BU tops Miami in overtime classic

By DJ Powers

Sophomore defenseman Colby Cohen scored the biggest goal of his collegiate career when he notched the game-winner at the 11:47 mark of overtime to give the Boston University Terriers a come-from-behind 4-3 win over the Miami University RedHawks Saturday night at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C.. The win was the Terriers’ fifth National Championship title.

This year marks the very first time that Boston University and Miami have ever met in post-season play. The two teams have met on only two other occasions, with the most recent meeting being back on Oct. 8, 2004 in the season-opening Lefty McFadden Tournament. Miami won that meeting 5-1.

16 NHL prospects saw action in tonight’s game, including 11 of Boston University’s 13 prospects and all five of Miami’s prospects.

With the win, Boston University finished a perfect 11-0 against non-Hockey East opponents this season.

Boston University got off to a strong start but the outstanding puck-pressure game that Miami exercised so effectively in the semi-final game against Bemidji State on Thursday was evident to start the game tonight. Boston University matched it with their speed and quick transition game, taking early command of the game.

The Terriers drew first blood at the 15:15 mark when freshman Chris Connolly tipped in freshman defenseman David Warsofsky’s point shot that first deflected off of the skate of a Miami defender and then off of the pad of Miami freshman goaltender Cody Reichard for the score.

Boston University got into penalty trouble in the opening period giving Miami three power play opportunities. On two of them, the RedHawks did a very good job of moving the puck around and generating several good scoring chances, but failed to get one by Boston University freshman goaltender Kieran Milllan.

While both teams had spurts of sustained pressure throughout the period, the Terriers dominated much of the play.

The second period saw a more dominant and controlling Miami RedHawks team.

At the 2:01 mark, the RedHawks tied the game when junior Gary Steffes banked home the third rebound that Millan had given up in a scramble around the Terriers’ net. The play started with traffic in front of the Boston University net and two Miami players getting whacks at the loose puck.

Throughout the period, both teams did a very good job of keeping one another to the outside forcing each other to shoot from the perimeter.

Miami controlled much of the play in the period with relentless drives to the net, taking advantage of the odd-man situations as well as turnovers that the Terriers were giving them.

One of the best chances for the RedHawks to take the lead came at about the midway point of the period when they had a 3-on-1 opportunity that they couldn’t capitalize on when the shot taken had gone wide.

The best scoring chance of the period for Boston University came at about the 14-minute mark when senior Jason Lawrence fired a point blank shot from the slot that Reichard had no problem stopping.

Miami continued their strong play to start the third period. The RedHawks did an excellent job of controlling the boards and their trademark tight-checking style was effective in forcing the Terriers to adapt to their pace.

Miami’s hard work and dominance would finally pay off when sophomore Tommy Wingels gave the RedHawks their first lead of the game at the 7:29 mark. Wingels tapped home a rebound given up by Millan, finishing a beautiful set up by fellow sophomore Carter Camper.

Freshman Trent Vogelhuber notched his second of the season at the 15:52 mark to extend the RedHawks lead to 3-1 when he fired a shot from the high slot that beat Millan on the glove side for the score. The play came as a result of a Boston University turnover in the neutral zone that senior Brian Kaufman picked up before spotting and dishing to a trailing Vogelhuber for the score.

Things were looking good for Miami as regulation time wound down, but Boston University wasn’t about to go down without a fight. With 90 seconds left in regulation and their National Championship hopes slipping away, the Terriers pulled Millan in favor of an extra attacker. Boston University began throwing everything at the RedHawks net in hopes of erasing their two-goal deficit. 

Their efforts would pay off at the 19:01 mark when junior Zach Cohen finished a great play that resulted from a nice passing play involving sophomore Nick Bonino and senior Brandon Yip.

And the Terriers weren’t done yet.

At the 19:42 mark, Bonino himself would tally the equalizer that would send the game into overtime. Bonino finished a nice play set up by seniors Matt Gilroy and Chris Higgins, rifling a shot from the slot for the score.

Boston University came out with much more jump to start overtime than it did in the two previous stanzas. About two minutes into the extra session, sophomore Colin Wilson drove to the net while trying to fend off a Miami defender but couldn’t quite get a good shot off.

Miami’s prime opportunity to net the game-winner came near the midway point when a diving stick save by Terriers senior defenseman Brian Strait stopped sophomore Carter Camper’s point-blank shot.

But Camper’s missed opportunity would be Miami’s last gasp in this sudden-death contest.

Colby Cohen finished a beautifully set up play by sophomore defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. Cohen’s slapshot skipped over Reichard on the glove side, providing an exciting win for Boston University and a gut-wrenching defeat for Miami.

Oh, it was unbelievable,” said Boston University senior co-captain John McCarthy about the moment when Cohen scored the game-winning goal. “It was a race to get off of the bench and get into the pile. It was unbelievable. I’d never experienced anything like that coming back like we did.”

It’s going to be our ultimate goal next year,” said a somber Tommy Wingels during Miami’s post-game press conference. “We feel like we have some unfinished business. And ultimately BU played a great game. And we hope to come back and win it.”

Cohen was named the Most Outstanding Player and joined teammates Colin Wilson, Nick Bonino and Kieran Millan on the All-Tournament team. Tommy Wingels and senior defenseman Kevin Roeder, who both enjoyed stellar performances in the Frozen Four, were the Miami RedHawks players rounding out the All-Tournament team.

They said it

It’s still up in the air right now. They actually sent me a couple of text messages right after the game to congratulate me and stuff. So we’ll see what happens, but right now it’s all up in the air. We’ve never ever discussed what I’m going to be doing next year. This is the first time that I’ve said anything about it. They just wanted me to develop and it’s all worked out,” – Sophomore Colin Wilson on whether he’ll return to Boston University next season and his contact with the Nashville Predators this season.

I heard rumblings about it, but didn’t know what was going to happen. It’s just a dream come true to be involved in an NHL trade and to have teams think so highly of me. It was an honor, but it happened during the season, so I wasn’t really thinking about it.” – Sophomore Nick Bonino on the trade that sent his NHL rights to the Anaheim Ducks from the San Jose Sharks.

It’s great. We had never played together growing up. It just never worked out, but once we got here, we started clicking and it’s been great so far. We could end up playing pro together too, so it’s kind of funny how it all works out.” – Sophomore defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk on being paired with Colby Cohen and the possibility of playing together again in the future with the Colorado Avalanche organization.