Two Division I teams with heavy NAHL alumni representation knocked off No. 1 seeds in the NCAA tournament on Friday, with the Air Force Academy blanking the University of Michigan, 2-0, in an East Regional contest and Miami-Ohio doubling up the University of Denver, 4-2, in a West Regional game.
Sixteen former NAHL players grace the Air Force roster, and a few of them came up big against the Wolverines, most notably junior goaltender Andrew Volkening, formerly of the Wasilla Spirit, who stopped all 43 shots to pick up the shutout.
Offensively, junior forward Jacques Lamoureux, a Bismarck Bobcats graduate and a Hobey Baker finalist, scored for the Falcons with former Billings Bull Greg Flynn, a senior defenseman, assisting on both markers.
Eleven players competing in the NAHL this season have committed to Air Force for next season or 2010-11.
In Miami’s win over the Pioneers, last year’s NAHL MVP, goaltender Cody Reichard (Fairbanks Ice Dogs), stopped 16 shots to backstop the Red Hawks to their triumph.
Former Mahoning Valley Phantom Alden Hirschfeld, a freshman forward, scored for Miami in the win, with freshman forward Trent Vogelhuber, an ex-St. Louis Bandit, picking up an assist.
The next day, Reichard made 25 saves as the Red Hawks defeated the University of Minnesota Duluth, 2-1, in the West Regional final to earn a berth to the Frozen Four.
Five former NAHL players are on Miami’s roster.
On Saturday, seven former NAHLers helped Bemidji State University take down the No. 1 seed University of Notre Dame in a Midwest Regional semifinal, 5-1.
Junior forward Chris McKelvie, a former Bozeman Icedog, and freshman forward Ben Kinne, a Santa Fe RoadRunners graduate, scored in the win, and freshman forward Shea Walters, formerly of the North Iowa Outlaws, picked up an assist.
Four current NAHL players have committed to Bemidji State.