The 2012 NCAA hockey tournament started up Friday with four games in two of the regionals. It didn't take terribly long before we saw the first upset of the tournament. And the second.
After high seeds won opening games in Bridgeport, Conn., and Green Bay, Wisc., the second game of the East Regional produced a scintillating comeback and an upset. Then the Midwest Regional's second game produced an even bigger one, as Cornell took down mighty Michigan 3-2 in overtime.
Regional top seed Michigan scored early in the first period, as captain Luke Glendening gave the Wolverines a 1-0 lead. A second goal by Kevin Lynch was waived off before 90 seconds had elapsed in the first, as the officials ruled Cornell goalie Andy Iles had been interfered with.
The Big Red were buoyed by that call, outplaying Michigan for a good chunk of the game. The Wolverines were frustrated by Cornell, which was content to keep the game slow. Cornell carried a 2-1 lead into the final five minutes, but Lynch tied it on a rebound, and the game went into overtime.
In overtime, a great rush by Cornell led to a huge save by Michigan goalie and Hobey Baker finalist Shawn Hunwick. Unfortunately for Hunwick, he couldn't control the puck as he sprawled from right to left to make the initial save. Rodger Craig of Cornell came across the slot and banged the rebound into a largely empty net, giving Cornell the great upset win.
Were it not for a win in the ECAC Tournament third-place game last week, Cornell would have likely missed the tournament completely. Now, the Big Red are a win away from the Frozen Four in Tampa.
In the East Regional, No. 3-seeded UMass-Lowell took a 3-0 lead over No. 2-seeded Miami in the second period, but the River Hawks couldn't add to or hold the lead. Instead, Miami rallied with three goals in the third period -- two of them just 14 seconds apart -- and forced overtime. The RedHawks also carried a five-minute major power play into overtime.
After UML shut down the power play, the River Hawks got the winning goal from Riley Wetmore, his second of the game, for the 4-3 upset win. UML outshot Miami 3-0 in the overtime after Miami outshot the River Hawks 18-8 in the third period.
UMass-Lowell (24-12-1) moves into the regional final Saturday against Union (N.Y.), which beat Michigan State 3-1 in the first game Friday. The top-seeded Dutchmen won an NCAA Tournament game for the first time in school history.
In the Midwest Regional's first game, Ferris State (Mich.) beat Denver 2-1. The Bulldogs got goals from Jordie Johnston and Simon Denis, and after missing last week's CCHA semifinals in Detroit, Ferris looked like the fresher team for a chunk of the third period. Ferris had the week off while the Pioneers played three games in three days -- one of which went two overtimes -- at the WCHA Final Five.
No. 2-seeded Ferris State advanced to the regional final Saturday against Cornell.