Derek McCoy will get another shot to take a trip to the Frozen Four.
The Newburyport High alumnus is a member of the Hockey East champion UMass Lowell hockey team, which drew the No. 1 seed in the Northeast Region of the 16-team NCAA tournament. In order to get to the Frozen Four, the top-seeded Riverhawks (26-10-2) will have to get through the Northeast Region, which also includes No. 2 Denver (20-13-5), No. 3 New Hampshire (19-11-7) and No. 4 Wisconsin (22-12-7). UMass Lowell will open against Wisconsin Friday in Manchester, N.H.
“We earned out way to home ice in the Hockey East tournament, and eventually, we won that championship,” said McCoy, who has appeared in one game for the Riverhawks this season. “We’ll continue to work and get back after it against Wisconsin.”
The UMass Lowell squad has come a long way since McCoy’s freshman year, when the team posted a five-win season. Coach Norm Bazin was hired before McCoy’s sophomore season, and the team has earned invitations to the NCAA tournament each of the last two seasons.
“Coach Bazin came in and changed things around,” McCoy said. “He’s an incredible coach with a great hockey mind. He has an exceptional staff. He pulled the team together into the system he put into place. We trust the coaching staff and the process. We work as hard as we can, and let it take its course.”
McCoy has seen his minutes decrease in each of his three seasons at UMass Lowell. He played in 11 games as a freshman and six games last season. Still, he remains committed to the program with one year of eligibility remaining after this one.
“This season didn’t play out exactly how I planned, but the team is on a roll,” McCoy said. “The coaches are sticking with what’s working. It’s not my most successful year personally, but as a team, which is the most important thing, we’re having a great year.”