Known vs. Unknown; BU-Miami Set For Title Fight
by Matthew Conyers/CHN Staff Writer
WASHINGTON, D.C. With 20 minutes left before the first faceoff of the second national semifinal Thursday, Miami’s locker room was beginning to look like a ghost town.
Junior Jared Palmer made his way back and forth to the sinks and sophomore Andy Miele continued to meddle with his unzipped bag. Beyond the two forwards, only a few teammates remained.
The message couldn’t be misread — it was time to clear out.
The RedHawks wanted to get as far from the rink as possible.
Only moments after defeating Bemidji State in the first semifinal game 4-1, the RedHawks coaching staff had told the players that they wanted them gone.
The brief delay ends Saturday.
Boston University, the tournament’s top overall seed, will be playing in its 10th championship game. Miami’s story is a little different. The RedHawks will be trying to go 1-for-1 in the University’s first appearance ever in an NCAA title game in any sport.
As both coaches are quick to point out, this is a unique game and should bring an assortment of interesting matchups.
“I was impressed with their team speed and I think they have as good a group of forwards that we will have seen all season,” Boston University coach Jack Parker said. “They can beat you on the forecheck, they can beat you on the rush, they can beat you on the cycle and they can put a lot of pressure your defense down low.”
Still, this is Boston University. The RedHawks won’t overlook that fact for many of the obvious reasons.
“They’re [Boston University] the No. 1 team in the country for a reason,” Miami coach Enrico Blasi said. “They have a 'D' corps that jumps into the play all the time, they have a 'D' corps that sometimes initiates the rush. They’re very big, strong, they possess the puck well. They’re obviously well-coached. It’s going to be a challenge."
But Blasi is also acknowledges that both teams do have similarities.
“At the end of the day you have to play and see what happens,” Blasi said. “Their puck possession game is very similar to our puck possession game, so it's going to be an interesting night.”
Parker was impressed by not only the puck possession but the entire package of Miami.
“I was very impressed with how well they play and their commitment to defense and how hard they play, especially when they’re a man down," Parker said. "They are a very hard working team with a lot of talent and that is why they are here. We will have our hands full and hopefully they will have their hands full and we will have a really good college hockey game.”
This belief comes after a few viewings by the legendary coach.
“I haven’t really watched a lot of them on film,” Parker said. “We will talk about them tonight. What I have seen of them, they play a very simple style. When you don’t have to adjust a lot of things it will make things easy. There won’t be a lot of adjustments on our part.”
Blasi has the same assessment.
“There’s a certain way we play and we’re not going to change that,” Blasi said. “We emphasized those things throughout the week in practice, whether we’re young, experienced or in-between. We take pride in our defensive game, we take pride in what we do offensively.”
Either way, Miami is more than ready to truly see Boston University on the ice.
“Sometimes when you’re out in front and you’re the No. 1 seed and you’re expected to win you put so much pressure on yourself,” Blasi said. “You want it so bad and you push yourself so far its just not going to happen. And sometimes whe you’re not expected to win you go out and play the way you’re capable of playing. Having so many young guys they probably don’t know what’s going on right now and that’s probably not a bad thing.
“I’ve been a big believer in the more times you get there at some point you’re going to start to get some bounces, and certainly we’ve gotten some bounces over the last three games.”