BOZEMAN — This season has been nothing short of incredible for the Montana State hockey team. The Bobcats won back-to-back MWCHL championships and finished second in the West Region and third in the nation.
They received a bye past regionals for the first time in program history and are headed straight to the ACHA national championships, which take place in Boston from March 17-21.
“This whole season we’ve been focused on just straight going to nationals, to getting that bye, and I think that’s a big difference," Bobcats defenseman Rhys Phelps said. "Last year we were focused on just making it to nationals versus now being a contender at nationals.”
And how have they been able to accomplish this feat?
“I think everyone just knows their role on the team right now, and we’re all doing our jobs and doing what we’re supposed to," Bobcats defenseman Cade Street said. "Guys aren’t trying to do too much and it’s working for us for sure.”
Each member of the team is committed, the rigor has increased as nationals gets closer.
“Adding extra workouts, adding extra practices, a lot of stuff on the rink as well as away from the rink, getting our bodies ready,” Bobcats forward Ryan Larese said.
The Bobcats are on the cusp of making history, the moment of possibly winning it all is what players work for their entire lives.
“It definitely would be one of the biggest payoffs in some of these guy’s hockey careers," Street said. "Being able to hoist a cup at nationals is definitely every hockey player’s dream.”
But, you could say they always knew what they were capable of.
“Dave, the head coach, said five years ago that this would be the year that we win it, and so five years later it would be actually really cool to be the team to win it," Phelps said.
To help the team get to nationals, associate head coach Pete Kamman has created a GoFundMe account for all donations. For information, click here. They are at under $21,000 of their $50,000 goal. They are using the funds for travel, extra baggage fees for hockey equipment, van rental, lodging, meals, and practice costs.