A Losing Experience For Miami
by Mike McMahon/Staff Writer
MANCHESTER, N.H. Simply put, Boston College had been here plenty of times — Miami had not.
The difference in experience turned out to be the difference in Sunday's Northeast Regional Final as Boston College downed Miami 4-0 to earn themselves a trip to St. Louis and the Frozen Four. It marked the second straight season in which the Eagles eliminated the RedHawks, however this time Miami made it one round further.
"BC obviously just executed more plays than we did tonight — that was the story of the game," Miami head coach Enrico Blasi said.
Although BC did execute more plays, the RedHawks outshot the Eagles 37-33.
So was it experience? Blasi thought so.
"Experience is everything," he said. "You know what to expect, and it helped our team yesterday because of what we had last year. If you get here enough times something will go your way at some point. Look, we weren't even supposed to be here — you guys (the media) didn't give us a shot. I am just proud of the way that my guys battled. We played extremely well all weekend long; it just didn't go our way today."
BC head coach Jerry York also believes that his team's experience was a factor in deciding the game.
"It really does help," he said. "The longer you go into the postseason; you're returning players benefit so much from it. You look at a guy like Joe Rooney, this is his third time to the Frozen Four in four years with us. When you get to that type of stage, you return as a better player."
Things didn't get off on the right foot for the RedHawks. Three minutes into the game, Marty Guerin (32 points on the season) got ejected for hitting from behind.
"We stuck together but obviously losing Marty was a big blow to us," said senior forward Matt Christie. "Even though it was a blow, I don't think that our team gave up once. We came here to battle and we knew we would have to overcome some adversity. Losing him hurt us, sure, but we kept going."
The RedHawks came out firing outshooting the Eagles 12-8 in the first and appeared to be carrying the play. Then came the second frame and while the shots were even 12-12, BC was the team that had the better chances.
"The first five minutes of the second period was exactly what we wanted," Blasi said. "We protected the play and created a few scoring opportunities for ourselves.
"Then we are trailing 2-0 and all of a sudden it became a game that Boston College wanted to play. It was an up and down battle that became a transition game. It's not that we can't play a transition game, but when you're down two goals, it makes it tough. When you get to this level of play during this time of year, you've got to execute your chances and today that was not the case for us."
Late in the first, with the score 0-0, Nathan Davis broke in on a breakaway. Converted forward Brian Boyle made the play on defense and got his stick caught in the legs of Davis before dropping it. Davis was visibly upset as he thought Boyle threw his stick and wanted a penalty shot.
By rule, if a player throws his stick to break up a scoring chance, the opposing team is award a free breakaway.
"I guess it could have been a penalty shot," Blasi said. "But it wasn't so it's irrelevant. Obviously Nate was upset about it. I think that if you look at the replay you can make your own determination on what it should have been."
The game was similar to Miami's 2-1 win over New Hampshire on Saturday. Miami controlled early and their opponent poured it on late. The difference was that they were able to weather the storm against the Wildcats.
"I thought that the style of play was very similar," Christie said. "Both teams like to score goals in transition and control the puck to the center of the ice and try to get those three-on-two goals. Our mind set was similar to last night — if we could get the puck deep, then we would compete. We came out strong. They just got a few goals and put us back on our heels and we just couldn't dig ourselves out."