Mavericks make NCAA playoffs

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March 23rd, 2011

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Omaha, NE – In a crowded bus with his teammates, riding the long stretch of interstate between Omaha and Missouri, Maverick senior defenseman Nick Von Bokern is biding his time. He’s waiting for the opportunity to face a tough Michigan team with a 26-10 and 4 overall record this Friday. The match-up will be the first round of the Division 1 NCAA college hockey championships.

For Von Bokern, it’s all or nothing, as he draws near the end of his college hockey career.

“I mean, obviously, as a senior this is your last chance at it,” said Von Bokern. “It’s a chance to kinda leave your mark on the program and to do something great for not only yourself as a hockey player, but also for the university.”

Mavs head to first round of NCAA playoffs (Photo courtesy Maverick Athletics)

Although the team is coming off two tough losses to Bemidji State which has a losing record of 15-18-2, Von Bokern says his team is confident that through teamwork they can overcome the past and meet future challenges head-on. This season presented a unique challenge for the Mavericks as they made the move from the CCHA conference into the WCHA, a more difficult conference packed with tougher teams. All in all, the Mavericks are riding high on a 21-15 and 2 overall record as well as being the third seed in the West Regional. Von Bokern attributes the Mavericks surprise success in the WCHA to one thing:

“Sticking together… I mean that’s all you can do at this time of year,” emphasized Von Bokern. “When you go through a tough loss of your regular season tournament like that, you’ve just got to come together and we were fortunate enough to make the tournament and I think that’s been kind of a good thing for us is knowing that there’s light at the end of the tunnel and we’ve got another chance at it.”

It won’t be the first time the two teams have met. UNO beat Michigan 4-2 on October 22nd, that win was followed by a Maverick loss the next night to split the two game series. A win against the Wolverines on Friday at the Scottrade Center would be pivotal, and would push the Mavericks into a Saturday matchup against the winner of the other game in the regional, either defending national champs Boston College or their opponent Colorado College. Either way, a win on Friday would leave much ahead for the new-comers to the W.C.H.A.

Athletic Media Relations Director Dave Ahlers will be doing play-by-play announcing for the game. He says the Mavs chances against the Wolverines are pretty good.

“As you may remember, the Mavericks played them back in October and split with them at Yost Ice Arena, which is interesting because if you look at their home record, we are one of only two teams to beat Michigan on its home ice,” said Ahlers. “The Mavericks have to be feeling good about themselves going into this match-up. They’ve seen this team before, they know what they’re all about, they know they can beat them and it should be just a terrific game.”

No matter the outcome, there should be no lack of action on the ice. The First National Pregame Show begins at 4 pm. The puck drops at 4:30. You can catch all the action on Classical 90.7 KVNO.

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