>It’s finally here.
With the RedHawks kicking off the 2009-2010 season tomorrow night against Windsor (albeit an exhibition), here are a few things to keep an eye on for the upcoming campaign. Feel free to add more of your thoughts in the comments section.
Given the way that Coach Blasi likes to divvy up the the goaltending duties, will Miami have a solidified number one ‘tender this season? In somewhat of a surprise move last season, Blasi gave the reigns to Cody Reichard for the NCAA tournament. It paid off. Will we see more of Reichard this season? Is confidence an issue perhaps, even though he now has that “big game expierience”? Will Connor Knapp’s recent knee injury (although not serious) stunt his development or limit his time in net? As we all know, Knapp has impressive mobility for his size and a wicked glove hand. Competition breeds excellence. Who will step up?
Chris Wideman’s work last season was very impressive, as he led the ‘Hawks in assists with 26. Stepping in to quarterback a Division I powerplay as a freshman is undoubetly no easy task, but he proved worthy to the task. To what extent can the RedHawks continue this success with a man advantage? How will the newcomers to the blueline transition their games to the college level? There are big shoes to fill with the loss of Kevin Roeder, but there is some great talent coming in. Like the situation in net, who will step up and take that role? Another player to watch is Will Weber. As a freshman last season, Weber posessed a large amount of raw talent. How will his game improve? Miami also has a solid group of sophomore defenseman. Guys like Schilling, Tomassoni join Weber on that corps. Their development is something to keep an eye on.
Two words. Carter Camper. Okay, maybe two more. Pat Cannone. Oh…and Andy Miele. Well, we’re up to six now, but the core of the offense is hinged on these three guys. Sans Justin Mercier this season, can Miami fans expect to see a jump in performance from these top three scorers? Dangerous on the power play and receiving some early Hobey Baker attention, Camper will look to improve on his team best twenty goal season from a year ago, as he inches his way into the 100-point club. Cannone and Miele are big point producers too, finishing behind Camper for second and third in total points, respectively. Who will be the next offensive standout from a talented group of freshmen?
No doubt new captain Tommy Wingels has learned from the best. While not having crossed paths with former captain Andy Greene, there was one man who did- Ryan Jones. We all know that Greene was a great leader and posessed traits that molded Ryan Jones into a great captain, which poses the question- how will Wingels lead the team who holds the preseason number one ranking in the country? There is a lot of pressure that comes with the letter “C” sewn on the sweater; how does he mold himself into model captain? How will other guys like Vaive, Steffes, and LoVerde mentor the newcomers? There are a lot of watchful eyes on the RedHawks this season. How does the team, as a whole, deal with the pressure of being a national contender and making a trip to Detroit in April?
Is this the year Miami finally captures a Mason Cup? A National Championship?
How does Miami handle a tough schedule early on in the season? St. Cloud, New Hampshire, Michigan State, Northern Michigan, and Michigan right out of the gun provides an intriguing challenge. Will the dreaded post holiday swoon be avoided this season?