New rooting interest for Quinnipiac
The unofficial creed of the United States Postal Service goes like this: "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.''
However, that particular creed says nothing about the NCAA Frozen Four.
And maybe it should. Tom Cashman delivers mail in Red Wing and always makes his appointed rounds, but the last 10 days or so have been tough.
"He's having a hard time getting through with his route because everyone stops him and wants to talk about the Frozen Four,'' said Reid Cashman, who is Tom's son. "From what he tells me, everyone in the city is pretty pumped up.''
They're pumped up over tiny Quinnipiac, which plays St. Cloud State in a Frozen Four semifinal at 7 p.m. today (ESPN2) from the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.
Normally, the Red Wing love in a game like this would go out to St. Cloud, the only team left in the Frozen Four located west of New York and the only representative from the WCHA. Massachusetts-Lowell plays Yale in the other semifinal.
That's not the case.
Reid Cashman is in his second year as a Quinnipiac assistant coach and still has plenty of roots in this area.
"You wouldn't believe all the messages and well wishes I've received the last week,'' he said, "both in Red Wing and in the St. Paul area where I was born.''
A 2002 Red Wing grad, Cashman was one of the top players to ever skate with the Wingers. After graduating, he played with the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL for a year and that was enough to earn him a scholarship to play at Quinnipiac.
He enjoyed a spectacular four-year career with the Bobcats, and was recently named as one of the top 50 players in ECAC Hockey history.
As a senior, Cashman was even a Hobey Baker Memorial Award finalist.
For the next eight years, he skated professionally and was headed for a ninth (in Germany) when he received a call from Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold, who was looking for an assistant coach.
A Michigan State assistant was offered the job but at the last minute declined.
Cashman, you might say, was in the right place at the right time.
"It was tough giving up my professional career; I still enjoyed skating,'' he said on Tuesday before the team boarded a flight for Pittsburgh, "but this was too good of an opportunity to pass up. I've always wanted to coach and to do it at my university is great.
"If they'll have me, I could see me coaching for a long time. Hopefully, I'll be here for a long time. My wife (Steph) love it.''
Quinnipiac moved to Division 1 in the 1998-99 season and has enjoyed 15 straight winning seasons.
The 30-year-old Cashman has never even attended a Frozen Four and this is a first-time experience for both schools as well. Quinnipiac enters with a 29-7-5 and a No. 1 ranking in the country while St. Cloud has a 21-15-1 record.
The teams have met four times, with St. Cloud winning three.
"If we play defense like I know we can, I think we'll be OK,'' Cashman said.
Qunnipiac defeated Canisius and Union in the NCAA East Regional while St. Cloud advanced with wins over Notre Dame and Miami, Ohio in the Midwest Regional.
"Our fan base is excited,'' Cashman said. "We had 600 tickets available and they were gone just like that.
The Frozen Four championship will be played at 6 p.m. Saturday on ESPN.