April 9, 2010 PRINT Bookmark and Share

For BC, Defense Responds

by Nicole Auerbach/CHN Reporter

DETROIT — Sometimes, it’s hard to look past the “7” in a 7-1 victory.

In other words, in a blowout game like Boston College’s win over Miami on Thursday night, it’s easy to focus on the Eagles’ offense.

But what about that “1” — what about the defense?

Boston College’s young defensive unit, which boasts three freshmen, held offensive powerhouse and the NCAA Tournament’s No. 1 overall seed Miami to just one goal Thursday — and that’s certainly impressive.

After the game, the defensemen were humble, stating that they stuck to simple, smart plays that put their offense in good position to score.

“We were just trying to get the pucks out and get them to our forwards, because our forwards are so good,” Eagles freshman defenseman Patch Alber said. “We were just trying to give it to them. They can wheel and deal. Just make that simple play to get them going.”

It was a straightforward plan, and it certainly worked. Boston College held Miami to just 18 shots on goal through the entire game, and the RedHawks’ lone goal came after the Eagles had built up a comfortable 3-0 lead. Though the game appeared close early in the third period, Boston College quickly regained its firm grasp on the contest, reeling off the game’s final four goals in less than six minutes to seal the lopsided victory.

“(With a big lead), I think you let up a little bit, and I think that’s what happened when we had that long shift when they scored the goal,” Alber said. “Other than that, I thought we played focused and once we started scoring more, we just wanted to pile on and step on their throats while they were down.”

Even while talking about the team’s defensive strategy, the Boston College defensemen were quick to credit the forwards for their own success. Albers lauded the way the forwards blocked shots. Freshman defenseman Brian Dumoulin said the forwards provided excellent pressure in the neutral zone, making it difficult for the RedHawks to mount a controlled offensive attack.

The Eagles will need to maintain that kind of pressure in the neutral zone as well as their defensive zone Saturday night against Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament championship game. It’s particularly important because, like Boston College, the Badgers know how to pile on goals. Wisconsin won its semifinal game on Thursday by a score of 8-1.

“I think we’re just going to look at some film and see how (the Badgers) played tonight,” Alber said. “I think we’re just going to stick with what we do, because Miami was ranked No. 1 in the country coming in. Everybody was talking about how they could score goals, and I think we did very well tonight.”

Though the Eagles know they have quite a task ahead of them on Saturday night, they’re content for now to celebrate their performance Thursday night. They’ll enjoy the feeling of knocking out the top team in the nation, and then they’ll get down to business — film-watching and practice.

And the Boston College players can take comfort in the fact that they know how to win pretty much every way a team can win a college hockey game. They can win a low-scoring defensive battle or an unusually high-scoring contest. And since they’ve done both of those things in recent weeks, the Eagles are confident heading into the championship game on Saturday.

The defense, in particular, is ready to adapt to whatever kind of defense it needs to be to win.

“We’ve found out throughout the season that we can play both a shootout game, like we did against Maine 7-6, or we can play a tight game, like we did against Alaska 3-1,” Dumoulin said. “No matter how the game is going to dictate, no matter how (our opponent) is going to play, we know we can play with them. If they score five goals, we’ll score six. If they want to score one goal, we’ll score two.”

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