>Game No. 2
>The fast paced, physical brand of hockey continued on Saturday night in Oxford, Ohio, in a game that saw the Miami RedHawks sweep the St. Cloud State Huskies, with a 2-0 victory over their WCHA opponent.
The first period was, for the most part, a stalemate. If one had to provide a decision (ala boxing), Miami would own the advantage. Gritty board play was the rule, rather than the exception and much of the first was played in the neutral zone. St. Cloud appeared to have trouble setting up the power play, as the Miami penalty kill was running on all cylinders tonight (and last night, for that matter). Pat Cannone had a great chance to give Miami an early lead, but couldn’t settle the bouncing puck. He had three quarters of the net open for his choosing. Miami’s cycle work on the power play was good, too. St. Cloud did a good job of clearing; looked to me like the RedHawks were looking for the centering pass. Miami’s stickhandling is so good, it’s unreal. Guys like Miele, Palmer, Camper, etc. etc. could play just as well with their stick upside down.
In the second, things were still evenly matched. It sounds cliche to say, but this was a well played game by both teams. Both goaltenders were good, as well. St. Cloud freshman sensation Mike Lee didn’t make any “incredible saves,” but neither did Miami’s Connor Knapp for that matter. Both guys were just solid. Can’t fault Lee for the loss. They were simply good shots. The physicality picked up in the second as well. After a “discussion” of sorts (discussion meaning as close to a fight as you can get in college hockey) Cameron Schilling and Curtis McKenzie were given 2 minute minors for roughing after the whistle. The same went for St. Cloud State, as Garrett Raboin and Drew LeBlanc got the gate for the same offense. The Huskies came out with a power play however, as the minors came after a delayed Miami penalty on Jarod Palmer. The visitors were unable to capitalize in the final fifteen seconds of the period and each team took it’s share of a scoreless game into the dressing room for the second intermission.
The post-whistle action may have just been the turning point of the game. The RedHawks seemed to have been energized for the third period as it was still (yes, you guessed it) an evenly matched game. The two schools matched intensity and lines for most of the weekend, but the deadlock was broken at the 5:42 mark, as Andy Miele took a Reily Smith pass in the right corner and made a pretty feed to a waiting Jarod Palmer, who buried the one-timer past Lee and gave Miami a 1-0 lead.
The Cady, she was a rockin’.
Admittedly, I didn’t see the second goal. I was taking notes on Palmer’s goal from my seat in Section 5 and everyone was still standing. I of course, happened to be sitting. Learned my lesson there, but it was freshman Devin Mantha who fired a wrister from the left circle over Lee’s trapper to put the RedHawks on top, 2-0. Mantha’s goal, his first in a Miami uniform, was twenty seconds apart from Palmer’s; Miele and Will Weber were credited with assists.
The Cady, she was a rockin’ even louder.
After a St. Cloud time out, Lee was pulled in favor of an extra attacker, to no avail, and that’s the way it would end. Miami completes the sweep and begins the 2009-10 campaign, 2-0.
– More line mixing tonight. Justin Vaive moved up to the top line early on and the mixing and matching continued throughout most of the game. Defensive pairs remained untouched.
– When kept together, I thought once again that the McKenzie-Miele-Palmer line was the best one on the ice. McKenzie is going to be a fun player to watch. He was part of the fracas at the end of the second period and was quick to get in his opponent’s face when Knapp was sprayed after freezing the puck. Think of Jarod Palmer…how he likes to mix it up. That was C-Mac tonight; was very impressed with that young man this weekend.
– My three stars on the night: Andy Miele, Curtis McKenzie, Jarod Palmer. Knapp would be 3 1/2. Not to sound like a homer, but EVERYONE on the ice played their you know whats’ off tonight. They’re quick, they finish checks, they provide good support in both zones. It’s going to be a great season.
– The Miami penalty kill was a perfect 10/10 this weekend. The power play was 2 for 9.
– Knapp was solid tonight. He didn’t have much traffic in front of him most of the night, but he did a good job of getting rebounds kicked out to his defensemen to clear the zone. He did however, make a beautiful glove save on an Oliver Lauridsen shot from the left point. It was the kind of save that made the Danish defender look to the Heavens as if to ask “why?” If Cody Reichard and Knapp continue the solid play on their respective nights this season…look out. Both guys were superb this weekend. The shutout tonight was the third of Knapp’s Miami career.
– Thought Will Weber looked a bit rusty. He got caught not moving his feet in the first period and took an interference penalty. Looked generally out of position at times. Not to “slam” his play at all. Still looks, to me, like the raw player we saw last year. He’ll need time to develop.
– 19 penalties were called in this game and the teams’ had a combined 9 power plays. Lots of coincidental penalties, eh?
– All of Miami’s goals this weekend came in the second and third periods, or overtime.
– Andy Miele leads the ‘Hawks after the opening weekend with three points, all assists, followed by Carter Camper (1g, 1a) and Jarod Palmer (1g, 1a).
– Sweet Caroline, BA BA BAAAAAAAA.
– Matt Tomassoni threw some big hits tonight. Gotta love that. We won’t discuss the undisciplined roughing after the whitsle penalty he took in the second period though, but such was the tempo of the game. Can’t fault a guy for mixing it up. It’s hockey after all, not basketball.
– The RedHawks travel to New Hampshire next weekend, to take on the Wildcats in Durham. Bob Norton has already penciled the Red & White in at 2-2.