by Ralph Routon
So much for the University of Denver's hopes for another NCAA hockey championship. In the national tournament's first game Friday afternoon, Rochester Institute of Technology has stunned DU in a 2-1 upset.
Denver, which finishes 27-10-4, came into the NCAA as the No. 2 overall seed behind only Miami of Ohio. But the Pioneers, on the heels of a disappointing showing last weekend at the Western Collegiate Hockey Association's Final Five tournament in St. Paul, Minn., fell behind to RIT by 1-0 after two periods and never could take command in the first-round game at Albany, N.Y.
It was the second straight year for the Atlantic Hockey Association to open the NCAA tournament with a major upset. Last year, as the AHA champion, Air Force pulled off a similar feat by toppling Michigan.
RIT (27-11-1) advances to the regional final Saturday against the winner of Cornell-New Hampshire later today.
Other first-round games Friday include St. Cloud State vs. Northern Michigan and Wisconsin vs. Vermont.
Saturday's schedule includes the other four first-round games (Miami vs. Alabama-Huntsville, Bemidji State vs. Michigan, North Dakota vs. Yale, Alaska Fairbanks vs. Boston College) and two regional finals. Most of the games this weekend are being televised by ESPNU.