For the fifth time in as many years, the Miami University ice hockey team was dismissed from the NCAA tournament at the hands of a squad from Beantown.
Boston College (BC) punched its ticket to the national championship game and secured its fourth NCAA victory over the RedHawks in five years with a dominant 7-1 effort Thursday night at Ford Field.
The Red and White skated out with a purpose and had most of the momentum early on, but the Eagles soon found their rhythm and had the first goal of the game by the end of the opening stanza.
Junior Joe Whitney took a shot from above the left circle that was redirected out in front by senior Ben Smith to put BC up 1-0 with 1:28 remaining in the first frame.
The Brotherhood, typically dominant in the second stanza, had the opportunity to regroup and refocus during the first intermission, but a pair of goals spaced just 1:02 apart early in the middle period took all of the wind out of Miami’s sails.
Sophomore Jimmy Hayes one-timed a power play goal from the high slot at 2:06 to double the Eagle’s lead, and Joe Whitney winged a shot from the right circle at 3:08 that sailed past sophomore Connor Knapp’s outstretched glove and chased him from net.
By the end of the second period, the writing was on the wall as the Maroon and Gold had held Miami to just 10 total shots and zero goals.
“It’s important to build shifts on top of one another,” junior captain Tommy Wingels said. “We’d have a good shift here or there, then we’d disappear for the next three, four minutes after that. That was pretty frustrating.”
The RedHawks have shown all season that they are capable of rallying in the face of adversity, and the outset of the third period saw the Brotherhood burst forth with renewed vigor.
Miami’s pressure paid off at 5:19 when freshman defenseman Joe Hartman broke through with a top shelf blast from the blue line. Screened junior net minder John Muse didn’t seem to register the puck until it was behind him and seemed particularly vulnerable in the minutes that followed as Miami sought desperately to close that gap to one.
Instead, the Eagles – who have a well-established knack for scoring goals in bunches – took the game and ran away with it, tallying four straight to make the scoreboard read 7-1 at the final buzzer.
“We turned pucks over and they put up seven goals,” Wingels said. “All the credit goes to them for taking it to us and capitalizing on their opportunities.”
Though the loss was disappointing, it could not cloud the incredible season that the Brotherhood put together.
“Tonight was one game,” Miami head coach Enrico Blasi said. “It’s disappointing, and it will sit with us for a little bit … but I’m extremely proud of the way our team has played all year …It doesn’t take away from the relationships that we have and the amount of care and love for each other that is in that locker room right now.”