The 2009 East Regional of the NCAA Tournament took place March 27 and 28, 2009, at the Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport, Connecticut. This was the first time the Arena at Harbor Yard hosted an NCAA regional. The regional was hosted by Yale University and Fairfield University.

The participants were:

  1. Michigan Wolverines
  2. Yale Bulldogs
  3. Vermont Catamounts
  4. Air Force Falcons

Yale was the ECAC Hockey champion, and Air Force was the Atlantic Hockey champion. Michigan and Vermont advanced to the NCAA Tournament by way of at-large bids.

First Round Edit

The first round games were played on March 27. Of the eight first-round games at all regionals this year, only one #1 seed and one #2 seed—neither of them at this regional—won; three #4 seeds and three #3 seeds won the remaining games.

In the first game, Air Force and netminder Andrew Volkening extended their amazing shutout streak, dating back to the second period of their third game against the Sacred Heart Pioneers in the AHA quarterfinals. They had previously shut out the Bentley Falcons and the high-scoring Mercyhurst Lakers before stunning overall #4 seed Michigan. Air Force got the win despite being outshot 43-13.

This is Air Force's first win in the NCAA tournament.

27 March 2009
Arena at Harbor Yard – Bridgeport, CT
1st 2nd 3rd Final
 #1 Michigan 0 0 0 0
 #4 Air Force 1 1 0 2

27 March 2009
Arena at Harbor Yard – Bridgeport, CT
1st 2nd 3rd Final
 #2 Yale 0 0 1 1
 #3 Vermont 1 2 1 4

Final Edit

There is no way to describe the ending of this game but "bizarre".

Air Force, having notched their first NCAA tournament win, was trying to become the first team from outside the "Big Four" conferences to make the Frozen Four (a feat the Bemidji State Beavers (coached by Air Force coach Frank Serratore's brother Tom) would accomplish about 24 hours later).

Vermont was able to do something that Bentley, Mercyhurst, and Michigan could not: score against Air Force. True, it took them until almost four minutes into the third period to do it, but that tally not only broke Andrew Volkening's shutout streak but also tied the game at one. Vermont was only able to score by collapsing the Falcons' impenetrable defense, then moving the puck back to the point, where defenseman Josh Burrows was able to slap the puck past a now-screened Volkening. Vermont used that successful strategy all game, the first team to solve that puzzle.

Each team would score once more in the period to force overtime. Late in the second overtime, a point shot from Vermont defenseman Dan Lawson evaded Volkening for the winning score. But no one knew it for almost five minutes. Despite a few shouts from the Catamounts bench, play continued, because the puck went through the back of the net and bounced hard off the rear boards, no one realizing the puck hadn't just missed the net. Finally, at a stoppage of play almost five minutes later, the referees spent 12 minutes reviewing the earlier play and finally awarded the winning goal to Vermont.

28 March 2009
Arena at Harbor Yard – Bridgeport, CT
1st 2nd 3rd OT OT2 Final
 #3 Vermont 0 0 2 0 1 3
 #4 Air Force 0 1 1 0 0 2

All-Regional Team Edit

Sean Bertsch Air Force Sophomore Forward
Jacques Lamoureux Air Force Junior Forward
Viktor Stalberg Vermont Junior Forward
Greg Flynn Air Force Senior Defense
Dan Lawson Vermont Sophomore Defense
Andrew Volkening Air Force Junior Goaltender

Dan Lawson was named the East Regional Most Outstanding Player.

2009 NCAA Tournament Links Edit

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