Frozen Four Countdown Begins for UMD Bulldogs
The Bulldogs took the ice Wednesday afternoon as they get set to take on Ohio State.
ST. PAUL — The wait is almost over. In less than 24 hours, the UMD Bulldogs will take the ice at the Xcel Energy Center for their second straight Frozen Four, and sixth ever in school history.
Wednesday’s practice brought back memories of last year’s NCAA playoffs as the ‘Dogs prepared once again for a Thursday night semi-final. Despite the similar success, senior captain Karson Kuhlman says this season has been a process.
“As much as it was a learning year for our younger guys, especially our Freshman, I think it was a learning year for me as well, learned a lot pf things about how to push some buttons, get guys motivated in different ways and I couldn’t be prouder of the freshman class,” Kuhlman said.
Also returning to the Frozen Four is UMD junior Parker Mackay who battled injuries earlier this season, returning just in time to help push the Bulldogs to the postseason.
“It wasn’t easy. Throughout the year just trying to stay conditioned when you are injured and things like that. Trying to jump in when its playoff time, the pace jumps up and so it is tough a bit. Kudos to the guys for battling and putting ourselves in a good spot,” said Mackay.
UMD’s young defensive core has been a focal point so far this season. Freshman defender Scott Perunovich is skating in his first Frozen Four, and is happy to have an experienced roster at his back.
“Obviously we were really young coming into the year, that motivated us quite a bit, there was a lot f talk that we weren’t ready that we would be young, that just made us keep getting better and better. I think we really came together a lot this year, Wolfy (Nick Wolf) has been our headmaster and he’s done a great job getting us to gel as the year goes on,” Perunovich said.
Not much time left for speculation as puck drops Thursday at 5 p.m. between #4 Ohio State and the UMD Bulldogs. This is the first time ever these two have met in the Frozen Four. The winner heads to the national championship Saturday night.