WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Tonight's NCAA championship game at Verizon Center will be a battle between a frequent guest and a brand new visitor. The Terriers of Boston University will be making their 10th title game, while the RedHawks of Miami University appearance will mark the first time, in any sport, that the school will have a chance to win a national championship.
Boston University has the history. They have the coach with over 800 wins. They have the current players who are top prospects and the numerous alumni who went on to the National Hockey League. They're an annual contender for the NCAA title and a team that college hockey fans love to hate.
Miami University has never been in a bigger hockey game than the one it will play tonight.
Nerves might overtake Miami Head Coach Enrico Blasi's players at the start; but according to Blasi, the pressure of being contenders could affect BU more than his club, who weren't expected to get this far:
The RedHawks have over a dozen underclassmen, and while Blasi hopes they can control their nerves and stick with the game plan, he's facing a legend in college hockey circles in Jack Parker of BU.
"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 when 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."
Parker, who's been behind the bench at BU since 1973, has two national championships to his credit and has won at least 30 games a season since 1981-82.
Despite the success and the lack of experience on the Miami roster in big games, Parker isn't taking the game for granted:
"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."
The storylines are endless and you can find plenty of angles breaking down both teams.
Miami University has defied the odds all tournament long and while not many are giving them a fighting chance, they've done it before. Knocking off No. 1 see Denver, then Minnesota-Duluth who was coming off a dramatic first-round win over Princeton, and finally the Cinderella Bemidji State.
In a tournament that has seen a bevy of monumental upsets, who's to say there isn't one more left?
- Miami University
- Boston University
- National Hockey League