Royales to play for a National Championship

The Marquette Royales are one of twelve teams in contention for the Tier III Junior National Championship. The Royales will play three round robin games, the first of which is on Thursday.

Marquette had one last practice Tuesday morning at the Berry Events Center. The Royales will play a couple of their games at Nationals on an Olympic sheet of ice. Marquette hopes that by practicing on the Olympic sheet at the B.E.C. will benefit them once the games begin.

“We’re not doing a whole lot different, but it is nice to get the guys out here on the bigger ice,” said Royales Associate Head Coach Cliff Cook. “It’s hard to put into words what this season has really meant to all of us. We can’t say how big this is for the community and how much they have gotten behind us.”

The Royales will have scouts and coaches from around the country on hand to watch them play, which could present the opportunity for the players to interact with college hockey programs.

“Being at the national stage, you’re talking Division I and Division III schools being out there and it’s definitely sweet to be playing in front of those prestigious schools,” said Royales forward Robby Gervino. “It’s an awesome opportunity and we just have to capture it.”

People in Marquette been supportive of the Royales all season long and that has not changed since day one.

“All I hear all around town is ‘good luck’ and ‘have fun’ from everyone,” said Royales forward Dallas McLaughlin. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

“Winning the (Busch) Cup Trophy is a big thing, but we have to good at Nationals to prove that we deserved our opportunity to get there,” said Royales defenseman Hayden Rajala.

Marquette’s first game at the Tier III Junior National Championships is on Thursday, Apr. 3 against the Helena Bighorns.