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Terriers eager for a change

BU lining up to take on Ohio St.

By Nancy Marrapese-Burrell
Globe Staff / March 28, 2009
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MANCHESTER, N.H. - Coach Jack Parker said when No. 1 seed Boston University takes on No. 4 Ohio State this afternoon in the NCAA East Regional at the Verizon Wireless Arena, it will mark the first time the Terriers (31-6-4) will play the Buckeyes (23-14-4) in the tournament, and he welcomes the change.

"We're excited to play somebody we haven't seen in a while," said Parker, whose squad defeated OSU, 2-1, Jan. 27, 1998, in the Mariucci Classic on the campus of the University of Minnesota. "We don't know much about Ohio State. We haven't had many chances to play them. In my mind, I think it's nice when you go to the national tournament that you don't play the usual suspects all the time. We watched a little bit of film on them to find out as much as we can about them and I'm very, very impressed with their club. It's amazing to me that they are the 15th seed [overall]. We'll certainly have our hands full."

One person who knows a thing or two about the Buckeyes is sophomore forward Colin Wilson. He played with some of the Buckeyes in the US National program - forwards C.J. Severyn and John Albert, and goaltender Joseph Palmer. Albert is the team's second-leading scorer with 39 points in 41 contests and Severyn has 12 points in 32 games.

"I think it's going to be an exciting game," said Wilson. "Just having to play against old teammates makes it a little bit more exciting. Honestly, it makes me want to win a little bit more to get a little bit of bragging rights against those guys."

Wilson said that doesn't necessarily mean he was able to provide a scouting report.

"Obviously, I know a little bit about [them]," he said. "Johnny is a great player, he can score and make big plays and C.J. can score all the time. But I'm sure Coach Parker has already been through all this, though."

Parker said playing UMass-Lowell last weekend in the Hockey East championship helped prepare the Terriers.

"UMass-Lowell plays a lot like Ohio State," he said. "There are a lot of similarities. I think we're in pretty good shape. We're missing one player, Joe Pereira, who is out with a spleen injury. But everybody else is healthy and everybody else seems ready to go."

The Terriers, coach included, acknowledge they have suffered from overconfidence. Senior captain Matt Gilroy said they spent the weekend challenging each other to prevent complacency.

"We juggled some lines around at practice and stuff and got in a few kids' faces," said Gilroy. "We really go after each other."

As for Parker, he said it's impossible for him to predict how his team is going to come out of the gate this afternoon. He expects a lot from his players but won't know until the puck drops.

"It's always been difficult for me to judge whether the team is ready to play," said Parker. "We've had a good week of practice and they seem to be enthusiastic. So if the stars are aligned properly . . . we just came off a big win so that's nice. You never know what's going to happen in the tournament. I think maybe one time in my career as a coach I knew 15 minutes before game time that not only were we going to win but we were going to blow the other team out. That happened once. That was a long time ago. It's hard to judge it now, it's hard to judge it 15 minutes before game time. The kids get ready so differently these days."

If BU wants to take the next step in seeking the school's first NCAA title since 1995, it starts with Ohio State.

"[Ohio State was] fortunate that Lowell didn't beat us and St. Lawrence didn't beat Yale because that would've kept them out of the tournament," said Parker. "I've always said to my team, 'Hey, we're here, we might as well win it because we don't know when we're going to be back here again.' I'm sure that's how they feel and I know they won't be in awe of us."

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at marrapese@globe.com.

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