Not many expected much - if anything - out of the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) heading into the NCAA Division I tournament, but wouldn’t you know it, the Tigers are headed to the Frozen Four and they have a North American Hockey League (NAHL) graduate to thank.
Junior goaltender Jared DeMichiel, who played for the Springfield Jr. Blues during the 2004-05 season, was named the Most Outstanding Player of the East Regional after backstopping RIT (Atlantic Hockey) to victories over the University of Denver (WCHA) and the University of New Hampshire (Hockey East).
DeMichiel made 39 saves in a 2-1 win over DU on Friday, and followed that up with a 24-save performance in a 6-2 triumph over UNH the next day.
Speaking of former NAHL goaltenders, Miami-University sophomore Cody Reichard, the league’s MVP with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs in 2007-08 and the CCHA Player of the Year this season, made 16 saves in the RedHawks' 2-1 victory over the University of Alabama-Huntsville on Saturday.
Sophomore forward Alden Hirschfeld, who played for the NAHL’s Mahoning Valley Phantoms, connected for the game-winner in the second OT for Miami (CCHA) on Sunday as the RedHawks advanced to the Frozen Four with a 3-2 triumph over the University of Michigan (CCHA).
Boston College (Hockey East) and the University of Wisconsin (WCHA) will join Miami and RIT at the Frozen Four, which will take place from April 8-10 at Ford Field in Detroit.