Saturday’s second regional semifinal in Manchester is an interesting battle of two totally opposite clubs. Boston College features a senior class that has been to three straight NCAA tournaments and two Frozen Fours. St. Lawrence, having not been in the tournament since 2001, doesn’t have a single game of experience among its players, though head coach Joe Marsh has brought seven teams to the NCAA tournament.
So the question then lies: how much of a role does experience play?
Though St. Lawrence is extremely cognoscente of the fact that one of the most important parts of Saturday’s game will be weathering the BC storm early, Marsh feels that his club has put itself in a position all year that makes up for their lack of experience.
“We try to play in a playoff frame of mind every single game,” said Marsh. “Before the [ECACHL consolation game versus Dartmouth], we said ‘Guys, the NCAA tournament is new, it’s not next week.’
“A lot of it is the experience and the teams that can handle that and look at it as an opportunity rather than pressure. Everybody will tell you, you want to come to this and soak it in. You want to enjoy it. It’s the big time and kids play for this.”
As much as Marsh played down his team’s lack of experience, so too did BC head coach Jerry York play down the benefits associated with being a seasoned NCAA team.
“Experience is a benefit, if you use it properly,” said York. “It’s a carry over to the next season. But as far as tomorrow’s game goes, it’s not going to be Experience 4, St. Lawrence 0 to start the game. Experience doesn’t win a game. It helps keep your program going.”
Out of Town Scoreboard
Possibly the biggest point of interest at the Verizon Wireless Arena late in the afternoon Friday was the television in the media room that was tuned to CN8 and the opening game of the East Regional between UMass and Clarkson. Coaches and players alike made their way into the press center but all left disappointed. As the arena cleared out, the game headed to overtime scoreless, meaning that Boston College, the final team to practice at the arena on Friday, headed to dinner without knowing the game’s outcome.
That’s a Wrap
The first day of reporting is done from Verizon. I’ll be back on Saturday with commentary and game coverage as well as some thoughts on the first night of games from the East and Midwest regionals.