Monthly Archives: March 2009

>Irish Claim the Mason Cup

>Quick update from work here…

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have defeated the Michigan Wolverines, 5-2, to win the Mason Cup. You’ll recall that Notre Dame won the regular season as well.

Back later with some bracketology on the eve of Selection Sunday. It looks good for now!

– INCH has released all the TV listings for the NCAA Frozen Four Tournament. Click Here to view them.

>Are the RedHawks In? Early Signs Point To…

>Yes. Having worked out every conference tournament scenario, I was unable to find one that put Miami out of the top 14 in the PWI and a few, that placed the RedHawks as high as 12th, meaning the squad would, in all likelihood, earn a 3 seed. USCHO bracket guru Jayson Moy believes that there are already 14 teams “in” the tournament. Take a look:

There are 14 teams in the tournament.

BU, Notre Dame, Michigan, Denver, Yale, Northeastern, Minn.-Duluth, North Dakota, Vermont, New Hampshire, Cornell, Miami, Bemidji State and the AH winner.

Yale and Cornell clinched with wins today. The same for Minnesota-Duluth. Miami also clinches because of the math. The only teams that can pass Miami are Princeton and Mass.-Lowell, but even so, the RedHawks still get into the tournament.

There are 2 spots left.

The two easiest paths to these two spots belong to Princeton and UML. A win and they are in.

If UML wins, it gets one spot, but if it loses, it’s out.

If Princeton wins, it gets one spot, but if it loses, it’s out.

The other teams eligible for the final two spots are St. Lawrence, Minnesota and Ohio State.

You can follow all the thoughts and insight into the RedHawks tourney hopes on Twitter/miamiicehockey.

– In the CCHA consolation game at “The Joe,” Northern Michigan claimed third place with a 2-0 win over Alaska this afternoon. Michigan and Notre Dame will meet in the championship game tonight at 7:35.

>Mason Cup Finals Set, RedHawks Keep Hope Alive

>Click to view the CCHA tournament bracket:


– As day one action of “College Hockey at the Joe” has wrapped up, the quest for the Mason Cup is now down to two teams: Notre Dame and Michigan. The Irish played the early game on Thursday’s docket, beating Northern Michigan 2-1 with one minute left in regulation. And yes, Wildcat goaltender Brian Stewart was very good-again. For those wondering, next year will be his senior season at NMU.

In the night cap, Michigan faced a tough test in the Alaska Nanooks, the same Nanooks that claim both the CCHA Coach of the Year, Dallas Ferguson and the CCHA Player of the Year, Chad Johnson. On this night, even the Justice League wouldn’t have helped UAF, as Michigan added two power play goals and an empty net goal to seal the 3-1 victory.

With the Wolverines’ advancement to the finals, Northern Michigan will take on Alaska today at 3:35pm, in the third place/cohsolation game. U of M and Notre Dame will meet in the finals for the second time in three years, at 7:30pm.

– All of this is occurring just hours before the NCAA hockey selection committee announces their field of 16 teams to compete in the 2009 Frozen Four tourney. As of right now, all scenarios seem to include the RedHawks in the field of 16. Let’s hope there are no “burst bubbles” come Sunday at noon-time. The Selection Show will air on ESPN2, on Sunday morning at 11:30am, with a bracket to follow on this web page.

– Finally tonight, some Ryan Jones news. He was listed at number 41 on TSN’s ranking of the top 100 NHL rookies. Here’s what they had to say about the former Miami captain:

Hard-working winger who was acquired in the Marek Zidlicky deal and spent some time in the AHL this season. Willingness to go to the net could make him a 20-goal scorer.

Jones currently has seven goals and nine assists in his rookie season. You can view the rest of the list by clicking this link..

>On the Bubble…

>Click to view the CCHA Tournament Bracket


With many at a loss for words over the RedHawks Sunday night ousting from the CCHA tournament, the Miami Icers now find themselves as a bubble team, hoping to get into the NCAA Frozen Four Tournament. As of this writing, Miami’s PWI is currently tied with St. Lawrence at 14, a little on the high side…So…we need a little luck come Selection Sunday.

As the quest for the Mason Cup continues, Alaska defeated Ohio State on Sunday with a late third period goal to punch their ticket to the Joe. They’ll join Northern Michigan, Michigan, and Notre Dame when action kicks off on Friday afternoon.

Selection Sunday is this week, March 22.

>Late Night…er…Early Morning Update

>The 3 finalists for the CCHA individual awards have been announced and two RedHawks, Carter Camper and Kevin Roeder have been nominated. Camper was nominated for the CCHA Player of the Year Award, along with UAF goaltender Chad Johnson and Notre Dame goaltender Jordan Pearce. Some tough company there. Camper was also nominated for the Defensive Forward of the Year, joined by U of M’s Tim Miller, and Notre Dame’s Erik Condra.

Roeder was nominated for the Best Defensive Defernseman honor. Also in that group is U of M junior Chris Summers and Notre Dame junor Kyle Lawson.

The winners will be annoucned on Thursday, March 19th during the CCHA Awards Banquet at the Fox Theater in Detroit.

– Paula C. Weston is back with her predictions and insight into this weekend’s quarterfinal matchups. She predicts a RedHawk win…on Sunday:

Last weekend, the Wildcats decimated the Michigan State Spartans to advance to the second round of the CCHA playoffs, beating MSU by a collective score of 13-5. The series gave several players a chance to shine, especially senior Nick Sirota and sophomores Mark Olver and Gregor Hanson, each of whom netted two goals in the weekend. They face a team that is 21-31 all-time in CCHA playoff action and 4-2 in the past three seasons in the first round in which they’ve played. The Wildcats took three points from Miami in Steve Cady Arena just three weeks ago, beating the RedHawks 2-1 Feb. 20 before tying 1-1 the next night (when Miami earned the shootout “win” point). In those two games, NMU’s Brian Stewart made 89 saves, allowed two goals, and earned a .978 save percentage for the weekend. Miami is 6-4-1 against Northern dating back to 2005-06, including a 5-2 CCHA semifinal win March 17, 2006. NMU 3-2, Miami 4-2, Miami 4-2

This weekend’s games will be televised on ONN, with Dave Allen and Kevin Ackley handling the broadcast duties. This is your last and final chance to see your Miami seniors take the ice at Cady Arena.

Go RedHawks!

>More Awards, News, and Other Ramblings…

>Sophomore forward Carter Camper has been named to the CCHA-All Conference squad. Camper, on the first team, is the only Miami representative to be named. Others receiving votes from Miami were Pat Cannone, Justin Mercier, Kevin Roeder, and Chris Wideman. In his second season with the RedHawks, Camper has 19 goals and 19 assists, for a career total of 79 points and is most assuredly on his way to the 100-point club, with two years of eligibility remaining.

– The latest edition of Inside the CCHA features this a preview of this weekend’s quarterfinal matchups. Among their guests this week…none other than former RedHawk captain and current Nashville Predator, Ryan Jones! Click Here to Listen.

-Here are some game notes with stats and previews for this weekend’s series against Northern Michigan. MURedHawks.com will also feature a live game day blog, beginning on Friday.

“CHECKING” NORTHERN MICHIGAN

Northern Michigan comes into the second round of the tournament fresh off a weekend sweep of Michigan State (5-3, 8-2). The Wildcats are unbeaten in their last six games and since the calendar turned to 2009 Northern Michigan holds one of the best records in the nation at 13-3-2. No team in the CCHA has won more games in the New Year and only No. 1 ranked Boston University has more wins nationally (16). Northern Michigan has also played one of the toughest ’09 schedules as they have had six road games against ranked opponents. The Wildcats are led by a trio of young scores in Gregor Hanson, Mark Olver and Erik Gustafsson. All three have 30 points or more and hold a +14 or better (on the season). Of the three only Olver was able to record a point on the Wildcats last trip to Oxford.

The Wildcats earned a win and a tie (shootout loss) on its trip to Steve Cady Arena on Feb. 20-21. The RedHawks outshot the Wildcats 91-27 on the weekend including holding Northern Michigan to seven shots on goal on Feb. 21. It was the first time in school history Miami held an opponent under 10 shots in a game. Miami holds a record of 14-29-3 in the all-time series with the RedHawks leading 9-8-2 in games played in Oxford.

THE REDHAWK RUNDOWN

– Carter Camper picked up an assist in the Feb. 27 game against Ohio State and ended his second regular season with the RedHawks having never been held pointless in a CCHA series in which he has played in both games. Camper has kept the streak going with goals in seven of his last eight CCHA series.

– Miami holds an all-time record of 21-31 in the CCHA tournament and a 16-8 record in Oxford. Miami has won six of its last 10 CCHA tournament games and been in the CCHA title game in two of the past three seasons.

– The RedHawks lead the nation in the penalty kill with a 91.1-percent (185/203) success rate. No other team in nation is better than 90 percent.

– Connor Knap and Chris Wideman were both named to the CCHA all-rookie team this week becoming the first pair of RedHawks named to the first team since Matt Christie and Marty Guerin in 2003-04.

– Miami has not lost a CCHA second-round home series since being swept by Lake Superior State University in 2007. The sweep by the Lakers is also the last time Miami has been swept in a home series.

– Justin Mercier became the first player in Miami history with 100 wins and 100 points when he scored an empty-net goal against Ohio State on Feb. 28. It was the second time the senior had found the net in the game and the first multi-goal game of the season for the Erie, Pa. native.

– Brian Kaufman has scored three goals in his last two games including his first multi-goal game of the season against Ohio State Feb. 28.

– Bill Loupee comes into the CCHA playoff having played 99 career games for the Red and White.

REDHAWK SPECIAL TEAMS

The RedHawk special teams units are currently rated the best in the CCHA. Miami leads the conference and the nation on the penalty kill with a unit that is successful on 91.1 percent (185/203) of power plays by opposing teams. The RedHawks also have a solid power-play unit that is currently ranked second in the CCHA with a 19.5-percent (41/210) success rate. Miami has two of the top three power-play point-scorers in the CCHA this season in Carter Camper and Pat Cannone. Camper is tied for first in the conference with 22 points (11-11-22) with the man advantage and Cannone is tied for second with 21 (5-16-21). This season, Miami is 12-6-4 when it scores on the power play, 9-6-2 when it is perfect on the penalty kill and 7-3-2 when it does both in the same game.

IN THE RANKINGS

Miami is currently ranked eighth in the USCHO and CBS College Sports Division I men’s hockey poll. The RedHawks have moved up and down in the Top 10 this season but have been ranked within the nation’s Top 10 for 46 consecutive weeks. During this run, the RedHawks have been ranked as the nation’s No. 1 team for ten weeks. Miami has also been ranked in the Top 10 for 81 of the last 89 weeks and has been ranked No. 1 11 times. This season, Miami has played 10 games against ranked opponents and holds an overall record of 6-3-1, boasting two shutouts (Notre Dame – Oct. 24, Michigan – Nov. 21), both by freshman Cody Reichard.

– Staying with the Quest for the Mason Cup, INCH has published their version of the CCHA Tournament preview. Here’s their take on the “Keys to the Game”:

Season Series: Northern Michigan leads 1-0-1, Miami won the shootout

Wildcats Fact: Northern Michigan has as much success as anyone at Steve Cady Arena this year, taking three points on the weekend while goaltender Brian Stewart made 89 saves in the two games.

Redhawks Fact: With this weekend’s games, Miami has hosted a home playoff series in each of the three seasons the new rink has been open – the RedHawks are 1-1 in the two previous series, losing to Lake Superior two years ago and knocking off Bowling Green last year.

How NMU Wins: The Wildcats need to ride all of the momentum that they’ve built throughout the second half, spreading the puck around evenly as five players enter the weekend with four-game point streaks.

How Miami Wins: The RedHawks are fortunate to have some experienced and hungry players looking for an elusive first CCHA playoff championship for the program. They will, however, go only as far as Connor Knapp and Cody Reichard take them.

– MURedHawks.com has posted this morning’s online chat with seniors Kevin Roeder and Brian Kaufman here. I’m sure the boys liked the questions received from a few “fans,” namely Ryan in Nashville and Jeff in Ontario!

– Finally today, news that the Bowling Green hockey program may be in jeopardy due to the school’s 10 million budget shortfall. You can read the article, courtesy of College Hockey News, at this link.

>Smith Named Scholar-Athlete & More

>On the heels of two Miamians being named to the CCHA All-Rookie team, another honor comes along today, as junior forward Brandon Smith was selected as Miami’s scholar athlete. Smith, who carries a grade-point average over 3.70, is now one of twelve finalists for the league award (one player is selected from each CCHA team.) The winner will be announced on March 19, as a part of the 2009 CCHA awards banquet. Congratulations to Brandon. It has certainly been a season of career firsts for the hard working Pepper Pike, Ohio native.

Also, for those out there into online chatting…seinor captain Brian Kaufman and alternate captain Kevin Roeder will take part in an online chat tomorrow morning (Thursday) at 11:00am. You can link to the chat form by clicking here.

>Wideman, Knapp Make All-Rookie Team

>The CCHA All-Rookie team has been announced…and two RedHawk newbies have made the cut. Freshman defenseman Chris Wideman (my personal favorite) and goaltender Connor Knapp were selected to the annual squad.

Here’s the book on Wideman:

Chris Wideman, a 19-year-old defenseman from St. Louis, Missouri, and Miami University led all CCHA rookie rearguards with 22 points, finishing third among all rookies and third among all CCHA defensemen. Wideman’s 22 assists in 27 conference games was best among rookies and tied for second place overall. He finished second among rookies with 14 power-play points, sixth overall, and was named CCHA Rookie of the Week once.
And Knapp:

Connor Knapp, a 18-year-old goaltender from York, New York, and Miami University, posted a 12-3-2 record in conference games, third among CCHA netminders and first among rookies with a .765 winning percentage. Knapp’s 2.02 goals-against average was second among rookies, fifth overall and he placed third among freshmen netminders with a .908 save percentage.

Congratulations to both! I’m certainly looking forward to seeing Knapp get more time between the pipes next season, and the remainder of this season as well. As for Wideman, this kid can run a power play with the best of them. I love watching his play on special teams.

>Road to the Mason Cup: Day 3

>Click to view the CCHA tournament bracket:


One game on the docket today would decide two second round playoff series’ as the first round of the CCHA playoffs came to a close. In Sunday’s only match up, Western Michigan defeated Lake Superior 3-1 to win the series against the Lakers and move into a second round matchup with the University of Michigan next weekend. With the Broncos win, Nebraska-Omaha also found out what awaits them in just six days-a trip to South Bend to take on the number one seed Fighting Irish of Notre Dame.

As you can see on the bracket above, Ohio State travels to Alaska and Northern Michigan will make their second trip into Oxford this season, to once again battle the RedHawks.

Here now, this blogger’s official predictions for next weekend’s action. Don’t play these odds in Vegas, please:

(8) Nebraska-Omaha at (1) Notre Dame: UNO showed some fire against a bad Ferris State team, but the Irish sweep the best of three series.

(5) Ohio State at (4) Alaska: OSU will be without Ian Boots this weekend, due to his involvement in a second period fight against Bowling Green on Saturday night. This was his second game disqualification of the year. Zach Pelletier will also be out Friday night for his involvement in the BGSU tussle (automatic one game suspension). I take the Nanooks to sweep on their home ice.

(6) Northern Michigan at (3) Miami: The RedHawks will have to be ready as the Wildcats beat Miami and tied during their weekend series just a few weeks ago. I think it will take Miami three games to punch their ticket to the Joe. Northern takes the Friday night game, but Miami wins the series.

(7) Western Michigan at (2) Michigan: Michigan in the post-season? Thanks for playing, Western. U of M with the sweep.

>Road to the Mason Cup: Day 2

>Click to view the CCHA Tournament Bracket


Saturday Night Scores:

Final at Columbus, Ohio
(12) Bowling Green 1
(5) Ohio State 7

Ohio State wins the series 2-0, will face Alaska next weekend.

Final at Marquette, Michigan:
(11) Michigan State 2
(6) Northern Michigan 8

Northern Michigan wins the series 2-0, will face Miami next weekend.

Final at Omaha, Nebraska:
(9) Ferris State 2
(8) Nebraska-Omaha 5

Nebraska-Omaha wins the series 2-0, will face either Notre Dame or Michigan next weekend.

Final in 2OT at Kalamazoo, Michigan:
(10) Lake Superior 3
(7) Western Michigan 4

Series tied at 1 game each. Teams will play Sunday to decide a winner. If Western wins, the Broncos will travel to Ann Arbor to face the University of Michigan. If Lake Superior wins the series, the Lakers will lay Notre Dame and Nebraska-Omaha will face Michigan next weekend in Ann Arbor.