OXFORD, Ohio – After Saturday, Cady Arena might want to add the Kingsmen’s 1963 hit “Louie Louie” to its repertoire.
Or maybe amend the spelling to “Louie Louis”.
The duo of Louie Belpedio and Anthony Louis scored Miami’s first three goals in its 5-0 win over Maine in its series finale, as the Chicago-area pair has netted six of the RedHawks’ nine markers in the first three games of this homestand.
It was an amazing eight days for Belpedio, who struggled mightily in the first period vs. Ohio State last weekend but scored the team’s lone goal in the next stanza. That seemed to turn his game around, and although he is still prone to the occasional turnover, he has been exception at moving the puck, especially on the power play.
Then there’s Louis, whose game has jumped miles ahead from his first three seasons to this homestand that opens his final season in Oxford. It took him 10 games to find the net in 2015-16, and he had three plus an assist this weekend on 15 shots, many of which his hard work created. He seems physically stronger and more driven this fall than at any other time wearing a Miami sweater.
And yet the most-improved offensive player award is in no way clear-cut, as Kiefer Sherwood makes an excellent case for that. Like Louis, he is doing much more at a higher level than filling the scoresheet.
Just based on the three games in this homestand, Carson Meyer looked much more comfortable on the ice from Period 1 to Period 9, and the stats prove that out, as he had three assists in this game and had a goal erased on a delayed, delayed off-side call.
Karch Bachman’s blazing speed and skills make him an easy top-6 forward, and he is just starting to reach his potential. Gordie Green has been feisty and it seems inevitable he will start putting up points soon playing to the right of Bachman and Sherwood.
Throw in Josh Melnick, the most complete forward on the team and on-ice leader despite being a sophomore, and that’s six forwards plus a power play quarterback defenseman we just mentioned that could be elite both in the NCHC and nationally.
And that’s without mentioning Ryan Larkin, who stopped 33 shots for his first shutout. It’s safe to say he’s the real deal and is going to steal some games over his career, and every competitive team needs great goaltending to win critical games.
There’s certainly a lot to like about Saturday’s performance, especially since scoring was a weakness for Miami last season, but before we punch our tickets to the Frozen Four, some perspective…
Maine didn’t get great goaltending. In fact, the Black Bears weren’t a terribly impressive lot. They had two outstanding goals on Friday but sort of mailed it in after Miami went up multiple goals on Saturday.
Still, the RedHawks showed on Friday they could respond while trailing three times to salvage a tie and in this game they were able to step on a team’s throat late, something they haven’t always exceled at.
To accomplish both against Maine, they needed offense from a team that scored just 86 times in 36 times last season and saw its first-round pick that tied for the team’s points lead walk this summer after one year.
Coming off a 15-18-3 season with 14 freshmen and no Jack Roslovic – or Sean Kuraly or Matthew Caito for that matter – we’ll take 2-1-2 at this point with 2.80 goals for per game and an average of just 1.80 against.
– Hate to gloss over Larkin’s performance, but offense was so much more of a concern entering this season, and this team has always found quality kids between the pipes. Now to gush a little: Larkin has been absolutely amazing in his first three home games. He has a .955 save percentage and 1.27 goals-against average at Cady Arena. Keep in mind, this is on a freshman-laden team that has made some defensive mistakes, so he has faced a plethora of high-percentage chances. Miami’s just fine in net, hopefully for the next four years.
– One player we haven’t really talked about is Jared Brandt. The freshman defenseman hasn’t been sexy but has been very effective in his own end and has a physical streak. As the everyday lineup starts to solidify, Brandt’s name should be on it nightly, bringing much-needed stability to a blue line that lost several four-year starters last off-season.
– Despite the score, Miami actually started pretty slowly in this one. Period 1 bore no resemblance to 2 and 3, and the Meyer non-goal may have been a turning point.
– One more peeve: I really, really don’t like reviewing off-sides after a goal. And yes, I’d say that if Maine had had a goal reversed. Going back and waving off a goal for something that happened 30 seconds earlier is the equivalent of taking back a touchdown because six plays earlier because it’s determined the ball really should’ve been placed at the 38 yard line and not the 39. Replay on goals? Sure. Micromanaging tertiary calls like off-sides when they don’t directly contribute to scores? No thanks.
– Final thought: Belpedio and Louis are both from the Chicago area. They scored the first three goals. Miami won 5-0. The same night, the Cubs won 5-0 to advance to the World Series. Heck of a coincidence.
– OK, one more final thought. Sorry for the delay in getting stuff posted. High school football conflicts plus real work, and Sunday was my birthday. Should be more timely moving forward. Thanks for your patience and thanks always for those who read our rambling prose.
FORWARDS: A. Not only is it scary that Miami has Louis-Melnick-Meyer-Sherwood-Bachman-Green as its top six, the third line of Ryan Siroky, Justin Greenberg and Zach LaValle was solid again in this game, albeit it without producing points. Alex Alger played his first home game and impressed with his energy on the fourth line. Conor Lemirande is way better than in his first two seasons. Carter Johnson was a solid grinder on that line as well. That’s all 12.
DEFENSEMEN: B+. It’s weird: As someone who appreciates defense, the good and bad of that aspect seemed somewhat lacking from this game. That’s OK as typically stay-at-home D-men are noticed for bad play a la offensive linemen in football. The game became a lot more physical in the third period, and this corps was involved in much of the carnage, with Grant Hutton dishing out some hits, Belpedio knocking a couple of player around – most notably with an old-school submarine hip check at full speed, and Scott Dornbrock blasting a player in front of the benches, drawing a debatable penalty. Belpedio scored the two goals, which obviously raise the grade, and overall this corps kept its errant turnovers to a minimum.
GOALTENDING: A+. Larkin earned his first career shutout and was in complete control all night. He almost never allows rebounds and was excellent at icing the puck when Miami had the lead, not allowing Maine a chance to get back into the game. Larkin was tested on a 3-on-1 in the final minute but made the save to preserve the shutout. What a performance.
LINEUP CHANGES: Alger replaced Willie Knierim and did a solid job on the fourth line. On defense, Colin Sullivan returned to the lineup as Chaz Switzer was scratched. Andrew Masters was again the backup in net.
OXFORD, Ohio – After 239 days, Miami finally found itself in the win column on home ice.
After an excruciatingly long off-season and a pair of ties in their first two games at Cady Arena, the RedHawks shut out Maine, 5-0 on 33 saves by Ryan Larkin on Saturday to wrap up a 1-0-1 weekend.
The RedHawks’ last win in this building was on Feb. 27 vs. Colorado College, also a shutout. Miami’s last three home wins have all come by blankings.
Miami thought it had the lead in the first period on a bad-angle rip by Carson Meyer, but the Black Bears challenged and the play was ruled off-side.
But the next one counted, as Anthony Louis and Josh Melnick played give-and-go in the offensive zone in the first period, with Melnick dropping a pass to Louis in the slot for a wrister that beat Rob McGovern 3:42 into the second period.
Just 25 seconds later and six seconds into a power play, a wrist shot by defenseman Louie Belpedio beat McGovern on the glove side to make it 2-0.
With 9:42 left in the middle stanza, Belpedio struck again, this time whipping one just under the crossbar from the top of the faceoff circle to extend the RedHawks’ lead to three.
An offensive-zone feed off the transition by Carson Meyer set up a 2-on-0, with Kiefer Sherwood sliding one across to blueliner Scott Dornbrock for a point-blank blast to run it to 4-0 with 13:19 left in regulation, ending McGovern’s night.
Sherwood capped off the scoring with a close-up one-time rip of his own on a centering pass from Karch Bachman feed from the side of the cage. Sherwood had set up the chance with a stretch pass along the boards and then skated into the slot for the goal with 10:46 left.
Sherwood finished with a goal and two assists for a five-point weekend, and Meyer picked up three helpers, as both recorded career highs with three points.
Belpedio’s two-goal game was the first of his career, and Louis ended the night with a goal and an assist, giving him three markers and one helper in two games.
Ryan Larkin’s shutout was the first of his career. He made 24 stops in the final two periods.
After losing its season opener in Providence, MU is unbeaten in its last four (2-0-2).
Miami will host Bowling Green in a two-game set next weekend. The RedHawks swept the Falcons in a home-and-home season series in 2015-16.
OXFORD, Ohio – The French phrase “comme ci, comme ca” applies perfectly to Friday’s game.
Miami and Maine skated to a 3-3 tie in the series opener and first game played between these teams in Oxford, and like many ties, the overall performance and the outcome was neither good nor bad for the RedHawks.
Here are some of the pros and cons from this contest from Miami’s perspective:
– Anthony Louis has been a good player since setting foot in Oxford, but he appears to have taken a major step up this season. He is playing solid defense, attacking loose pucks and eluding defenders, things he had not done regularly his first three seasons, and that extra effort resulted in a two-goal performance. The second goal especially was the result of beating a defender, something we had not seen him do often previously. He generated nine shots on Friday, many coming because of his hard work.
– Any nervousness from Louis Belpedio was a distant memory. Belpedio struggled early vs. Ohio State, perhaps under the burden of his newly-earned captaincy, but he was fantastic on Friday. He especially stood out quarterbacking the power play, as he puck movement in that capacity was exceptional.
– The man advantage deserves its own bullet point. Miami was only 1-for-8 but the aforementioned puck movement was excellent from the top unit.
– Kiefer Sherwood had seven assists all of last season, but he picked up his third and fourth of the season in this game. He was a feared goal scorer and started to take off in the second half of last season, but he is turning into an all-around force now as he shifts from the wing to center. His brilliant pass to Grant Hutton led to Miami’s first goal, and he picked up the secondary helper in the tying goal on the power play as the RedHawks thanks to solid puck movement in the offensive zone.
– The third line was excellent at puck possession. A pair of sophomores, Ryan Siroky and Zach LaValle, plus senior Justin Greenberg, were arguably Miami’s top threesome in this one, playing a grind-it-out game.
– The wide bodies were solid on the fourth line. Conor Lemirande was a force vs. Ohio State and looks a lot better with the puck this season as well as physically stronger. At 6-feet-6, that’s a scary concept if he continues to improve. Freshman Willie Knierim looked a lot more confident in this game than last week. Patience will be key for fans with Knierim, who is the youngest player on the team and still learning to play with his huge frame. He won’t score 25 goals this season, but watching him develop should be fun the next four years.
– Topping the list is that Maine didn’t look as good as Ohio State, and Miami still couldn’t come away with the win. True, process counts more than wins and losses at this point, but even with a young team, the RedHawks need to win games on home ice, and they have a pair of ties to open their Cady Arena slate.
– Turnovers were costly. Defenseman Chaz Switzer was stripped for Maine’s first goal and normally-solid fellow blueliner Grant Hutton couldn’t handle a deep puck in the third period, ultimately leading to the Black Bears’ final goal. Even reliable Josh Melnick couldn’t clear one in the second period and Maine scored later in the shift with tired Miami players caught on the ice.
– Too many long shifts in the D-zone. Kind of a corollary to the turnovers note, which were obviously a contributing factor, Maine possessed the puck in the offensive zone for extended periods far too often in this game.
– Overall this team is progressing well despite having half of its lineup consist of freshmen. The schedule will get tougher really soon, though, and Miami still has work to do if hopes to compete in the NCHC.
– Could’ve missed the memo, but the linesmen kicked players out of the faceoff circle at an alarming rate, and often it was difficult to see the cause.
– The faceoff thing was more noticeable because this game featured 72 faceoffs and largely lacked flow as a result. A lot of icing and off-sides, plus 13 penalties.
– Offensive zone faceoff, 1.0 seconds left in regulation, not sure why goalie Ryan Larkin wasn’t pulled. Almost every coach at this level or above puts a sixth attacker on in this situation.
FORWARDS: B. This corps scored two of Miami’s goals and fired 29 shots, with Louis netting both markers and accounting for 9 SOG. Karch Bachman did take a bad penalty, firing an opponent’s stick down the ice. Overall the line chemistry seems to be improving.
DEFENSEMEN: C. Defensemen turnovers directly created two goals for Maine, which cannot be overlooked despite the blueliners’ overall solid play. Hutton scored a goal, balancing out him losing the puck, and Belpedio finished with six shots and picked up the primary assist on the tying goal.
GOALTENDING: B. Stopping 18 of 21 doesn’t look great on paper, but Larkin had zero chance on the second goal, the third was an absolute laser and the first was essentially a close-up breakaway. He controlled all of his rebounds and made a couple of high-quality saves.
LINEUP CHANGES: The only change was on defense: Grant Frederic played with Bryce Hatten sat. Frederic looks like he has potential, and his size is impressive, but he was a tough tentative in this one. That will hopefully go away with more playing time.
OXFORD, Ohio – Miami trailed on three occasions Friday but thanks to the second goal of the night by Louis late in the third period, the RedHawks salvaged a tie.
Miami and Maine skated to a 3-3 draw at Cady Arena in the first-ever meeting between these teams on MU’s campus after the RedHawks fell behind by one goal in all three periods but generated the equalizer each time.
The Black Bears (3-1-1) took the lead 5:36 into the first period when Peter Housakos stole the puck from Miami defenseman Chaz Switzer, skated in alone on RedHawks goalie Ryan Larkin from the side of the net and backhanded it in.
Miami (1-1-2) tied it nearly a full period later, as Kiefer Sherwood slid a pass from behind the net to a wide-open Grant Hutton, who stuffed in under goalie Rob McGovern 5:29 into the middle stanza.
Just 1:23 later, Maine’s Mitchell Fossier tipped a blue line wrister by Mark Hamilton past Larkin to give the Black Bears a 2-1 lead.
The RedHawks pulled even again when Josh Melnick eluded a defender along the boards and found Anthony Louis in the high slot. Louis one-timed it, and the blast was partially stopped by McGovern but trickled across the goal line with 6:59 remaining in that frame.
Hutton lost the puck deep in his own end, and Dane Gibson dropped a pass to Cedric Lacroix, who wired a shot short side just under a crossbar with 6:26 left in regulation, giving Maine a 3-2 lead.
A power play set up Louis’ tying goal, which he scored after penetrating to the middle of the faceoff circle and beating McGovney on the glove side.
Miami was on the power play for the closing seconds of regulation and the first minute and a half of overtime but could not convert. The RedHawks finished 1-for-8 on the power play while going perfect on three penalty kills.
Louis’ goals were his first two of the season, and Hutton notched his second. The duo is now tied for the team lead in markers.
Sherwood picked up a pair of assists, giving him the outright team lead in assists (4) and points (5).
The teams played a 3-on-3 demonstration after the game, during which neither team scored, and that was followed by a shootout, won by Maine.
Miami and the Black Bears wrap up their weekend series at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday.
WHO: Maine Black Bears (3-1) at Miami RedHawks (1-1-1).
WHERE: Cady Arena, Oxford, Ohio.
WHEN: Friday–7:35 p.m. Saturday–7:05 p.m.
NOTES: Believe it or not, this is Maine’s first-ever trip to Oxford.
These teams have met six times, with the Black Bears winning the first five and Miami earning a 4-1 victory in a neutral-site tournament in Florida six years ago.
Once a college hockey power, Maine has been a Hockey East doormat for several years, although the Black Bears are off to a 3-1 start this season with a pair of wins over RPI and a split vs. Quinnipiac.
Maine has played in some high-scoring games, finding the net 15 times while allowing nine goals.
Mitchell Fossier has already scored five times – including all three of the Black Bears’ game winners – while picking up three assists, and Nolan Vesey has two goals and a team-best four helpers for six points.
Rob McGovern has logged every minute in net for Maine, posting a 2.22 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage.
The Black Bears have gone to the power play 28 times – seven chances a game – and allowed 26 opportunities to their opponents. Maine has 62 penalty minutes in its four games.
OXFORD, Ohio – Miami fans have been through the early-season Ohio State litmus test before.
Beat up on the woeful Buckeyes, inspire the team and fanbase with hope only to see that gauge prove wrong once the RedHawks face stiffer conference competition later in the season.
But Saturday was different. Miami didn’t beat the Buckeyes, tying them 1-1 at Cady Arena in their home opener, and yet this game gave those in attendance a better understanding of where the RedHawks are than most previous meetings with OSU with a freshman-laden team.
The reason is: Ohio State is a lot better than it has been in recent seasons.
Entering play at 1-0-1 including a win at then-No. 3 Denver, this edition of the Buckeyes has speed and can move the puck. These essential attributes were severely lacking as recently as last October.
This was an entertaining game to watch, more from a purist fan perspective than a casual fan one, as these teams did those unsexy things like backcheck, get sticks in lanes and shut down shooting lanes.
But there was still plenty of fast-paced, end-to-end action that is sometimes lacking in October contests as teams are still trying to build chemistry.
Miami started sluggishly, with a bad turnover at its own blue line by sophomore Kiefer Sherwood ultimately ending up in his own net five minutes in. The team looked nervous on its home ice.
The RedHawks were much improved in the second and third periods, although OSU owned overtime.
No one knew what this team would look like when it actually hit the ice this month: Not the fans, media, coaches or even the players themselves. Now after three games we all have a better idea.
There is certainly plenty of room for improvement for Miami, but if Saturday is any indication – and this game vs. Ohio State is a much better barometer than those Buckeyes matchups in the past – there is cause for optimism among those who root for this team.
– First, it’s really hard to evaluate nine freshman in a 65-minute game when you haven’t seen seven of them play before. The overall impression was that one skater really stood out: Karch Bachman. Bachman, who is a Florida Panthers draftee, has excellent speed and a nose for the net. He was placed on Sherwood’s line, and the two worked exceptionally well together, with Sherwood lobbing outlet passes to him and Bachman using his speed to track them down. It should be a lot of fun watching these two develop together if they remain linemates.
Gordie Green and Carson Meyer also impressed among the new forwards. Green is small but seems to do everything, from playmaking to puckhandling to defending. Meyer appears poised to make his mark in the scoring column, as he displayed his missile of a shot a couple of times. He scored 32 times in his first full season in the USHL in 2015-16.
Miami used three freshman on defense, and none were terribly noticeable, but that’s meant as a compliment because blueliners often have their names called after making mistakes.
And we can’t forget to mention Ryan Larkin. His Cady Arena debut was quite impressive, with his rebound shot save in overtime and breakaway stop in the third period. Coach Enrico Blasi has started the season by giving the backups a start in the first couple of games most years, and it speaks to what Blasi thinks of Larkin that the netminder has been the lone goalie in net for the RedHawks through three games.
– It truly is a game of inches. Sherwood hit a crossbar and Bachman rang one off the post, both on excellent scoring chances. If those two remain together they’re going to be a force on this team.
– Talk about a game of highs and lows for new captain and junior defenseman Louie Belpedio. Belpedio looked flat-out lost on the ice in the first period, committing multiple egregious turnovers and handling the puck poorly early. But his second-period laser from the high slot resulted in MU’s only goal, and he appeared to settle down dramatically after the first 20 minutes. It was his first game as team captain on home ice, and that role has hindered the past two Miami players to wear the ‘C’ early in the season.
– [rant] For the love of God, can we please not have 3-on-3 and skills contests when they mean nothing? They’re passable at best during conference play, but Saturday they served no purpose other than to confuse fans and unnecessarily have players risk injury and/or suspension.
So after five minutes of 5-on-5 overtime, the game was officially a tie. Miami and Ohio State are no longer in the same conference, so shake hands and call it a night, right?
Nope. The teams skated three a side for five minutes – perhaps for fun? – and then participated in an abbreviated shootout, which supposedly the Buckeyes won.
The purpose is clear: College hockey wants winners and losers in each game, and the NCAA is slowly working toward that goal or at least is evaluating its current system. We get that.
But the major problem is that fans who don’t live and breathe with their teams don’t have a clue what’s going on. For decades hockey has been all about trying to grow the game, which is really tough with such nuanced rules. Why confuse your fans about the most important aspect of the game: The decision?
One knowledgeable fan asked me after the 5-on-5 if the game was officially over for NCAA purposes. I said I thought so but wasn’t 100 percent sure. Another fan asked that fan, who said that was just what he asked me.
One fan walked out during the 3-on-3, telling the ushers there was no point in watching since it meant nothing. Ninety-plus percent of the crowd either didn’t get that or didn’t care, wanting to watch the 3-on-3.
And make no mistake, the 3-on-3 isn’t the issue, it’s that it meant nothing and the fact that’s a tough message to get out to the masses. To Miami’s credit, it was made clear over the PA.
Either have college hockey’s governing body sanction 3-on-3 and shootouts or don’t. The sport and those who love to watch it deserve better than we’re-going-to-determine-a-winner-one-way-or-another-and-oops-Ohio-State-won-nope-just-kidding.
We’ve said it before: The NHL is certainly not a model of rules excellence, but it has it right with 4-on-4 overtimes. If that doesn’t determine a winner, it wasn’t meant to be. Or go to 3-on-3 after that. Those two sessions would determine winners 80 percent of the time. But two things: 1) Unlike last night, let’s be consistent and up front about the format from year to year and get rid of meaningless demonstrations to determine a “winner”, and 2) if we’re going to play 10 minutes of extra hockey when the temperature reaches the mid-80s in southern Ohio, can we please scrape the ice first?
But as the rules currently stand, the game should have been over after the five-minute 5-on-5 overtime. From the NCAA’s perspective it was. Why should fans who paid good money walk away from the rink unclear about that fact? [/rant]
– Speaking of fans, they were great. The students were on mid-term break, but it was still a loud crowd. Let’s hope that continues, and based on Miami’s level of play it should.
Ah yes, with mid-terms come grades. As we have the past few seasons for games we attend, we evaluate the play of each facet of Miami’s lineup.
FORWARDS: C. They didn’t score a single goal but the season is a process, especially with all of the rookies. There was a lot to like in the line combinations, especially the Sherwood-Bachman combination with Green on the right wing. Anthony Louis showed a lot of life on the first line with Josh Melnick, who never seems to have an off game, and Carson Meyer gives the former two a sniper to finish. Conor Lemirande really seemed to step his play up, as he carried the puck more and was effective in both ends of the ice, using his huge frame.
DEFENSEMEN: B. The three freshmen did their jobs by not making a splash. Grant Hutton and Scott Dornbrock both looked like they may take another step forward this season, and Belpedio was at times the best and at other times the worst among this corps. Hopefully his first period was just the result of new captain jitters.
GOALTENDING: A. Well, Larkin made a couple thousand new fans, especially since he made his overtime rebound-shot save in front of the most boisterous fans in the student section. It was just one game but the kid looks like the real deal: Watching him away from the puck he appears to have great anticipation of where the puck is going and is athletic enough to position himself perfectly in order to squelch any scoring threats.
LINEUP CHANGES: How about this for Game 3: Blasi’s starting 19 were the same as in Game 2.
One surprise was that goalie Chase Munroe was a scratch, and Andrew Masters was the backup. Masters was expected to be the third goalie after committing late last school year.
Miami is light up front, with Alex Alger and injured Christian Mohs being the only scratches there, and Colin Sullivan and Grant Frederic sat among the blueline corps.
OXFORD, Ohio – Ryan Larkin deserved better than a tie.
The Miami freshman goalie stopped 23 of 24 shots including multiple point-blank chances late as the RedHawks and Ohio State finished even at one in Miami’s 2016-17 home opener at Cady Arena on Saturday.
Larkin, who has been the lone goalie to log minutes for MU this season, denied a breakaway in the third period, and after making the initial save on an overtime rip, he stretched to his right to cover the post, narrowing denying a rebound shot from the side of the net.
After allowing four goals in Miami’s season opener in Providence, Larkin has stopped 43 of 45 shots (.956), surrendering just two goals in 124:58 for a 0.96 goals-against average in his last two outings.
The Buckeyes (1-0-2) struck first when David Gust slammed home a rebound after Larkin had stopped a shot from the high slot by Dakota Joshua just 4:32 into the first period.
The RedHawks (1-1-1) tied it on a 5-on-3 when junior defenseman Louie Belpedio ripped a shot that beat OSU goalie Matt Tomkins just inside the far post 4:11 into the second period.
Miami hit a pair of posts on quality scoring chances, one off the crossbar by sophomore Kiefer Sherwood in the middle stanza and another by freshman Karch Bachman that rang off the far post late in the final frame.
Ohio State dominated the overtime, outshooting the RedHawks, 4-1 and spending 1:59 on the power play.
After overtime, the teams played an exhibition 3-on-3 to no avail, and finally the Buckeyes won a shootout that also did not have any bearing on the standings or rankings.
Belpedio and Sherwood, who picked up an assist on Belpedio’s goal, lead the team with three points each. Senior forward Anthony Louis also picked up a helper, his first point of the season.
Miami has scored six goals in three games this season, and all have come on the power play. All of its contests to this point have been decided by one goal or zero.
The RedHawks host Maine next weekend, with faceoffs slated for 7:35 p.m. on Friday and 7:05 p.m. on Saturday.
Austin Czarnik became the 28th former Miamian to log an NHL game when he made his debut for the Boston Bruins in Columbus on Thursday.
Czarnik, tied for fifth on the RedHawks’ all-time points leaderboard with 169 and second in team history with 123 assists, logged 15 minutes in his first game in the world’s premier hockey league.
The center from Washington, Mich., scored 20 goals and picked up 41 helpers in his first full pro season with AHL Providence in 2015-16. He turned professional immediately following his senior season at Miami in March of 2015 and notched two assists in three games for the P-Bruins.
Czarnik was Miami’s captain his final two seasons and tallied at least 37 points in all four of his seasons in Oxford.
WHO: No. 19 Ohio State Buckeyes (1-0-1) at Miami RedHawks (1-1).
WHERE: Cady Arena, Oxford, Ohio.
WHEN: Saturday–8:05 p.m.
NOTES: Miami has dominated this series in recent years, but Ohio State is ranked No. 15 in the USA Today poll and 19th in the USCHO.com rankings.
The Buckeyes are coming off a 3-2 win over then-No. 3 Denver in Denver and a 3-3 tie vs. Air Force in the Ice Breaker last weekend.
OSU put 82 shots on net last weekend, including 49 vs. Air Force. John Wiitala scored a pair of goals, and five other players also picked up two points, including RedHawks transfer and defenseman Matt Joyaux.
Senior Christian Frey started both games in net last weekend, but classmate Matt Tomkins relieved him in the second game, stopping all 10 shots to salvage the tie.
Based on that, it would appear likely Tomkins would start between the pipes in this game. He is 16-21-5 with a 3.24 goals-against average for Ohio State. He has struggled vs. Miami with a 4.05 GAA in four games while Frey allowed two goals in his lone appearance vs. the RedHawks.
The Buckeyes are a balanced team in terms of class size, with seven seniors, seven juniors, nine sophomores and five freshmen. Three rookies played in both games last weekend and another dressed once.
Miami has won seven straight games against Ohio State and is 11-1-1 in its last 13 in this series, including a 4-0 record at Cady Arena since the 2013-14 season.
Overall, the RedHawks are 75-62-13 vs. OSU and 46-22-4 in Oxford.
Normally these teams play a home-and-home series the same weekend, but this season they meet in Columbus on New Year’s Eve, likely to break up a long Christmas break for both.