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BU Downs Vermont, Will Face Miami for National Championship

The Boston University Terriers needed all of the scoring their #1 offense could generate as Kieran Millan showed some rust, uncharacteristically allowing four goals in the BU 5-4 win. The Terriers opened the game with two first period goals, one each from Hobey Baker finalist Colin Wilson and Jason Lawrence tallied the other. Vermont, who sports a winning record when trailing after one period, demonstrated why as they took the lead in the second period. Wahsontiio Stacey got the Catamounts on the board four minutes in and they took the lead near the middle of the period with two goals in 45 seconds with scores by Justin Milo and Josh Burrows. Vinny Saponari forged a tie for BU scoring with one minute to go in the frame.

Drew MacKenzie gave Vermont the lead midway into the final period as the upset bid seemed possible, however the lead would last only three minutes. Chris Higgins tied the game for the Terriers and it unraveled for Vermont when Colin Wilson potted his second one minute later, what would turn out to be the game winner. BU really took over from here, including a dominant last couple minutes. The Terriers would not allow Vermont any control over the play, preventing goalie Rob Madore from heading to the bench until less than a minute remaining. At that point, Vermont could not even set up a shot and BU advanced to the final.

In the early semifinal, the Miami Red Hawks will be the second consecutive four seed to reach the National Championship Game, following in Notre Dame’s footsteps last season. Like their CCHA counterpart, they will face a #1 seed from Hockey East, and in what might be a good sign for BU, Boston College ended the Cinderella run and won the title. The Red Hawks scored a 4-1 victory over fellow #4 seed Bemidji State, a true underdog in this tournament. The teams battled to a scoreless first period, but the offense flowed in the second. Miami opened the scoring four minutes in and took a 2-0 lead at 8:35. Bemidji State answered one minute later only to see Miami counter the goal one minute after that. Miami added a late empty net goal to punch their ticket to the final.

Miami has been building a promising program for a few years now, only to fall to BC seemingly every year in the tournament. They have a chance to get a measure of revenge against BC’s rival, but I think BU is too strong, both in net and offensively. With the layoff between the regionals and the semifinals, I think Millan just got a bit rusty. Playing tonight likely sharpens him up, but BU showed that they can win with offense if needed.

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