>RedHawks Head East: The Game Notes

>Miami (2-0-0) vs. New Hampshire (0-1-0)
Friday, Oct. 16 • 7:05 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 17 • 7:05 p.m.
Whittemore Center • Durham, N.H.

Miami hits the road for the first time in 2009-10 when it travels to New Hampshire for a weekend series with the Wildcats. Face off both nights is at 7:05 p.m.

The RedHawks opened the season Friday and Saturday with a sweep of No. 13/15 St. Cloud State at Steve Cady Arena. In the opener, Carter Camper scored 1:52 into overtime to lift Miami to a 3-2 victory. On Saturday, Jarod Palmer and Devin Mantha scored goals 20 seconds apart and Connor Knapp made 22 saves for a 2-0 win.

New Hampshire saw its streak of eight straight season-opening wins come to an end with a 3-1 loss at Rensselaer. After falling behind 1-0, the Wildcats evened the game before allowing a pair of third-period goals.

Enrico Blasi is in his 11th season behind the RedHawk bench, holding a 211-151-33 career record. He is a three-time CCHA Coach of the Year selection and was named National Coach of the Year in 2005-06.

Dick Umile, a five-time Hockey East Coach of the Year, enters his 20th season as the head coach of the UNH Wildcats. He is sixth on the active coaches win list with a mark of 444-221-71.

New Hampshire leads the all-time series with a 4-3-0 record, but the last meeting was resulted in one of the biggest wins in Miami’s school history. The teams’ first two matchups were part of tournaments during the 1993-94 and 1997-98 seasons, with Miami winning both. UNH won the next four games from 1998 to 2003, including the only two games played in Durham, before the NCAA Tournament meeting.

Miami became the unanimous No. 1 team in the nation on Tuesday when the RedHawks were listed as the top team in the USCHO.com/CBS College Sports poll. On Monday, the RedHawks retained its No. 1 ranking in the USA Today/USA Hockey poll, while being listed atop the first INCH Power Ratings.

Miami stands 2-0 for the second time in four years, but only the fourth time in Enrico Blasi’s 11 seasons. His other top starts are 8-0 (in 2006-07), 4-0 and 3-0. Since 2005-06, Miami’s ice hockey team has the best winning percentage among all 58 Division I teams at .693. Miami was perfect on penalty kills over the weekend, flighting off all 10 man-advantage situations by St. Cloud State. In 2008-09, the RedHawks led the nation in penalty kills with a success rate of .897. Five different RedHawks scored goals over the weekend, including freshmen Curtis McKenzie and Devin Mantha. Eleven of Miami’s 20 skaters have tallied at least one point over the first two games.

New Hampshire has won four of the seven meetings all time, but Miami snapped a four-game losing skid — and won its first-ever NCAA Tournament game — in the last matchup.

A detailed breakdown of the previous meetings:
Nov. 28, 1993 W, 6-2 N1
Dec. 28, 1997 W, 4-2 N2
Oct. 23, 1998 L, 4-1 A
Oct. 21, 2000 L, 7-2 A
Dec. 20, 2003 L, 3-1 N3
March 24, 2007 W, 2-1 N4

Enrico Blasi holds a 1-2-0 record all-time against New Hampshire, including 0-1 in Durham. The other two games have taken place at neutral sites.

Miami is off to a 2-0 start for the second time in three years and just the fourth time in 11 seasons. The RedHawks opened 2007-08 with eight straight wins, while Blasi’s other fast starts include four wins in 2003-04 and three wins in 2002-03.

Special-teams play was a big factor in the RedHawks’ success in 2008-09 and this year has started no different. Miami successfully killed off all 10 penalties it received against St. Cloud State, five in each game. A year ago, the RedHawks led the nation in penalty kills, turning in a success rate of 89.7 percent (208/232).

On the other side, Miami converted two of nine power plays for a 22.2 percent rate, almost four percentage points higher than last year.

Miami returned to its standard goaltender rotation for the weekend, starting Cody Reichard on Friday and Connor Knapp on Saturday. Together, they stopped 42 of 44 shots (.955 percentage) and combined for a 0.98 goals-against average. Reichard improved to 11-8-2 in his career, while Knapp now stands 14-5-3 after his third career shutout.

A pair of freshmen earned their first career goals over the weekend.Curtis McKenzie opened the scoring on Friday night when he put back a rebound in the second period. One night later, after being scratched for the opener,Devin Mantha converted a wrist shot in his first collegiate appearance. Another freshman, Reilly Smith, broke a scoreless tie with his goal in the exhibition game.

In addition to the goal scorers and Smith, two other freshmen made their first appearances last weekend. Joe Hartman and Steven Spinell also saw their first collegiate action against St. Cloud State.

Since 2005-06, Miami’s ice hockey team has the best winning percentage among all 58 Division I teams. Over the last four-plus seasons, the RedHawks have compiled a record of 105-44-14 (.693), just ahead of Michigan, which has a record of 109-47-10 (.685) since 2005-06.

Miami’s two goals on Saturday night came just 20 seconds apart at 5:22 and 5:42 of the third period. The school record for fastest pair of goals in 11 seconds.

Miami’s four seniors were all members of the 2006-07 team that faced New Hampshire in the NCAA Tournament. Gary Steffes had two shots and took a two-minute penalty, while Jarod Palmer and Dane Hetland only took shots (two and one, respectively). Brandon Smith was a scratch for the contest.


Posted on October 16, 2009, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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