’s] a kind of similar situation. We just had to keep our heads focused and relax and be ready to go when that fight was to end. I felt like it was translated. We started well, did not get the first goal, but I felt we played good hockey through the first 20 minutes. It is a testament to the group to remain called up and ready to go when the puck fell. ”
Across an Ocean
This year is different than last year because there are more fans in the building and there are more families here. One of these families belonged to Ondrej Pavel. Pavel’s parents came from Prague in the Czech Republic. It was the first time since Pavel came to college two years ago that he has seen his parents.
“I think the last time my mom saw me play was at World Juniors way back in 2020,” Pavel said. “It’s incredible for me. They spent a huge amount of money coming over here and watching me play,” Pavel said.
“It’s great to see how much fun they have in the stands when talking to the other parents and Mankato supporters. I’m just glad I could be the channel for the fun, and I hope I make them proud. ”
Pavel also dryly remarked that he wanted people to visit Prague to help local tourism.
Over the course of the season, Denver has probably had to play more styles than any other team in college hockey. Just Thursday night, the Pioneers played a fast and ultra-talented Michigan team.
Now during the championship match on Saturday night, it will play against an old, dirty team that will try to dominate ball possession and end its checks.
“We’ve shown the ability to (change style) at a high level,” Denver coach David Carle said. “We have our own way of playing the game, which can be adapted to any style we want to go against. We are comfortable in many different types of games, which is an honor for the players who stick to our game plan, our structure and being able to perform in different ways based on the way our opponent plays. “
What Denver will see against Minnesota State will be very different from what it saw Thursday against Michigan. Despite the change from match to match, the Pioneers should be ready given the strain of playing in the NCHC. Like many of the teams Denver sees in its league, Mankato also has the talent to start with the physical.
“One of the things that will help us is that our regional was a good preparation for this,” said Denver senior Cameron Wright. “The great thing for us is to play our game and it has been something that has kept us successful this year.”
One of the interesting aspects of the championship game is the fact that Denver will go for a ninth national title, which would tie Michigan to the best character ever, while Mankato will try his first. The Pioneers are 8-3 all-time in national title fights, while the Mavericks make their first appearance in the big show.
“My mind is on the fight tomorrow and all of us here want to make a mark on the program,” said Hobey Hat Trick finalist Bobby Brink. “We have such high standards in Denver that the only way to live up to them is to win the national championship. That’s what we’re here to do.”
For Denver, it knows the story at stake, and it will hope that this edition adds to the knowledge already written about them.