Updated 11:45 p.m.
This year’s NCAA men’s hockey tournament is from the ‘Bizarro World’ (Seinfeld reference) and the result could be an unlikely group of teams coming to the Verizon Center April 9 for the Frozen Four semifinals.
The high seeds have lost.
There have been two, two-goal rallies that were capped with overtime victories.
Unknown programs like Air Force and Bemidji State have posted stunning wins. Here’s quick review.
Friday’s regional semifinals
*Top seeds Michigan and Denver University lose to Air Force and Miami (Ohio), respectively. Air Force won 2-0 despite being outshot 43-13 by the Wolverines. Ashburn native Matt Fairchild assisted on one of the Falcons’ goals. Meanwhile, in less of an upset, Miami defeated Denver 4-2 in impressive fashion. Miami is from one of the sport’s power conferences (the CCHA) but it was surprising to see it allow only 18 Denver shots.
*Late Friday, with a minute remaining, Minnesota-Duluth trailed Princeton 4-2 in Minneapolis. Lightning bolt No. 1 – the Bulldogs scored with four seconds left (a power play marker with the goalie pulled). Lightning bolt No. 2 – again with the goalie pulled, the Bulldogs forced overtime with less than a second remaining. Lightning bolt No. 3 – Less than eight minutes into overtime, Mike Connolly won it for UMD with a power play goal.
Saturday’s regional semifinals
*North Dakota appeared to be in control of New Hampshire, holding a 5-3 lead (because of that insanely boring multi-overtime lacrosse game in Charlottesville, viewers were deprived nearly the first half of North Dakota-New Hampshire. Thanks for nothing, ESPN.) Anyway, the second-seeded Sioux saw the lead cut to 5-4 with nine minutes remaining and UNH tied it with – yep – less than a second remaining and the goalie pulled. UNH got the game winner 45 seconds into overtime (6-5 final score).
*In Grand Rapids, Mich., No. 2 seed Northeastern lost to No. 3 seed Cornell, 3-2. Cornell tied the game with 3:56 remaining and notched the game winner with 18 seconds left in regulation.
*The shocker of the day was No. 4 Bemidji State dominating No. 1 seed Notre Dame 5-2. BSU’s coach is Tom Serratore – his brother is Air Force coach Frank Serratore. BSU plays in a conference that includes Niagara and Robert Morris; Notre Dame is a CCHA power (a league that includes Michigan and Michigan State).
*Top overall seed Boston University cruised past Ohio State 8-3. The Terriers are clearly the team to beat. Eight BU players had at least two points in the win and needed only 27 shots to score its eight goals.
Saturday’s regional finals
*Miami is headed for the Frozen Four with a 2-1 win over Minnesota-Duluth. Miami will play the Cornell-Bemidji State winner in D.C.
*And, the game of the tournament — Vermont and Air Force endured a long delay in the second overtime when referees reviewed a shot by Vermont that appeared to go THROUGH the net. A goal was ruled and Vermont wins 3-2. UVM will lay the BU-New Hampshire winner in a D.C. semifinal.
— Ryan O’Halloran