The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

March 29, 2014

McInnis returns home for NCAA tourney

WORCESTER, MASS. — Johnny McInnis was the talk of the NCAA men’s hockey Northeast Regional practice day Friday at the DCU Center.

The Minnesota State senior captain had the Boston-area media wondering just how on earth McInnis left Massachusetts after his prep career concluded and ended up in the Midwest.

The truth, McInnis said, was that staying close to home as so many others from Boston do, “wasn’t in the cards.”

“I was just looking for an opportunity to play college hockey after I played juniors (in Alberta, Canada), and I got that at Mankato,” he said.

McInnis, a Boston native, wasn’t recruited by at Hockey East team, as he had hoped when he was playing for Lawrence Academy, a prep school located less than 40 miles from where he and the Mavericks will be playing today. Minnesota State’s opponent, UMass Lowell, is located just about 15 miles from the school.

“Obviously, I wanted (a chance) from a school out here, so there is a little bit of that chip on my shoulder,” McInnis said. “But there are no hostilities. It worked out the way it worked out, and I couldn’t be happier.”

McInnis, who leads the Mavericks in goal scoring with 21 goals, has a chance to lead MSU to its first Division I tournament win right in his back yard. About 40 friends and family members from the area are expected to be at the game.

"I might have been forgotten out here, but I haven’t forgotten that I’m from here," he said. "This is my home and I’m happy to be here, that’s for sure."

No longer new

A year ago at the Midwest Regional in Toledo, Ohio, Minnesota State players' heads were spinning a bit. They weren't used to the circus that goes along with making an NCAA tournament.

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