Minnesota State heads (north) east for NCAAs

Massachusetts-Lowell, Boston College and Johnny McInnis.

Who will have the biggest fan base at the Northeast Regional in Worcester, Mass.?

McInnis, Minnesota State’s captain and the only Boston-born player for the Mavericks, hopes his friends and family members are there cheering on his team from nearly 1,400 miles away.

“We’re going to make it a home game as much we can,” McInnis said.

Minnesota State will play Lowell in the first round of the national tournament next Saturday.

Lowell and BC are the local teams, each located an hour or so from Worcester’s DCU Center. But the McInnis faithful lives nearby, too.

“My phone’s been blowing up,” he said during a Selection Show viewing party at a downtown Mankato, Minn., Buffalo Wild Wings.

The viewing party took place only a few hours after the team returned from an overnight bus trip from Grand Rapids, Mich., where they won their first WCHA playoff championship on Saturday night.

They defeated Ferris State, which will be the No. 2 seed in the Midwest, 4-1 for the Broadmoor Trophy. Now they are seeded third and face the No. 2-seeded River Hawks.

“This time of year, it doesn’t matter who you get slotted up against,” Mavericks coach Mike Hastings said. “It’s going to be a challenge.”

The Mavericks are in the tournament for the second year in a row and the third time in their Division I history.