The Colorado Buffaloes men’s hockey team has high hopes for the fourth annual Western Classic Tournament, and they’re not afraid to say it.
“I don’t think it really matters to us who our opponent is,” CU goalie Kevin Litinsky said. “As long as we play our game the way we know how and everybody’s on the same page, it doesn’t matter who we’re playing. We’ll have a good chance to win that game.”
This year’s tournament could be an exciting event, especially since CU will strive to avenge its disappointing act last year. Max Myers isn’t worried about a repeat performance.
“I’m not nervous about that,” Myers said. “I’m a lot more confident in my team this year.”
Colorado, who is No. 1 in the American Collegiate Hockey Association’s West Region, is co-hosting the tournament with Colorado State for the third straight year. The tourney runs from Thursday to Sunday.
The format of the tournament is as follows:
• Division II teams, or the tourney’s South pool, will play in Boulder from Thursday to Saturday at the CU Ice Arena in CU Recreation Center.
• Division III teams, or the tourney’s North pool, will play in Fort Collins from Thursday to Saturday at the EPIC Ice Arena.
• The top teams from each pool will compete in the championship game while the runners-up will play in the third-place consolation game on Sunday. The time and location will be decided Saturday night.
In its pool, CU will play against Northern Arizona, Texas A&M and Utah State, respectively. The Buffs have yet to face the former two, but head coach Ken Fikis is not troubled by this fact.
“We don’t know a lot about the other two teams but I think the kids are rested,” Fikis said. “I think the kids are pretty excited as well as I am about this tournament.
However, the team has played Utah State once this season. It was an intense 60 minutes, but the Buffs came out with the win. With a victory against the Aggies under their belts, Myers feels good about playing them Saturday.
“I think they’re always a tough team, but we haven’t lost to them in a few years now,” Myers said. “I think if we come and play a complete game, there’s no reason we should lose to that team.”
Fikis, though, offered some important advice for his team to be successful this weekend.
“We have to do the things we’ve been doing in the last month and that’s working together as a team,” Fikis said.
Fikis thinks the men have finally come together as a team and it will make them a force to be reckoned with.
“I just think now they understand they can be as good as they want to be when they play together as a team,” Fikis said. “They have never won this tournament since it started and I think their expectations are to win it, finally.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Kayla Cornett at Kayla.email@example.com.