After 59 Minutes, Defense Rests
by Adam Wodon/Managing Editor
by Adam Wodon/Managing Editor
WASHINGTON, D.C. Miami allowed five goals in four NCAA games — or shall we say, three NCAA games minus 60 seconds. That's 179 minutes.
Over the next 11 minutes, Miami allowed three goals.
It was a team — carried by strong two-way forwards up and down the lineup, speed, physical play, helping to bring along the four freshmen defensemen and two freshmen goaltenders — executing a plan to perfection. It held the best offense in the country to 19 shots through 59 minutes.
And then it all went down in flames.
It was fitting, then, that BU's game-winning overtime goal in its 4-3 national title win over Miami, came off a blocked shot by Miami defenseman Kevin Roeder. The puck deflected off Roeder, fluttered up in the air, and floated past goalie Cody Reichard.
"They made the play and that was the play that was available," said Miami assistant Brent Brekke about the final play. "Our guy is in the shot lane to start, so (BU's Colby Cohen) couldn't force it to the net. He made a move and fed it back across to the weak side. He tried to, it wasn't there, that's big-time execution."
The play was the right one for Roeder, but came out of a mistake.
"He had to. (BU) ran a switch up top, and we got mixed up with it. So at that point, he has to step up. Otherwise that guy has a free lane to the net, feed it to the back door, makes it at that point basically an odd-man opp. They rolled up top to the blue line, our winger got mixed up and didn't stay with the guy coming across. And so Roeder had to step out in the shot lane. He makes the right play, he blocks it, it's what you ask him to do."
Brekke is the assistant coach that came in from Cornell to replace Jeff Blashill. Blashill had recruited the four freshmen defensemen that were such an integral part of this year's team. And it was Brekke who came to help guide those players along.
"Jeff Blashill is a guy that was there with (head coach) Rico (Blasi) and Berge (assistant Jeff Bergeron), and I was fortunate to step in at the right time. He's been great with communication to the whole staff, and I told him today, that a lot of credit goes to you."
Brekke helped implement a game plan that bottled up Boston University throughout most of the night.
"They (BU) want to activate their 'D.' We told our forwards you can't swing away, we have to physically confront them and battle," Brekke said. "And if they go up ice you have to beat them up ice. And if there's a turnover, you want to transition quickly. We can catch the 'D' in a rush.
"We did a pretty good job. They want to make plays, they don't want to dump and chase. And our guys did a good job taking away pass lanes.
"Things happen for a reason and it didn't happen for us."
There's no reason to believe next year can't be just as good for the RedHawks.
"We're excited for our team," Brekke said. "It was a great year. We went through tough times and adversity."
Said Blasi, "I'm proud of the way our guys played. I don't know if many people gave us a chance tonight, but they showed up and played a great game tonight.
"You gotta keep getting here, and some point it will go your way. That's the key. Right now, it's not a good feeling, but a couple weeks go by, the boys will be ready to go and looking forward to next year and hopefully getting back here. If we don't lose anybody, I think we're going to be a damn good team. And we're excited about the guys coming in."
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