BOSTON — The days can be long at the Frozen Four for players who just want to get on the ice and play.
The two teams that get to championship Saturday have a lot of hours to wait for the matchup to decide the NCAA title. Denver and Minnesota State are set for a faceoff just after 8 p.m. at TD Garden.
The wait will be worth it for one of the teams by the end of the night but the preparation is about the skill of adapting.
Minnesota State players have become pretty good at it, coach Mike Hastings said Friday.
“They’ve done a really good job at just managing what’s in front of them,” said Hastings, whose team already has some experience this week in a long day of waiting to play.
The Mavericks had the late semifinal on Thursday, and it was delayed past 9 p.m. because the first game went to overtime. The team backed up its start to the day to try to get things lined up better for the hours in between.
Hastings said conversations with other players and coaches who have gone the distance at the Frozen Four about what to expect have come around to the long days.
Mavericks forward Ondrej Pavel said it won’t matter once the teams hit the ice.
“I know this team will be ready no matter what time,” he said. “Everyone on this team has gone through every possible situation. We played in midget hockey where we have to be at the rink at 6 or 7 in the morning. We grew up slowly pushing the game time later.
“I believe we have played this game for so long, everyone has their core habits, that if they go through them, they will be ready for the game.”
Denver coach David Carle said the NCAA and TD Garden staff let the teams push their morning skates back to accommodate the 8 p.m. start and have a more normal routine through the rest of the day.
They’re due to arrive with police escorts at the red carpet outside the arena around 5:45 p.m. Then it’s business as usual.
“It’s the last game of the year. I don’t really worry about that too much,” Carle said of Saturday’s waiting game. “The guys are going to be excited and ready to go. They’ve worked so hard for each other all year to get to this moment. I know they’re going to be fired up come Saturday night.”
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