George Mason University has been ranked second in the Atlantic Region for the 2019-2020 season – its highest final ranking in program history.

As a result, Mason secured its first automatic bid to compete at the National Championship for Men’s Division III in Frisco, Texas, March 24-28.

The American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) announced the final rankings for the 2019-20 season last week.

The team is in the process of raising $25,000 to cover travel costs for the tournament. Mason’s annual alumni game on Saturday, Feb. 29, at 1:30 pm at the Prince William Ice Center in Woodbridge, VA, will be part of that fundraising effort. All proceeds from admission will go towards funding the trip. Tickets can be purchased at the door and will be $5 for students and $10 for adults.

This season, Mason jumped out to an impressively strong start, at one point holding a 17-game win streak. Despite a schedule stacked with Division I and II opponents in preparation for its jump to D-I next year, the team posted a 19-4-1-1 record in 25 games.

Mason’s first trip to the National Championship was in 2018. After ranking third in the Atlantic Region, the team defeated the University of Delaware and Fordham University at the regional qualifying tournament to win one of two remaining bids to Nationals in Columbus, Ohio. Mason went 1-1-1 in pool play and finished the tournament in the Top 20 teams in the country.

The tournament is a 16-team, pool play format where the winner from each four-team pool advances to the single elimination semifinal round, after which the top two teams face off for the national title.

Mason will be the second seed in Pool A, competing against first-seeded University of South Florida (20-6-1), who also received an auto-bid to Nationals as the number 1 team in the South Region. The last two slots in Pool A are pending the outcome of the regional tournaments. The third seed will go to the highest-ranked team to emerge from the Pacific Region and the fourth seed will go to the second-highest ranked team from the North Region.

The National Championship tournament will take place at the Comerica Center and Children’s Health StarCenter-Plano in Frisco. The Comerica Center is the practice facility of local National Hockey League (NHL) team and ACHA tournament partner, the Dallas Stars.For more information, please go to www.gmuicehockey.com

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