April 10, 2009
NCAA Frozen Four

 

BOSTON UNIVERSITY
vs.
MIAMI

Sat., April 11• 7 p.m. ET ESPN
Team Capsules

 
 

BOSTON UNIVERSITY TERRIERS
NORTHEAST REGIONAL CHAMPIONS

Location: Boston, Mass.
Record: 34-6-4 overall (18-5-4 Hockey East, first)
Qualified: Hockey East tournament champions
NCAA Championships: Four (1971, 1972, 1978, 1995)
NCAA Appearance: 31st (most recent, 2007)
Head Coach: Jack Parker (36th season, 815-412-101)

Most Recent Boston University Line Chart
Left Wing Center Right Wing NHL Draft Picks
15-John McCarthy, Sr.
(44 GP, 6-23-29)
13-Nick Bonino, So.
(43 GP, 17-31-48)
18-Brandon Yip, Sr.
(44 GP, 20-22-42)
Bonino: ANA
C. Cohen: COA
Andrew Glass: WSH
Gryba: OTW
McCarthy: SJ
Rollheiser: TOR
Vin. Saponari: ATL
Shattenkirk: COA
Strait: PIT
Trivino: NYI
Warsofsky: STL
Wilson: NSH
Yip: COA
10-Chris Higgins, Sr.
(41 GP, 14-33-47)
33-Colin Wilson, So.
(42 GP, 17-38-55)
21-Jason Lawrence, Sr.
(43 GP, 25-14-39)
12-Chris Connolly, Fr.
(44 GP, 9-19-28)
9-Corey Trivino, Fr.
(31 GP, 6-7-13)
27-Vinny Saponari, Fr.
(43 GP, 8-9-17)
11-Zach Cohen, Jr.
(40 GP, 12-5-17)
26-Luke Popko, Jr.
(44 GP, 5-9-14)
8-Steve Smolinsky, Sr.
(13 GP, 0-1-1)
Defense Defense Goalies Notable
7-Brian Strait, Jr.
(37 GP, 2-5-7)
97-Matt Gilroy, Sr.
(44 GP, 8-28-36)
31-Kieran Millan
(1.92 GAA, .921 sv%)

As good as it gets: The Terriers' 34 wins matches the school record for victories in a season. The 1993-94 team also won 34 games before losing in the national title game to a CCHA foe (Lake Superior State) in capital city (St. Paul, Minn.)

25-Colby Cohen, So.
(42 GP, 7-24-31)
3-Kevin Shattenkirk, So.
(42 GP, 7-20-27)
35-Grant Rollheiser
(2.13 GAA, .897 sv%)
5-David Warsofsky, Fr.
(44 GP, 3-19-22)
2-Eric Gryba, Jr.
(44 GP, 0-5-5)
32-Adam Kraus

MIAMI REDHAWKS
WEST REGIONAL CHAMPIONS

Location: Oxford, Ohio
Record: 20-12-5 overall (17-7-4 CCHA, tied for second)
Qualified: At-large berth
NCAA Championships:
None
NCAA Appearance: Seventh (most recent, 2007)
Head Coach: Enrico Blasi (10th season, 210-150-33)

Most Recent Miami Line Chart
Left Wing Center Right Wing NHL Draft Picks
22-Justin Vaive, So.
(36 GP, 6-6-12)
13-Trent Vogelhuber, Fr.
(28 GP, 1-2-3)
28-Bill Loupee, Sr.
(35 GP, 3-6-9)
Mercier: COL
Vaive: TOR
Vogelhuber: CBJ
Weber: CBJ
Wingels: SJ
16-Justin Mercier, Sr.
(39 GP, 14-15-29)
20-Pat Cannone, So.
(40 GP, 11-24-36)
15-Brian Kaufman, Sr.
(40 GP, 10-11-21)
12-Gary Steffes, Fr.
(40 GP, 10-12-22)
17-Andy Miele, So.
(40 GP, 15-14-29)
19-Jarod Palmer, Jr.
(40 GP, 8-18-26)
23-Alden Hirshfeld, Fr.
(15 GP, 5-1-6)
11-Carter Camper, So.
(39 GP, 20-21-41)
9-Tommy Wingels, So.
(40 GP, 10-17-27)
Defense Defense Goalies Notable
5-Cameron Schilling, Fr.
(24 GP, 0-7-7)
24-Kevin Roeder, Sr.
(38 GP, 2-4-6)
30-Cody Reichard
(2.02 GAA, .917 sv%)

Don't call it a comeback: The RedHawks are 15-1-2 when leading after one period and 21-0-1 when leading after two.

First goal wins: Miami is 21-1-2 this season when it scores first.

27-Matt Tomassoni, Fr.
(31 GP, 0-5-5)
14-Vincent LoVerde, So.
(37 GP, 1-7-8)
31-Connor Knapp
(2.09 GAA, .904 sv%)
6-Chris Wideman, Fr.
(38 GP, 0-26-26)
4-Will Weber, Fr.
(37 GP, 4-2-6)
 

 
Overall
Conference
Home
Away
Neutral
MIAMI
23-12-5
17-7-4
10-7-2
10-3-3
3-2-0
BU
34-6-4
18-5-4
16-4-2
10-2-2
8-0-0
 
 
Goals/Gm.
GA/Gm.
PP Pct.
PK Pct.
PIM/Gm.
MIAMI
3.12 (16th)
2.12 (8th)
.19.0 (13th)
.896 (2nd)
17.1 (18th)
BU
3.93 (1st)
2.00 (3rd)
..22.1 (2nd)
.871 (13th)
18.3 (12th)

BOSTON UNIVERSITY: Northeast Regional first seed
Boston University 8, Ohio State 3
Boston University 2, New Hampshire 1
Boston University 5, Vermont 4

MIAMI: West Regional fourth seed
Miami 4, Denver 2
Miami 2, Minnesota Duluth 1
Miami 4, Bemidji State 1

Boston University's forward lines run deep and its top three lines are dangerous. Even the fourth group can pot a timely goal and maintain momentum when the Terriers get rolling. The first unit features Hobey Baker finalist Colin Wilson and the team's leading goal-scorer Jason Lawrence, who has 24 on the year and scored three goals in two games at the regional – including the game-winner against New Hampshire in the final minute of the third period. The third line of Chris Connolly, Vinny Saponari and Corey Trivino is an all-freshman trio that now has a full season of experience under its belt. John McCarthy, Nick Bonino and Brandon Yip are on the second line and have combined to score 43 goals.

Noted wordsmith Yogi Berra once told a reporter that the Yankees team of which he was a member "had deep depth." He could've been talking about Miami's forwards, a balanced, versatile group of capable scorers who are also responsible in their own end. Forward Carter Camper, the team's leading scorer, is an underappreciated talent. He's one of eight RedHawk forwards with more than 20 points and one of six Miami forwards with 10+ goals. They may not be a glamorous bunch, but the mix of speed, size, smarts, playmaking ability, finishing skills, and grit makes them unique.

Boston University's defense corps may be the best in the nation. It starts with senior All-American Matt Gilroy, the blue line leader with 36 points. Juniors Eric Gryba (Ottawa) and Brian Strait (Pittsburgh) are both NHL draft picks and bring a more defense-first style. Sophomores Colby Cohen and Kevin Shattenkirk have both played 42 of 44 games, and freshman David Warsofsky, a St. Louis draft pick, has been in the lineup all 44 games for the Terriers. They're big and mobile.

Mention the words "Miami defenseman" to a college hockey fan, and the first image to pop into their heads is the smooth-skating, offensively gifted rearguard along the lines of Dan Boyle or Andy Greene. The heir to that legacy is freshman Chris Wideman, who has 26 points this season, all of them assists. By contrast, the team's other eight defensemen have combined for a total of 38 points. The RedHawks are quite young at defense – in Thursday''s final win over Bemidji State, four of Miami's six blueliners were freshmen.

Two freshmen goaltenders will match up in this game, but Boston College's John Muse proved last year that a rookie can play well and win twice at the Frozen Four. BU's Kieran Millan has been one of the best rookies in the nation and carries a 28-2-3 record in 34 starts, a 1.92 goals-against average and .921 save percentage into the championship match. Thursday's start against Vermont was arguably the most lackluster of the season.

Miami freshmen Cody Reichard and Connor Knapp shared the RedHawks' goaltending duties for the majority of the season, but Reichard has started each of the RedHawks' NCAA Tournament games. Miami's goalies benefit from a sound defensive system and one of the nation's best penalty killing units, and the RedHawks are traditionally a good shot-blocking team. Reichard was shaky early against Bemidji State, but he settled down as the game progressed.

BU has scored 55 power-play goals and its opponents have just 34 on the year. A plus-21 in power-play situations is a big help toward winning 34 of 44 games. Jason Lawrence has a nation's best 14 PPGs. The Terriers have also scored 10 short-handed goals on the year. Chris Higgins has two of those.

Miami's penalty kill isn't fancy, just an extremely effective one built around disciplined positioning and smart decisions. Even though it's one of their strengths, Miami would be wise to limit the chances BU gets with the man advantage. The RedHawks entered the NCAA Tournament with the country's second-best penalty killing percentage; after giving up two PPGs in the West Regional first-round win against Denver, Miami has allowed one PPG in 11 chances against Minnesota Duluth and Bemidji State.

Boston University coach Jack Parker is in his 36th year as head coach of the Terriers and earned his 800th career victory as head coach earlier this season. He's won two national titles as head coach and is the second among all active coaches in victories.

After a couple of years of being on the cusp, Enrico Blasi finally got Miami into the Frozen Four for the first time in the program's history, and now the RedHawks are playing for the school's first NCAA championship in any sport. The RedHawks' demeanor is a reflection of their coach – quietly confident and efficient with a close attention to detail

WHY BOSTON UNIVERSITY WINS: Because they're the better team with too much talent and too much depth to miss out on the school's first national championship since 1995. They haven't played their best hockey in the last several weeks but are still one of the last two teams standing, which has to be encouraging for the Terriers.

WHY MIAMI WINS: Because they've done it so many times before. It started with a win over No. 1 seed Denver and then knocked out Minnesota Duluth one week after they won the WCHA Final Five. They can get the job done in different ways and have nothing to lose in this matchup. Pop a couple of goals, get some big saves, and it could be Miami's night, and the most famous night in the school's hockey history.