TAMPA, Fla. – Speed kills. Boston College is fast. Therefore, Ferris State will die.
That’s the prevailing logic, right?
There’s no question that the Eagles play a far faster game than do the Bulldogs, and — seriously — that may be very bad for Ferris State come Saturday night.
“We had an opportunity to watch BC play live last night,” said coach Bob Daniels. “Up to that point, I had seen them on TV here and there and always appreciated their game, [but] watching them last night, it was different. Seeing them live, seeing their speed and tenacity reminded me a bit of some of the Michigan teams we’ve faced in the 1990s when they were really rolling.”
All of Daniels’ players are aware of how fast the Eagles are and what the Bulldogs need to do to in the championship game: slow Boston College down.
“We’ve played fast teams all year,” said senior forward Jordie Johnston. “We’re used to it. I know BC is maybe a step above what we are used to but our game plan is to slow teams down. We make teams make mistakes and make them slow down to our pace. I think that can really throw a wrench into some of their game plans.”
“BC is a very high-flying team,” said senior goaltender Taylor Nelson. “We watched a little bit of the game last night on TV and they were just flying back and forth, chance for chance. I think it’s going to be a great game where we have to focus again on defense. That’s kind of been our motto all season long and what we live by.”
“They’re extremely fast paced,” said senior defenseman Brett Wysopal. “I watched a little bit of the game last night. We’re going to have to slow the pace down a little bit, especially through the neutral zone. They get through the neutral zone and they can really create.”
Boston College’s speed has helped make the Eagles one of the top offensive teams in the country, averaging 3.56 goals per game. The Bulldogs’ ability to cage opponents has made Ferris State one of the top defensive teams in the nation, limiting opponents to 2.14 goals per game.
Daniels knows, though, that the battle will be greater than those two statistics. “I think we’ll have to make it a defensive battle,” said Daniels. “There’s been a lot of talk about BC’s speed and offensive abilities, but having only given up one goal themselves Thursday night, obviously they are doing very well defensively. With that in mind, and their ability to score, we can’t allow to hand them chances. By that I mean that anything they get, we have to make sure they earn.”
Daniels’ players are confident in their ability to force the Eagles to play Bulldogs hockey.
“We’d like to shut them out,” said Wysopal, “but Lord only knows if that could happen. I think our defense will lead us to offense and probably frustrate them a little bit.”
Said Johnston: “We’ll just play our defensive style and slow them down. When they do make mistakes we’ll react quick and try to get our chances. It will be one of those kinds of battles where it will be power offense against a really strong defense. Hopefully we come out on top.”