Monthly Archives: October 2009

>Vaive’s (Almost) Trick, A Treat For the RedHawks

>Well, at least the Halloween reference is out of the way. By now, most of you undoubtedly know that Miami took game one of the weekend series on Friday night at Northern Michigan, with a 4-3 win.

But what you may not know about, is the nightmare that this game could have turned into. The RedHawks had a 4-0 lead going into the third period, largely thanks to Justin Vaive’s first two goals of the season early on in the second period. Joe Hartman and Alden Hirschfeld also found the twine in the middle frame, marking the third time this season that Miami has scored four goals in one period and they outshout the ‘Cats 12-5.

But the third was quite a different story. The visitors seemingly took their collective foot off of the gas and the Wildcats came roaring back with three goals and outshot the RedHawks 12-4.

Game two from the Berry Events Center begins tonight at 7:35 PM. You can also listen to tonight’s action at this link and on 1450 WMOH-AM in the Hamilton/Oxford area.

Here is a link to the official website with a more comprehensive summary. Also, check out RedHawkey, an AWESOME Miami hockey blog for their thoughts on the weekend’s action.

Have a safe and Happy Halloween! Go RedHawks!

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>Knapp on Draft

>Cleaning out my spam e-mails today, I found a response from Connor Knapp on his reaction to being drafted by the Buffalo Sabres this past summer. Sorry it’s old, but I thought I’d share it!

Connor Knapp:

“I just think it is a great honor to be selected by the Buffalo Sabres. It is a great organization with a great history. Buffalo is also only an hour from my home town so it would be amazing to be able to play there one day. It still seems unreal because this is something that I have dreamed about for a long time. Getting drafted to the NHL has been one of my life long goals. However, getting drafted is only the beginning of a process. It will only mean something if a player works hard and takes advantage of it. Getting drafted to Buffalo is just a step in the right direction to the NHL. The draft was also a testament to Miami University Hockey. I do not believe that I have ever matured and improved as much as I did last season at Miami. The coaches, staff, and players create a perfect atmosphere for self improvement and development, both on and off the ice. I am excited to have the opportunity to excel with a great college hockey program, and now also to have a chance with a great professional team. I am looking forward to my future seasons at Miami and with the Buffalo Sabres organization.”

>Game No. 6

>On the night that Steve Cady was recognized for his induction into the Miami Athletic Hall of Fame, many of the Miami faithful realized how lucky they were to have such a man, along with his enormous contributions to the hockey program throughout the years. What they weren’t so lucky to have however, was a RedHawks win as No. 1 ranked Miami fell to Michigan State on Saturday night 3-2, in overtime.

The Spartans set the tempo quickly on this night, making solid passes and forechecking hard early on, but Miami eventually settled them down and began playing their own brand of hockey, putting good pressure on State’ goaltender Drew Palmisano on the power play and even strength. There were plenty of loose pucks for the RedHawks to bury and several scoring chances, but Palmisano, thinking Halloween was this weekend instead of next, did his best Jeff Lerg imitation and kept his team in it early. The Miami blueline was solid for most of the first, with only MSU Junior Corey Tropp taking exception to the RedHawks‘ stinginess. He broke in, made a few great dangles, and buried a wrist shot past Miami’s Connor Knapp at the 8:14 mark to put the Spartans on top, 1-0. Miami would have two more power play chances before the end of the first frame, but couldn’t light the lamp. A Trent Vogelhuber penalty late in the first would give MSU the man-advantage for the remainder of the period, putting the penalty killers to work, and Andy Miele cleared the zone to end the first and send the RedHawks to the dressing room trailing by one.

Michigan State wasted no time getting down to business in the second period, as Derek Grant fired yet another wrist shot past Knapp just :38 seconds in. It was a power play marker, MSU’s second of the night and it gave Sparty a 2-0 lead. It would be the only goal of the period. Spartan junior Dustin Gazley had a beautiful look at a break away in the second, but missed high. Like the first period, Miami had several scoring chances that went by the wayside. Several shots missed high, loose pucks were either corralled by Palmisano, or cleared out of harm’s way. The “puck luck” was scarce on Saturday.

But Miami battled back in the third. Halfway through the period, with the Red & White on the power play, Jarod Palmer carried into the zone along the half wall and made a great pass to a waiting Matt Tomassoni who lazered the one-timer from the right point into the Spartans’ goal, to pull Miami within one, at 2-1. It was Tomassoni’s third career goal, third of the season, and third in three games. Palmer’s assist was the 99th point of his career, putting him just one shy from joining the prestigious 100-point club.

The club welcomed member number 43 just 3:13 later…

More hard work by Andy Miele created the scoring chance, when he found Vincent LoVerde circling near the right post. LoVerde then fed the puck across the slot to Palmer who wristed the puck into a wide open left-side of the net, for his 100th career point and Miami had come back to tie the contest at two apiece. It was a beauty of a goal; and Palmer’s second point of the night. A Curtis McKenzie penalty for goaltender interference with 2:10 remaining in regulation made the game interesting, as did a scramble for the loose puck in the Miami crease. But the clear was made and the two teams would need overtime to decide this one.

In the OT period, Palmer and MSU’s Dustin Gazley were given coincidental minors for “extracurricular activities”, resulting in 4-on-4 action for both teams. But it was another great play that sealed the deal for the Spartans, as Andrew Rowe made two great dekes, one of which led to LoVerde’s over-committing, stepped up into the slot and buried the game winner, sending the sellout crowd of 3,642 to the aisles as Michigan State left the Cady Arena ice with an OT victory.

Munchables:

– Not to take anything away from Knapp’s ability, but at what point (if any) does Cody Reichard see game action on both Friday and Saturday nights? While we have a solid 1-1A tandem of ‘tenders, I personally think that Reichard has looked better than Knapp in his starts thus far. Just playing Devil’s Advocate here…

– Didn’t notice much out of Dean Chelios tonight. He played on the fourth line with Anthony Hayes and Kevin Walrod and only registered one shot.

– The penalty kill was 4/6 tonight and 10/13 on the weekend. The power play was 2/14 on the weekend, now 5/34 overall (14.7 %) and 10th in the CCHA.

– Not a fan of the (whatever they’re called) girls that clean up the ice during TV timeouts. They do this in the NHL and it drives me absolutely insane. Nitpicky, I know. But, I guess keeping people entertained is the main goal, anymore.

– One player that stood out to me was MSU’s Dustin Gazley. Almost reminded me of one Nino Musitelli. They’re roughly the same size, too. He skated on the second line, right side, with Daultan Levielle in the middle and Rowe on the left wing. The top two MSU lines were outstanding, as were their top d-pairing of Torey Krug and Jeff Petry, who finished with 7 blocked shots.

MSU Junior winger Corey Tropp is on a tear. He now has 6 goals and 6 assists in 6 games and leads the CCHA in scoring. Too many “6’s” for my liking, but an outstanding start to the season, nonetheless. Derek Grant is on a roll too, with 4 goals and 5 assists through the first 6 games.

– Drew Palmisano was solid all night. He played very well for his team. Miami didn’t see a whole lot of rebounds from him.

– Camper and Tomassoni had the most shots for either team on the night, with 8 and 5, respectively.

– Jarod Palmer is the current points leader, with 8 (3g, 5a), followed by Camper, Tommy Wingels, and Miele, who all have 7. Curtis McKenzie leads all frieshman in points with 5. Matt Tomassoni leads all defenseman with 3 points, all goals.

– Still believe that the McKenzie/Miele/Palmer line has been the most consistent for Miami all-season long. Love watching those guys play together in all situations.

– Miami travels to Marquette, Michigan next weekend to take on the Northern Michigan Wildcats.

>Miami Lines

>Vaive- Steffes- Smith
McKenzie- Miele- Palmer
R. Smith- Cannone- Vogelhuber
Hirschfeld- Camper- Wingels

Weber- Hartman
Schilling- Wideman
Tomassoni- LoVerde

Knapp

>Game No. 5

>From MURedHawks.com

The No. 1 Miami hockey team (4-0-1, 1-0-0-0 CCHA) remained undefeated Friday night at Steve Cady Arena, opening Central Collegiate Hockey Association play with 2-1 victory over Michigan State (3-2-0, 0-1-0-0 CCHA).

Cody Reichard was brilliant in goal, making 24 saves, including one on a penalty shot, and Tommy Wingels scored twice to lead the RedHawks to the victory.

“Cody made the save on the penalty shot, that was big,” head coach Enrico Blasi said. “He also made two subtle saves that I don’t know if people saw, one late in the second period and one in the third period, they look routine, but they were really big saves for us.”

The scoreless first period was highlighted by clean, hard defense on both sides of the ice with each team only committing one penalty apiece. Both netminders were strong in goal, turning away any scoring opportunity that made it through the defense.

Just 49 seconds into the second period, Reichard made two big saves to keep the game tied. Michigan State stole the puck near Miami’s blue line and passed ahead to Andrew Rowe who was racing down the ice for a breakaway. Miami defenseman Chris Wideman gave chase and got his stick on him, but Rowe was still able to take a hard shot.

“It was a really good shot he got off, it kind of surprised me,” Reichard said. He made the save, but Wideman was called for hooking on the play and Michigan State was awarded a penalty shot. On the penalty shot Reichard again came up big for the `Hawks, making the save.

“We practice that every Thursday, we do breakaways and penalty shots. We have a lot of skilled guys who have a lot of great moves, so I get a lot of practice,” Reichard said.

At 11:45 of the second period, Miami was finally able to break through the Michigan State defense while on a 5-on-3 power play. The RedHawks set up in the offensive zone and moved the puck around, trying to find an opening. Pat Cannone took a pass at the top of the right faceoff circle and sent a crossing pass to a wide-open Wingels at the top of the left faceoff circle. Wingels fired a one-timer past the Spartan goalie for his first goal of the game. Carter Camper earned the second assist.

Miami’s lead was short-lived however, as Michigan State was able to tie the game on a power play at 15:17 of the second period. The Spartans made a series of passes before taking a hard slap shot from the left side. Reichard made the save, but fell to his right. The puck deflected to the right side of the net and Michigan State’s Derek Grant was able to score on the rebound to make it 1-1.

In contrast to the lack of penalties in the first period, the teams combined for six power plays on nine penalties in the second period.

At 18:02 of the final period, Miami scored the go-ahead goal on a wrist shot by Wingels. Camper carried the puck into the offensive zone and drew the defense before leaving the puck for Wingels who was skating in behind him. Wingels shot the puck through traffic past the Michigan State goaltender for the game-winner.

>Spartans, Lay Down Your Arms

>These ain’t your father’s Spartans.

Okay, so maybe that reference is a bit of a stretch. Off to a hot start at 3-1-0, the Michigan State Spartans will look to plunder 6 points from Miami this weekend, but the MSU team that the RedHawks will host for the beginning of conference play is, at least through the first two weeks of the season, vastly different than last year’s platoon.

Last season was atypical in every way for Rick Comely’s program. A slew of injuries and several off the ice issues led to a poor on ice performance and an embarrassing season for one of the nation’s more respectable programs. The Spartans were near to last in several NCAA categories, including offense (1.63 goals per game, 57th/58 NCAA teams), defense (3.21 goals allowed, 46th/58), and power play percentage (11.0 %, 55th/58). Just two years removed from a Division-1 NCAA Championship, Michigan State finished 10th in the CCHA (after being picked to finish 3rd in the pre-season coaches’ poll), with a 10-23-5 overall record, the school’s worst showing since the 1977-1978 season, when the team finished 7-27-2 under legendary head coach Amo Bessone. They weren’t even in the CCHA yet.

But that was then and this is now.

Gone from the program is diminutive goaltender Jeff Lerg, an outstanding netminder who owns more awards and records than Snoop Dogg. The pipes now belong to Drew Palmasino, a sophomore with a 2-1 record and a 2.61 GAA coming into this weekend’s action. Also gone is last season’s leading scorer, Matt Schepke, a winger that tallied 24 points for the Green & White last year. He was the only Spartan to hit the double-digit mark in goals (14) and one of two in assists (10). Sophomore Daultan Leveille, a highly regarded Atlanta Thrashers’ prospect who was second in scoring last season, is back too. MSU also has a solid crop of freshmen, including Dean Chelios, son of NHL great and current Chicago Wolf, Chris Chelios.

Expect the firepower this weekend from MSU, too. Junior Corey Tropp and freshman Derek Grant rank first and fourth respectively in NCAA scoring. Tropp has 5 goals, 4 assists for a total of 9 points in the first four games and Grant has 2 goals, 5 assists for points through the first two weekends. Yikes. The Spartans are tied for third in the country in team offense (scoring 4.50 goals per game) and own the nation’s second best power play at 28.6%.

Miami (3-0-1) has won six of the last eight meetings with the Spartans (including three of four last season), but still trails 66-25-5 in the all-time series. With a great MSU power play and a superb Miami penalty kill, special teams will be where the game is won or lost and will play large this weekend. All signs point to two exciting matchups at the Cady, starting Friday night at 7:05pm, with Saturday night’s action beginning at 8:05pm.

Both games will be televised by ONN, with “Diamond” Dave Allen and Neil Sika calling the action. Saturday night’s contest will also be televised by Comcast Local.

>Chat with Reichard, Roeder Recalled, & More

>- The RedHawks are once again number one in all the major polls. After a 1-0-1 weekend at New Hampshire, Miami wrangled in 46 of the 50 first place votes to hold down the top spot. North Dakota is second and Boston University checks in at number three. (Keep your eye on the November matchup with North Dakota). Through the first two weekends of a very tough October schedule (yes, I know it’s early), I certainly see a confidence in this year’s Miami team, a squad that I truly believe has put last season’s National Championship game behind them. It’s not a cockiness, but a confidence, which can, and likely will, take this team places. The talent is there. The depth is there. These guys are out to prove that they’re number one for a reason and they’re hungry for a National Title. This finally could be the year, RedHawk fans.

– (Shameless plug alert: follow the Miami Hockey Blog on Twitter @muhockeyblog. I may post things on there that I don’t have time to put on the page here.)

– Cody Reichard will be joining MURedHawks.com on Wednesday at 11:30 am for an online chat. You can submit questions and follow tomorrow’s chat by clicking here.

– Defenseman Matt Tomassoni has been named the CCHA Defensive Player of the Week. Tomassoni scored his first two career goals on Friday and Saturday night respectively and finished the weekend with a +4 rating.

-The Miami Athletic Department has put out a great promotional video for their “Make It Red” campaign. You can see that at this link. Pretty cool, as the video shows Carter Camper’s OT game winner against St. Cloud, with the call provided by Greg Waddell.

– For those that didn’t know yet, former RedHawk defenseman Kevin Roeder has been recalled by AHL Syracuse, after playing just one game with the Cincinnati Cyclones (chipping in one assist.) His first chance to skate with the Crunch will be on Friday night, as Syracuse hosts Binghamton at 7:30 PM ET. Roeder will wear jersey # 29.

– Greg Hogeboom has made a return to North American hockey. After spending the past two seasons in the Swiss-B league, the once highly regarded LA Kings prospect is now playing for the ECHL’s Ontario Reign. In two games, Hogeboom has three goals and one assist. Injuries caused quite a setback to his pro career, causing him to play (and do very well) in the ECHL, a lot more than a player of his skillset would have liked. As a 2004 Miami graduate, he registered 65 goals and 55 assists and did not miss a game in his four season RedHawk career.

>Game No. 4

>Crazy one tonight, as the RedHawks and Wildcats skate to a 5-5 tie in Durham, New Hampshire. Miami controlled the third and overtime periods, to no avail. Below is a link to the game sheet, which I’ll let you, the reader, decipher. Nine goals were scored in the second period, four of which were Miami’s. Taking a win and a tie against solid competition on the road is “ok” with me any weekend. Now, for the breakdown:

Game Sheet

– Penalties KILLED the RedHawks in the second period, which led to UNH gaining momentum and capitalizing on it.

The Wildcat goals came at 7:56 and 9:04 and were scored 5 on 3 and 5 on 4, respectively. Blake Kessel, younger brother of Toronto Maple Leafs’ Center Phil Kessel, would add his second of the night a little more than a minute later to make it 5-3. Having not seen the game, it’s hard to know if these calls were “exaggerated” or if Miami fell apart and took some really bad penalties. Regardless, it led to Connor Knapp’s placement on the bench. I also don’t know if you can hang this one on him, or the defense, or whomever, but he didn’t get much help from the PK midway through the second.

– Penalty kill is still doing very well though, having killed off 21 of 23 disadvantages on the season. The power play is 3 for 20, after an 0-7 showing on Saturday night.

– Jarod Palmer is two points away from joining the 100-Point Club.

– Tommy Wingels had an assist tonight, giving him a four-point weekend.

– Cody Reichard is playing very well. The sophomore held the Wildcats scoreless for 34:52 after Knapp was pulled.

– Good to see the increased offensive production this weekend…11 goals were scored, compared to five against St. Cloud last weekend.

Clicking here will take you to view highlights from Friday night’s action at New Hampshire.

– The RedHawks open up conference play next Friday night in Oxford against Michigan State. More on that in the coming week.

>Game No. 3

>Miami 6 (3-0-0)
New Hampshire 3 (0-2-0)

First Period Miami Goals

4:01: Cameron Schilling (1) from Curtis McKenzie(1) and Andy Miele (4). The goal marks Schilling’s first in a Miami uniform!

13:55: Matt Tomassoni (1) from Steve Mason (1) and Justin Vaive (1). That is also Tomassoni’s first goal as a RedHawk and the first career point for Mason.

Second Period Miami Goals

7:19: Alden Hirschfeld (1) from Tommy Wingels (2) and Will Weber (2)

10:10: Jarod Palmer (2) from McKenzie (2) and Joe Hartman (1), this was the game winning goal.

14:59: Carter Camper (2) from Wingels (3) and Weber (3), a power play goal.

16:38: Camper (3) from Wingels (4) and Cody Reichard (1). Reichard’s assist was his first career point as well.

– Miami scratches tonight were Dane Hetland, Brandon Smith, Devin Mantha, Garrett Kennedy, and Steve Spinell.

– The penalty kill was 5/5 and is now 15/15 on the season. The power play was 1/4 on Friday night (3/13 on the season), with Camper potting the lone goal.

– Camper now has 87 points on his quest to reach the Miami 100 point club.

>Miami/UNH Preview

>Great preview for this weekend’s series from Mike (aka Soze) over at Jackets Required. It’s a great new blog and hopefully, we’ll be lucky enough to have him contribute here as well. Enjoy!

Talk about two teams with a Terrier problem…

When most of the nation last saw New Hampshire in the 2009 NCAA Tournament, they’ll likely recall the shocking image of Boston University’s Jason Lawrence scoring a game-winning goal after it was redirected by a Wildcat defenseman past UNH goaltender Brian Foster. Lawrence’s goal, with less than 15 seconds remaining in regulation, lifted BU to a 2-1 victory and earned them a trip to the Frozen Four. Of course, UNH had engineered their own late game heroics by scoring with 0.1 seconds remaining to force overtime against North Dakota in their first round game and this year’s captain, senior Peter LeBlanc, won it with a one-timer just 45 seconds into the extra frame.

Then, there’s Miami.

After defeating Denver, Minnesota-Duluth and Bemidji State to earn a bid in the school’s first ever national championship game in any sport, Miami endured the final inconceivable comeback during a tournament filled with last second heroics. Unfortunately for Miami, they were on the losing end when the Boston University Terriers rallied for two goals in the last minute of regulation to tie the game, and of course they went on to claim the 5th national title in school history by defeating Miami 4-3 in overtime.

Something tells me the fan bases of the two schools could commiserate over an adult beverage about their disdain for BU’s amazing comebacks. But, that will have to wait for there is hockey to be played in Durham, N.H. this weekend as the #1 ranked Miami RedHawks travel to take on the New Hampshire Wildcats at the Whittemore Center. Faceoff is scheduled for 7pm tonight and tomorrow on the Olympic sized ice surface.

Entering play tonight, Miami is 3-4 all-time against the Wildcats. The schools last met in the first round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament with Miami snatching a 2-1 victory over the #1 seeded, 5th ranked Wildcats. Today, Miami enters as the unanimous #1 team in all 3 major polls after sweeping a two-game series in Oxford against St. Cloud State of the WCHA.

Miami returns 8 of their top 10 scorers, both goaltenders and five of their top 6 defensemen from last year’s national runners-up so another run at the Frozen Four is a definite possibility. Junior Tommy Wingels (Wilmette, Ill.) has been named captain after his tremendous run during the national tournament not only showing great scoring ability, but great leadership in the face of the difficult championship game loss as well. However, the RedHawks have not officially named any assistants to this point.

Last Friday, Miami got 22 saves from sophomore goaltender Cody Reichard (Celina, Ohio) to escape with a 3-2 overtime win. Freshman Curtis McKenzie (Golden, B.C.) and junior Pat Cannone (Bayport, N.Y.) scored in regulation before junior Carter Camper (Rocky River, Ohio) buried the gamewinner at 1:52 of overtime. This game featured a lot of first game mistakes, lack of flow and some WCHA chippiness with both teams entering into several scrums around the boards.

On Saturday night, the RedHawks limited St. Cloud to just 20 shots on goal enabling sophomore goaltender Connor Knapp (York, N.Y.) to register his third career shutout. Goals just 20 seconds apart in the 3rd period from senior Jarod Palmer (Fridley, Minn.) and freshman Devin Mantha (Ann Arbor, Mich.) were all the offense needed as Miami reverted to their strong puck possession play limiting the Huskies chances throughout the night.

Head coach Enrico Blasi (Miami ’94) praised the defensive effort of his team to lift Miami to Saturday night’s win.

“It’s always been one of our strong suits and it will need to continue to be,” he said. “We blocked a lot of shots. Our defense was real aggressive and when we did break down, Connor was there.”

New Hampshire returns three key forwards who scored more than 30 points last year in Mike Sislo (19-12—31), Peter LeBlanc (14-16—30) and Bobby Butler (9-21—30) to a team expected to finish no higher than fourth in Hockey East. This group will have to be even better this year to offset the loss of 17 goals and 40 points from James van Riemsdyk who signed with the Philadelphia Flyers shortly after the end of last season. But, the biggest returnee is likely to be goaltender Brian Foster upon whom Coach Dick Umile (New Hampshire ’72) expects to lean heavily during the season’s outset.

Said Umile, “We’re going to need him early on. If you look at our schedule, we’ve got Miami coming in and us going west to play Wisconsin. He’s going to have to play solid until our younger guys get their feet wet and find out what their role truly is.”

The younger guys Umile refers to reside mainly on the blueline for the Wildcats where they return just two experienced defensemen in Blake Kessel and Nick Krates and lost 42 points and valuable minutes from three departed senior defensemen. Kessel, the younger brother of Toronto Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel, is expected to carry much of the offensive load from the blueline and quarterback the Wildcats powerplay while UNH hopes to get quality minutes from junior Matt Campanale and sophomore Damon Kipp, who have played sparingly, and freshmen Connor Hardowa and Brett Kostolansky.

Last weekend, New Hampshire stumbled to an opening 3-1 loss at RPI from the ECAC. Despite 38 shots on net and a powerplay goal from senior forward Bobby Butler, the Wildcats struggled to score and dropped their first opener in nine years. They will have to find a way to get more offensive support against a Miami team that prides itself on team defense and shutting down the opposition.

Expect Miami to play both goaltenders again this weekend as Blasi has already said the rotation will continue throughout the early part of the season to keep both netminders sharp and to encourage competition.

Fearless predictions —

New Hampshire is still a quality opponent and Miami will be offering the opposition for their home opening weekend. However, if Miami plays the way they did Saturday night against St. Cloud, and uses the larger ice surface of the Whittemore Center the way they did in Minneapolis during last spring’s NCAA Tournament, then a sweep is quite likely. Miami can roll four lines and is incredibly deep. On paper at least, it would appear that UNH is not quite as deep as in past years and may have difficulty with Miami’s big, physical defensemen. All that said, I think Miami sweeps but would not be surprised to see a weekend split.

Friday
Miami 3
UNH 1

Saturday
Miami 3
UNH 1