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Sean Leahy

Upsets, comebacks highlight opening day of NCAA hockey

Sean Leahy
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If you were a higher seed in the NCAA hockey tournament, then Friday was not your day. University of Michigan fans must have had flashbacks of the monumental upset that Appalachian State handed to the Wolverines in the opening game of their football season in 2007. Wolverine Nation went from maize and blue to just feeling blue after Air Force, yes, Air Force, a No. 4 seed in the East Regional, shocked No. 1 seed and tournament contender, Michigan 2-0 in the opening game in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Air Force goaltender Andrew Volkening (whose name has been reminding me of that Tom Cruise bomb "Valkyrie" all night) was the game's MVP, stopping 43 shots en route to victory. His teammates on the offensive end could only muster 13 shots, but that was more than enough. A power-play goal near the end of the first period by Derrick Burnett and then the insurance marker by Jacques Lamoureux almost midway through the second period were enough for Air Force to move on to the East Regional final tonight against No. 3 Vermont, who joined the upset party after defeating No. 2 Yale.

Upset City's population continued to grow as West Regional No. 1 seed Denver fell behind 3-0 to No. 4 seeded Miami of Ohio and just could not recover in time, losing 4-2.

To cap off an eventful first day, the game of night was certainly between Minnesota-Duluth and Princeton. Down two goals with under a minute remaining in their season, Minnesota-Duluth scored twice, with 39 seconds left and then tied things up with just 0.8 seconds remaining to force overtime. In the extra frame, Mike Connolly scored 13:39 into overtime to lift the Bulldogs to the West Regional final against Miami of Ohio tonight.

Video of the wild, final minute is after the jump.

The second set of opening-round games continue today with top seeds Boston University and Notre Dame in action. Below is the updated bracket courtesy of College Hockey News and I would imagine there are many busted brackets this morning.

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