Notebook: East Regional

Friday’s Facts

Air Force finished with only 13 official shots on goal in its first-round upset, the fourth-lowest total in NCAA tournament history. The only service academy to ever play in the tourney, the Falcons got their first national tournament win on Friday.

Upending Michigan may have felt catastrophic for the Maize & Blue, but the upset probably falls short in pure shock value to Atlantic Hockey’s only previous NCAA win: Holy Cross’ 4-3 overtime stunner of Minnesota in 2006.

The Wolverines lost their first-ever game to an Atlantic Hockey opponent at the worst possible time, getting shut out despite more than tripling the Falcons in shots. It was the fourth time Michigan had been shut out this year, and the team finished the season as the only squad in the country that didn’t play an overtime game.

Yale may not have won, but the Bulldogs did score their first NCAA tournament goal since 1952.

Friday’s attendance of 8,748 (listed hockey capacity: 8,500) set a new Arena record for hockey, and Saturday’s draw – listed as the same as Friday’s – was actually quite strong given the remaining combatants.

Finale Thoughts

With 12:48 left in the second period, a pane of glass behind Vermont’s net shook loose on a hit. The Bridgeport bull gang looked more like a pit crew, jogging the full 200 feet and replacing the long pane with remarkable efficiency.

The crew earned a rousing ovation from the appreciative crowd. That particular section of endboard proved problematic, as the gang sprinted out for another quick fix 5:29 into the second overtime … which took fewer than 30 seconds to accomplish.

A canned rendition of “Brass Bonanza” – the late Hartford Whalers’ team anthem – registered surprisingly little reaction from the Nutmeg State crowd during the second intermission of Saturday’s contest.

Burrows’ goal 3:56 into the third period ended Volkening’s shutout streak at 262:04. The Catamounts smelled blood in the water, and used the same recipe – a massive screen – to burn the goalie again 5:33 later. All three Vermont goals were scored on point shots by defensemen, a strategy that UVM was forced to adopt by the Falcons’ impenetrable defense.

Ridiculous replay delay aside, there was also much confusion over the actual time of Lawson’s game-winner. The ESPN video crew assisted the regional’s sports information representatives – who did a stellar job, by the way – to try to pinpoint exactly when the shot took place.

The official time was eventually listed at 14:10 of the second overtime, but dissenting opinions hold that the goal was actually scored as many as four minutes earlier. It’s a minor detail, when it comes down to it, but it was nonetheless a befuddling and novel conundrum for those involved.

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