MINOT, N.D. – The Beaver men’s hockey team is set to meet two powerhouse programs on the ice.
Two-time ACHA National Champion Minot State has signed a deal to play at reigning NCAA Division I and 9-time National Champion the University of Denver and at 2-time NCAA D-I National Champion Colorado College this coming December.
The Beavers, who wrapped up the regular season ranked No. 1 in the latest ACHA poll released today, will play at Colorado College on Friday, Dec. 29, then at Denver on Saturday, Dec. 30. Both games will be exhibition contests.
“This is an incredible opportunity for our program to play two premier teams at the highest level of collegiate hockey,” said Minot State head coach Wyatt Waselenchuk, who was initially approached about the contests by Denver University. “I couldn’t be more excited for our players to experience the atmosphere and the competition. We will certainly have a challenge ahead of us, but we are going to embrace it every step of the way.
“We are honored to not only represent Minot State University, but the ACHA as a whole,” Waselenchuk added. “I’d also like to thank coach David Carle at Denver and coach Kris Mayotte with Colorado College for putting this together.”
Minot State athletic teams frequently compete with NCAA Division I foes in sports like track and field, and in November of 2021, the Beaver men’s basketball team played an exhibition at in-state NCAA D-I foe North Dakota State, but for multi-time National Champions from two different organizations – the ACHA and NCAA – to compete head-to-head provides a rare competitive opportunity.
“This is a huge step for our hockey program here at Minot State,” said Minot State sophomore forward Jay Buchholz, who is third on the Beavers this season in scoring with 38 points on 13 goals and 25 assists. “Being able to play these top Division I schools, and the opportunity to go out and compete, is something that we can learn a lot from. Who knows what kind of doors these could open for us in the future.
“It will be an unforgettable experience, and we are excited to be a part of the first two games in Beaver hockey history at the NCAA D-I level.”
LINK TO ACHA POLL
Minot State men’s hockey finishes regular season ranked No. 1
Despite a road split over the weekend in Virginia, the Minot State men’s hockey team remained No. 1 in the ACHA Division I men’s hockey poll released today, the final poll of the regular season.
The Beavers (29-3-0 overall) fell 5-1 on Friday at then-No. 6 Liberty, then bounced back strong for a 5-3 win over the Flames. The split helped Liberty climb one spot in the final regular-season poll to No. 5 in the nation.
Ohio, who the Beavers split with on the road two weekends ago as well, moved to No. 2 in the final poll, while Adrian (Mich.) was No. 3 and UNLV slipped to No. 4.
The final regular-season poll also sets the opening-round schedule for the National Tournament, hosted March 16-21 in Marlborough, Massachusetts with Minot State set to play on Friday, March 17, at 7 p.m. (CT) against the winner of Thursday’s game between 17th-seeded Michigan-Dearborn and 16th-seeded Lawrence Tech.
Before the Beavers head to nationals, they’ll get the chance to tune up their game with two more battles against in-state rival Jamestown, which is ranked No. 7 in the final regular-season poll. Minot State plays at Jamestown next Wednesday, March 8, and hosts the Jimmies on Thursday, March 9, at the Maysa Arena. Puck drop is 7 p.m. for both games.