UWSP is ready for the Frozen Four
"They're a team that thrives in bigger games," said UWSP head coach Tyler Krueger. "The bigger the game, the better they play, the more focused they get."
With two wins this weekend, the Pointers hockey team will cap off a perfect year with their sixth national championship, and they can do it on home ice.
"Hosting is just crazy," said UWSP senior defenseman Ryan Bittner.
It's a special opportunity, and one that isn't lost on this group.
"Really words can't express what it means to host this tournament here," said Krueger. "It's something that hasn't happened in 20 years, and might not ever happen again."
The team also knows playing at home, gives them an edge before a puck is even dropped.
"You're used to the environment, you're used to the boards, you're used to the ice," said UWSP senior forward T.J. Roo. "It's a huge advantage to have it at our home rink."
"I think the crowd is the biggest thing, and having the support," said Bittner. "I think it's got to be really intimidating for other teams to try to come in and compete against that."
Given that the Pointers are the undefeated number-one team in the country hosting the Frozen Four in their building, many would think that the team has the attitude that ending this weekend with anything but a national championship would make this season a failure. But they have a different message on that sentiment, and it's one that's bigger than hockey.
"Who you become, and who these guys have became this season, is going to get them far further in life than winning a championship," said Krueger.
That being said, the Pointers badly want to hang another banner, especially after coming so close, and losing in last year's Frozen Four
"We kind of are coming with that edge that we kind of feel like we got jipped a little bit last year," said Bittner So coming with the want to win again, and being able to host it at home I think gives us a really good advantage."
This program has had plenty of success, but they know this weekend could be the greatest storybook ending ever in Stevens Point sports. It's just two chapters away from being written.