NAHL Alumni Report: Conference Championships edition
March 26, 2014
Former NAHL and Odessa Jackalopes goaltender Connor Hellebuyck was the MVP of the Hockey East Tournament as UMass-Lowell captured their second straight championship (photo by: John Corneau/JC Photography).
It was another big weekend for NAHL alumni playing in the NCAA as all of the Division I conferences had their post-season tournaments with precious NCAA Tournament bids on the line. Here is a look at the action in the conferences and those NAHL alumni that made an impact:
Atlantic Hockey Association (AHA)
Robert Morris won the conference tournament and secured the automatic NCAA bid. The MVP of the tournament and AHA Player of the Week was former Motor City Metal Jackets forward Cody Wydo. Wydo picked up his third hat trick of the season in Saturday's championship game, becoming the first Colonial in program history to score 30 goals in a single season. In the final two games of the AHA Tournament, Wydo produced a team-high four goals and five points to earn the Tournament MVP honors. Wydo now has 64 goals in his three-year career at RMU, tying the program's career record for goals scored. Wydo has amassed 52 points in 41 games this season, becoming the first Colonial to eclipse 50 points in one season during the program's ten-year history. Also earning All-Tournament honors were forward Greg Gibson (Amarillo Bulls) and defenseman Chris Rumble (Wenatchee Wild).
In the Big 10, three players earned All-Tournament honors as Wisconsin defeated Ohio State for the Championship. Former Brookings Blizzard defenseman Drew Brevig was named to the All-Tournament team for Ohio State and a pair of Wisconsin teammates forward Michael Mersch and defenseman Frankie Simonelli were also named to the All-Tournament Team. Mersch and Simonelli both played in the NAHL with the USNTDP team during the 2008-09 season.
A trio of former NAHL alumni led UMass-Lowell to their second consecutive Hockey East title and NCAA Tournament appearance. Former Odessa Jackalopes goaltender Connor Hellebuyck was named the Tournament’s MVP and was also named the Hockey East Player and Defensive Player of the Week. Hellebuyck was named the Tournament MVP for the second straight year. He became the first goalie in Hockey East history to record back-to-back shutouts in the HE Tournament, blanking Notre Dame (35 saves) and New Hampshire (30 saves) to lead UMass Lowell to a successful defense of its Hockey East playoff title. The two shutouts extended Hellebuyck's TD Garden streak to three, as he shut out Boston University in the 2013 Hockey East final. Also on the All-Tournament Team were UMass-Lowell teammates Christian Folin, D (Austin Bruins) and AJ White, F (Michigan Warriors).
National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC)
The University of Denver defeated Miami University in the Championship Game, 4-3. University of Denver freshman forward Emil Romig (Corpus Christi IceRays) added a 3rd period goal that turned out to be the Championship-winner when classmate Matt Marcinew stole the puck behind the net and centered to a streaking Romig for the score.
Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA)
Former NAHL defenseman Austin Coldwell (Springfield Jr. Blues/Bismarck Bobcats) was named to the WCHA All-Tournament Team as helped his Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves reach the Semi-Finals, ultimately losing to Ferris State in overtime. Coldwell had a goal and an assist in the 5-4 overtime loss.