November 23, 2012

Men's Hockey Gears Up for MCHA/NCHA Tournament

TV - My New 32 (WACY) Green Bay, Appleton, Fond du Lac

Click here for St. Norbert online video stream

DE PERE, Wis. (SabreAthletics.com) – The Annual MCHA/NCHA Thanksgiving tournament we be played for the final time as Marian University and Lawrence University of the MCHA take on host St. Norbert College and the College of St. Scholastica in a classic format at Cornerstone Community Center in De Pere taking place today and tomorrow. After this season, SNC and CSS will be poised to join the MCHA, making this the final year of the MCHA/NCHA showcase.

The Sabres will be taking on two-time defending national champion and host St. Norbert at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on My New 32 (WACY) in a high-definition telecast, broadcasting in the Green Bay and Fond du Lac viewing areas. It marks the first high-definition telecast of a Marian men's hockey game in program history.

"It's great exposure for our hockey," Marian Head Coach A.J. Aitken said. "This is a great chance to introduce to people the brand of hockey Marian can bring. Playing the defending national champions, it's a great opportunity for our guys."

It will also mark the first meeting between Aitken, who's in his first year at Marian, and his former team of nine seasons. As associate head coach under Tim Coghlin, Aitken helped guide St. Norbert to seven NCAA Frozen Four appearances and three national championships (2008, 2011, 2012).

"I knew this game was on the schedule when I took the job," Aitken said. "I was excited about it and can't believe it's here already. It's defeinitely going to be bittersweet for me. Being on the other bench is going to be strange. Being apart of a championship team, you always remember those moments.

"I didn't really harp on this game for our guys because our main focus is [MCHA] conference play, but I'm happy with the 4-2-1 start that we have," Aitken added. "I'm really hoping for a good effort from our guys today. It's going to be another big opportunity for us and an opportuinity towards gearing this program towards competing for a national champoinship."

The Sabres, who hosted the four-team event last season, played the Green Knights to a 5-5 tie at the Blue Line Family Ice Center in Fond du Lac.

"We match up well physically," Aitken said. "The intesity level is going to be high. Execution of the game is going to be very important. How hard it is to win in that barn...Our guys don't know that. We're going to get a first-hand look of the intensity level. Every line is strong for both teams and for us, we have to bring it each and every shift. This is a great learning experience for us as players, as a staff, and it's a good taste of what we are going to see when they join our league next year."

Preceding the Sabres and Green Knights will be another non-conference tilt between Lawrence and St. Scholastica at 3:30 p.m. Saturday's contests will pit the Sabres and Saints at 3:30 p.m. followed by the Vikings and Green Knights in a 7 p.m. start.