Miami falls to DU in NCHC Championship 4-3
In what can only be described as a season to forget, Miami’s run to the inaugural NCHC title game will at least provide a silver lining to an otherwise dismal year. In the end, Miami tried valiantly to salvage the season over the past two weekends, but ultimately it was Miami’s lack of consistency, tight defense and, at times, leadership that was its undoing.
Never was Miami’s inconsistency more apparent than tonight, which was a reminder of how the team played for much of the year. The squad seemed disinterested and was certainly not the team we saw a night before against North Dakota. As a result, the Pioneers seized upon Miami’s uncertainty and took a 2-0 lead into the locker room after the first period.
In his postgame press conference, Miami head coach Enrico Blasi addressed Miami’s lack of energy at the start of the game.
“We had no energy. Our guys came out flat. I guess that’s my fault. I’ll take full blame for that. That was unacceptable in the championship game so that’s on me.”
As Miami began to find their legs, they erased the two goal deficit by netting two of their own in the second but Miami would fall victim to its own inconsistency as mistakes they avoided last night crept back into their game.
“I thought at 2-2 we were going to get some momentum then they come out in the 3rd period, we make a couple mistakes, they score a couple of goals. Really just indicative of our year, said Blasi. Every time we made a mistake it cost us. But, our guys battled hard. Whatever we had in the tank, that’s what we did.”
So, it goes that Miami made things interesting late as Anthony Louis (who made the all-Tournament team) scored his second goal of the night with just 90 ticks left and Miami even had a couple good chances to tie the game 6-on-5. Louis will be a big part of the program moving forward and his surge down the stretch makes you feel good about the offense even if Riley Barber or others leave early.
“He’s (Louis) one of those guys that we’re going to make sure he’s at a high level next year. He’s got to play consistent. He’s an 18 year old young kid that’s going be better. He’s going to be one of our go-to guys and we’ll get him ready to go.”
Blasi was asked about his goaltender, Ryan McKay, who while allowing a soft goal, probably played well enough to win.
“Ryan (McKay) and Jay (Williams) need to be better. They had a great freshman campaign but as sophomores they let off the gas a little bit and we’ve got to regain that. I think there’s a lot to work with in our locker room. I don’t think there’s any panic in the locker room, but we’ve got to get to work.”
So, as this year concludes, we’re left to wonder about next year much earlier than we’re used to in these parts. The NCAA tournament will start next week without Miami for the first time since the ’04-’05 season.
Thinking ahead, Blasi concluded, “I think we have something to work with. We got a lot of work to do in certain areas and we’re going to address those things. Actually we’ve already addressed some of those issues. We’ve got some youth that needs to learn how to work, how to compete at a high level and that’s on us as a coaching staff and we’ll begin the teaching here in a week. I saw some things I think our team is capable of doing. Obviously we’re capable of playing with anybody. Anybody in this league is. This is a tough league. You have to come every night. You have to play every night. We’ve got a lot of work to do, there’s no question about it. You can’t finish last in the league and try to make a run at the the end. I thought our guys did as good a job as they could. We needed that kind of consistency in January and February and we didn’t have it.”
“I take full blame for the entire year, actually, and we’ll get better. I can guarantee that.”