A pair of former Newburyport High School hockey players are expected to compete in the Division 1 NCAA tournament this weekend.
UMass Lowell teammates Derek McCoy and Billy Eiserman, who played at Newburyport together for the 2007-2008 season, are both expected to see ice time Friday when the third-seeded River Hawks face second-seeded Miami of Ohio in the opening round of the East Regional in Bridgeport, Conn.
UMass Lowell (23-12-1) earned an invitation to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1996. Friday's game will be broadcast live on ESPNU and ESPN 3.
"This is a pretty big accomplishment," McCoy said yesterday. "It's been 16 years, and we were fortunate enough to get a bid after a successful season."
Eiserman, a freshman, saw more ice time than the sophomore, McCoy, this season. The freshman defenseman played in 27 of the team's 36 games. He tallied three assists and had a +/- of +1.
"UMass Lowell was the first team I talked to when I was being recruited," Eiserman said. "I wasn't looking at the past, I was looking forward to the future. I wanted to be a part of changing it around. I wanted UMass Lowell to be a school people looked at with BC, BU and UNH, up high in Hockey East. We've made some noise this year."
Eiserman played at Newburyport High during his freshman and sophomore years in high school. He was a member of the Division 2 state champion team in 2009.
Following that season, he joined the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs of the Eastern Junior Hockey League. He then played for the Tri-City Storm of the United States Hockey League.
Billy's father, Bill Sr., was a member of the UMass Lowell hockey team in 1986-1987.
"The biggest difference in Division 1 hockey is the maturity level of the players," Billy Eiserman said. "Everybody's bigger and stronger, but the transition wasn't too difficult."