One Seeds Struggle
So much for a “one” seed.
Since the tournament expanded to 16 teams, Holy Cross’ win over Minnesota last year was the only victory by a fourth-seeded team over a one. This year, however, two out of four No. 1s (New Hampshire, Clarkson) lost in the first round, one (Notre Dame) went to double overtime to win and one (Minnesota) needed a miracle comeback to survive.
“I hope this year puts an end to the talk and speculation about whether these teams belong here,” said Minnesota coach Don Lucia.
Falcons Win Crowd
The Denver crowd quickly swung its allegiance to the local team, starting with supporting them on big plays.
“Anytime we had a big play or a goal the energy was lifting us from the crowd,” said Air Force defenseman Billy Devoney on the support of the attendees at the Pepsi Center Saturday.
In the second period, chants of “Air Force” emerged as the Falcons gathered momentum. It was the second time in two years that Minnesota went into a neutral site and had the crowd against them, after last season’s appearance against Holy Cross on rival North Dakota’s home ice.
With host team Denver failing to make the NCAA tournament, a great deal of conjecture had centered around how big the crowd would actually be. The presales were solid at 8,400, but the number of fans in the seats was substantially harder to project.
The official — tickets purchased, that is — attendance was announced at 11,161, with estimated gate attendance around 7,000.
Battle of the Brothers
Air Force defenseman Greg Flynn and Minnesota forward Ryan Flynn faced off against each other for the first time in a college game, and both found themselves on the ice with less than two minutes to go after Air Force had pulled goalie Andrew Volkening.
Needless to say, it must be tough on the parents to figure out who to cheer for.
“I looked at their bench and the look of concern was all over.” — Air Force head coach Frank Serratore.
“They were definitely one of the toughest teams we played this year.” — Mike Carman on Air Force’s play.
“I would be a liar to say I didn’t have an ache in my gut.” — Serratore.