As much as I’d love to be able to provide in-depth blog coverage from all of the regional tournaments this weekend, unfortunately cloning has made the advances I’d hoped at this point and thus you’ll have to settle on getting the inside scoop from the Manchester regional.
I’ll be up here all weekend, providing you with the insider’s look beginning today (Friday) with the pre-game thoughts of the players and coaches of the four school: Miami, New Hampshire, St. Lawrence and Boston College.
Miami head coach Enrico Blasi along with junior forward Nathan Davis and junior captain Ryan Jones faced the media first.
There wasn’t too much to be said by the RedHawks, though Blasi was very clear that he and his club has plenty of respect for first-round opponent New Hampshire.
“We’re playing a No. 1 seed and they’re been great all year,” said Blasi about the Wildcats. “We need to come out and play as a team and take care of what we can control and pay attention to detail. They’re a No. 1 seed for a reason. We’re going to have to make sure we limit their chances.”
This is the third trip in four year to the NCAA tournament for Blasi and his club. It’s the fifth appearance all time for the club, though in the previous four trips, the RedHawks are winless.
Still, the experience that his senior class has is a positive, Blasi says. There’s very few wide-eyed stares that accompany the less-seasoned players.
“When you’re been here a couple of times, you know the routine,” said Blasi. “YouÃ‚Â know you’ve got to get here and there and certain guys you need to have talk to the media. The clock starts at 60 (minutes) and you’re off a zero (during practice). There is a routine that goes along with it, and if you haven’t been here, it’s different and it could be a distraction. Most of our team has been here before, so I think they know what to expect and hopefully that helps us tomorrow.”
The fact that Miami even got to the tournament, of course, wasn’t determined until the last minute last Saturday. The RedHawks were the final team into the field of 16, having been eliminated two weeks ago by Lake Superior in the CCHA quarterfinals. Jones detailed the anxious moments last Saturday night as he and the rest of the team watched the ECACHL championship game, knowing that a Clarkson victory might have been the only hope for Miami to get in.
“We had a group of guy of a Nate [Jones’] house watching the satellite and the games around the country,” said Jones. “With the PairWise, we had a pretty good idea of who needed to win. We were a little upset for the couple of periods of the [ECACHL and WCHA] games. All of a sudden, Clarkson turned around in the third period and came back to win. The neighbors probably weren’t too happy, but we were screaming and jumping around. We’re obviously excited to get the opportunity to play for a national championship.”
An hour from now we’ll be back with some thoughts from New Hampshire coach Dick Umile and his players.