While the Tomahawks were earning an exciting 4-3 shootout victory in Johnstown on Saturday night, former Tomahawks and current Minnesota State defenseman Casey Nelson was celebrating his team’s berth into the NCAA Division I Tournament. Nelson earned an assist on the game-winning goal in a 4-1 victory over #4 Ferris State in the WCHA Final Five championship game, held in Grand Rapids, Mich. The win earned #15 Minnesota State an automatic berth into the NCAA tournament, where they will meet UMass-Lowell in the first round.
Nelson, the first Tomahawks alum to make it to the NCAA tournament, said the experience is one of the most special that he has been a part of. “I have never been a part of something so big at any level of my hockey career. I look forward to the challenges that this next step will bring,” said Nelson.
Nelson has appeared in 18 games for the Mavericks, scoring a goal and adding four assists. Last season, Nelson played in 58 games for the Tomahawks, scoring 10 goals and 22 assists. Nelson said that playing for the Tomahawks last season prepared him for his first collegiate season. “Last season helped me to prepare physically and mentally for the move to college hockey. I appreciated the opportunity to be a part of such a great organization and community,” said Nelson.
Minnesota State travels to Worchester, Mass. to take on UMass-Lowell on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. The winner advances to take on the winner of the Denver/Boston College game on Sunday evening at 5 p.m.