Monthly Archives: February 2011

>Miele, LoVerde Named CCHA Players of the Week

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Farmington Hills, Mich. – Seniors Andy Miele and Vincent LoVerde were named the CCHA’s Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week, respectively.

Coming off a sweep of the Lake Superior State Lakers where the offense exploded for 12 goals and the defense surrendered only two, it’s not entirely surprising to see the RedHawks place two on the season’s final weekly award list.

For Miele, the nation’s leading scorer, it’s the third time he’s won the award this season. The senior assistant captain has recorded a point in 13 consecutive games and became the first RedHawk to surpass 60 points in a single season since 1996-97 when Randy Robitaille had 27-34-61 in his second, and final, season with Miami. Miele has a line of 19-42-61 for the year.

Senior Vincent LoVerde concluded his final regular campaign by capturing the CCHA’s Defensive Player of the Week award for the first time in his career. The rugged defenseman from Chicago has been a rock of consistency for Miami, and along with Will Weber and Joe Hartman, is a big reason why Miami once again led the CCHA in fewest goals against.

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>Miami 8th in USCHO Poll

>Oxford, Ohio – On the strength of their sweep of Lake Superior State, the Miami RedHawks have moved to 8th in this week’s USCHO.com poll. And, with their 9-game unbeaten streak intact, the RedHawks have moved up to a tie for 9th in the PairWise rankings that largely determine the field of 16 for the NCAA Tournament.

With a first round bye in the CCHA conference tournament, the RedHawks await the winner of a best-of-three series this weekend. If all the upper seeds hold, Miami would host Walt Kyle’s Northern Michigan Wildcats in another best-of-three series for the right to go to Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Mich. to battle for the Mason Cup.

Earlier this season, Miami swept Northern Michigan in Oxford by scores of 4-0 and 9-1. That series was marred by the injury to junior defenseman Will Weber who was inadvertently cut in the neck by the skate of Wildcat captain Phil Fox when the two came together in the corner. Weber, of course, returned only a few weeks later and is the reigning CCHA Defensive Defenseman of the Year and is a stalwart of the Miami defense which allowed the fewest goals of any CCHA squad.

>RedHawks Blast Lakers

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Andy Miele with Three Points as Miami Rolls 8-1

Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The #11 Miami RedHawks took care of business in a big way defeating the Lake Superior State Lakers 8-1 on Friday night. Eight RedHawks notched multiple-point games with senior captain Carter Camper and his classmate Justin Vaive each tallying two goals. National points leader and Hobey Baker candidate Andy Miele had yet another stellar game as he recorded a goal and two assists bringing his season totals to 18-41-59 with one game to play in the regular season. Meanwhile, Camper is “just” the nation’s third leading scorer and his two goals brought his tremendous senior campaign numbers to 17-32-49.

While the offense was humming, junior netminder Cody Reichard was solid in recording his 12th win and continued his stellar second half play. Reichard is making a bid to be the #1 goaltender down the stretch for Miami. Since December 29, Reichard has allowed three or more goals just twice (at MSU 1/21, vs. WMU 2/11) and is 6-1-2 during that stretch including a shutout of Michigan. In fact, Reichard has allowed one goal or less in six of nine starts and is playing his best hockey of the year. For the season, Reichard is 12-4-2 with a 2.11 goals against average and a .910 save percentage. With the victory, Miami has moved into a tie for 7th in the PairWise rankings. Here’s a rundown on the scores that helped boost Miami last night.

  • Fairbanks over Anchorage – Dropped the weak Seawolves from TUC status pulling some inflated numbers down for WCHA teams (can’t say that too often) such as Duluth and Denver who were 2-0 and 3-0-1 respectively against UAA.
  • CC over Duluth – Second time the Bulldogs are mentioned. Miami jumped them last night as a result of their loss and the Nanooks win (above).
  • SCSU over Wisconsin – Miami’s 1-1-1 record against the Huskies is currently better than Wisconsin’s (0-1) flipping a comparison.
  • Ferris over Ohio St. – Miami’s 0-2 record against the Buckeyes doesn’t hurt as much when they drop from TUC status. We’ll be rooting for OSU to lose in their first round CCHA series – for more than one reason.
  • Quinnipiac ties Union – Miami jumped the Dutchmen (didn’t even have to look up Union’s mascot — though I did double check) as a result.

It will be interesting to watch as things change over the coming few weeks.

>#11 Miami at Lake Superior State

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Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – Tonight the #11 Miami RedHawks (17-9-6, 14-7-5-2 CCHA) begin their final series of the regular season as they visit the Lake Superior State Lakers (10-13-9, 8-10-8-5 CCHA) at Taffy Abel Arena. Five Miami seniors will be playing in their final regular season tilts, and with a solid weekend, can place themselves in position to make a run in the CCHA tournament, and possibly, the NCAA tournament.

The Lakers enter the series vying for a first round bye in the CCHA tournament currently sitting just four points behind Western Michigan for fourth and three points behind Ferris State who took two points from Ohio State last night with a shootout victory.

Conversely, Miami has already locked up third place though a tie for second place is still possible pending the outcome of the Michigan/Northern Michigan series in Marquette. Realistically, Miami is locked into third (they cannot drop to fourth) and will earn another first round bye in the CCHA tournament which begins next weekend.

However, the RedHawks are tied for 11th in the PairWise rankings so these games are meaningful for Miami. Coming off a late bye week, they need to extend their seven game unbeaten streak to solidify their national standing. In fact, since an ugly 7-4 loss to Michigan State on January 21, Miami is 4-0-3 climbing from 16th in the PairWise to 11th. And, should the next few nights of national play favor Miami, they could easily find themselves in contention for a #2 seed in the NCAA tournament by the completion of the weekend.

Notes:

· Though trailing the all-time series by a hefty 54-35-11 margin, Miami is 7-0-1 against the Lakers since the 2007-08 season

· Miami has won their last three games in Sault Ste. Marie

· In national play, here are a few teams I believe Miami should be rooting for:

o Ferris State (over Ohio State)

o Northern Michigan (over Michigan)

o Western Michigan (over Notre Dame)

o Quinnipiac (over Union)

o St. Lawrence (over Dartmouth)

o SCSU (over Wisconsin)

o Denver (over UNO)

o Princeton (over RPI)

>Weekend Roundup

>February 21, 2011

Oxford, Ohio – After their bye week, the Miami RedHawks find themselves tied for 11th in the PairWise rankings and have secured a bye and home ice in the second round of the CCHA playoffs.

The RedHawks, currently in third place in the CCHA, can finish no worse than third and no higher than a tie for second. With Notre Dame’s sweep of Ferris State, Miami was mathematically eliminated and cannot repeat as CCHA regular season champions. And, the only way Miami finishes tied with Michigan for second place is if the Wolverines are swept by Northern Michigan in Marquette and Miami sweeps Lake Superior State in Sault Ste. Marie.

Assuming Miami finishes third, and if the season ended today and all the higher seeds win their first round playoff series, the RedHawks would host Ferris State in Oxford March 11-13 in a best 2-of-3 matchup. That’s a lot to assume, but it’s interesting to see that Miami would face the Bulldogs who have been hard on the RedHawks over the past several years. Though Miami won last year’s season series 3-0-2, Miami is just 3-3-4 against the Bulldogs since 2007-08 including 0-1-1 this year. Miami has had a difficult time beating the Ferris State defensive system that, for lack of a better description, simply packs four men in front of senior goaltender Pat Nagle and forces teams to take low percentage point shots. If Miami faces Ferris State again, it will be critical that Miami move the puck from side to side. They won’t be able to rely on puck possession and simply carrying the puck toward the net. The Bulldogs defense collapses too quickly on puck carriers.

But, that’s still a few weeks away. Miami needs to take care of business against Lake Superior State this week, rest up during their second bye in three weeks and be ready on March 11 for whomever they face. The RedHawks need to win the next four games to be more assured of an NCAA tournament berth. A nicely rested, and hopefully healthy, RedHawks team should be more than ready to go.

>Miami Moves to 8th in PairWise

>Oxford, Ohio – Though idle this weekend, the Friday night results helped Miami improve to a tie for 8th place in the PairWise rankings that largely determine the field of 16 for the NCAA Tournament.

Miami has climbed from 16th to 8th in the span of three weekends and if the season ended today, they would claim a #2 seed in the tournament.

Here’s a link to College Hockey News‘ Friday night roundup.

The one game that’s not yet included at this time is the Denver/Michigan Tech game. Tech was 0-23-2 in their past 25 games and on the strength of two shorthanded goals, the Huskies knocked off the #4 team in the nation much to the chagrin of the “Dasher Dancer,” former Miami head coach, George Gwozdecky. Final from Denver…3-2.

The Pioneers are quickly playing themselves out of a WCHA regular season title as well as a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Something tells me Denver will come out motivated tomorrow night.

Note: As the rankings are calculated and additional results come in, the PairWise rankings are fluid. As of posting, Miami was tied for eighth but that could change as additional computations are completed.

>Miele Heads INCH’s Hobey "Big Board"

>February 17, 2011

Oxford, Ohio – Miami senior assistant captain Andy Miele headlines this week’s Hobey Tracker “Big Board” at Inside College Hockey. Editors Mike Eidelbes and Joe Gladziszewski offer a weekly take on the leading candidates and darkhorses for college hockey’s “Heisman” and Miele is a clear candidate with his play so far this year.

Miele, a native of Gross Pointe Woods, Mich., is the nation’s leading scorer with 17-39-56 and has been a dominant force in Miami’s puck possession system for the past several years. But, this season he’s ratcheted up his scoring prowess and is finding RedHawk skaters all over the ice leading to great scoring chances. When Miele wants, he can simply take over a game.

Though Miami has had several all-Americans and conference players of the year, should Miele win the Hobey Baker Award, he would become the first Miami athlete to win his sport’s most prestigious award.

The #10 RedHawks are off this week, but return to action in the regular season’s final weekend at Lake Superior State on February 25-26.

>Student Design Contest Winner Named

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Miami’s Alternate Jersey for 2011-12 Unveiled


Note: For some reason, the image is appearing blurry,
but if you click on it, it magically becomes clear.


February 15, 2011

Oxford, Ohio – Yesterday, Miami University sophomore Chris Pratt, was named the winner of the 2011 RedHawks Hockey Jersey Design Contest. The white sweater, to be worn mainly for home games, features the return of the RedHawk logo as the centerpiece of the design for the first time since 2004. Additionally, the new alternate uniform includes red stripe patterns and white numerals reminiscent of Miami jerseys of the past few years and a lace-up collar.

“I looked at a bunch of different jerseys to try and get an idea for what I wanted to do and combined various elements of the jerseys I liked. The jersey got the most influence from the 1927 Toronto Maple Leafs’ jerseys, which I loosely based the stripes off of,” said Pratt, a mechanical engineering major. “I wanted to keep the design similar to our other jerseys; I didn’t want them to be completely different. I chose the RedHawk logo because I haven’t seen a jersey with that logo yet.” (source: MURedHawks.com)

While I do like the new design, I’m still looking for something a little more classic and a little less busy. I like the use of the RedHawk on the chest, but I’d prefer the “Miami RedHawks” text be removed. The logo is known well enough that it can stand on its own. I’d love to see a “script Miami” similar to what the Minnesota Wild did with their alternates a couple years ago and the classic Maine sweaters they wear currently.

Regardless, I think it’s a nice design. What do you think?

Note: For some reason, the image is appearing blurry, but if you click on it, it magically becomes clear.

>Miami Victorious on Senior Night

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Band of Brothers – The 2011 Senior Class (Camper, LoVerde, Vaive, Cannone, Miele)

Photo: Rachel Lewis

Oxford, Ohio – One night after allowing a 3-1 lead to slip away in a 3-3 tie with #15 Western Michigan, the Miami RedHawks defeated WMU 3-1 on Senior Night at Steve Cady Arena.

Senior assistant captain Andy Miele, junior Matt Tomassoni and sophomore Curtis McKenzie had the goals for the RedHawks (17-9-6, 14-7-5-2 CCHA) and junior netminder Connor Knapp made 16 saves to earn his sixth win of the year.

The five-member senior class consisting of co-captains Carter Camper and Pat Cannone, Justin Vaive, Vincent Loverde and Miele have helped lift Miami’s program to heights unseen in their time on campus. This class has been part of the first two Frozen Fours in school history, has won 102 games — and counting, and could lead this year’s squad to the first Mason Cup championship in a few weeks in Detroit, and just perhaps, an elusive national title.

For the weekend, Miami dominated the Broncos. If not for a stretch of about 1:40 on Friday, they would have easily swept Western Michigan. On Saturday, Western at one point went 23:15 between shots on goal as Miami opened a 3-0 lead. The RedHawks outshot the Broncos 35-17 including 17-5 in the third period. It was clear these seniors were not going to lose another third period lead to the upstart Broncos.

But rather than sweeping, Miami earned four league points on the weekend as they tied, but dropped the shootout Friday night. Though they entered the weekend in first place in the CCHA, they left tied with Michigan for second, just one point behind Notre Dame. Both Michigan and Notre Dame picked up weekend sweeps of conference opponents and both have two games in hand over Miami. They will spend that “capital” next weekend as the RedHawks are off.

Though they left in second place, Miami gained points in a much more important way.

Entering the weekend tied for 16th place in the Pairwise Rankings that largely determine the NCAA Tournament field, Miami helped themselves with a win and a tie against Western Michigan. After last night’s games went final, Miami had moved all the way to a tie for 9th position jumping CCHA leader Notre Dame and weekend foe Western Michigan in the process. They are currently tied with Michigan (Miami leads series 2-0) and New Hampshire (series tied 1-1) and are actually ahead of 7th place Nebraska-Omaha in terms of their RPI.

While I haven’t been able to go through all of the math, here is roughly what I believe happened to enable Miami to so significantly move up in the Pairwise.

  • Miami tied and defeated Western Michigan turning that comparison in the RedHawks favor as they win the season series 2-1-1
  • Michigan swept Ohio State dropping the Buckeyes out of the Teams Under Consideration (TUC) category. Since the Buckeyes swept Miami earlier this year, that 0-2 mark was damaging the RedHawks’ record vs. TUC’s. Not that this is different than any other time, but we want Ohio State to continue to lose.
  • Since winning the Florida College Classic championship over Miami, St. Cloud State has been on fire entering the TUC race. Miami has a 1-1-1 record against SCSU and that win replaces the two Buckeye losses
  • Miami’s strength of schedule is rated 13th toughest in the nation. Of the teams ranked ahead of them in the Pairwise, only North Dakota, Denver, UMD and UNO (WCHA, anyone?) have higher rated schedules with some of the ECAC and Hockey East schedules being embarrassingly bad (e.g., Yale, Merrimack, Union, etc.)

With this weekend being a bye week for Miami, it will be interesting to see how their 9th place ranking in the Pairwise fares. I’ll try to provide context for the teams we should be “rooting for” as Miami prepares to finish the regular season February 25-26 at Lake Superior State. Earlier this season Miami defeated and tied the Lakers in Oxford by 6-2 and 2-2 scores.

Lastly, I’d like to thank the seniors for their devotion and performance on and off the ice. Having watched them largely in person over the past three years, it’s been bittersweet to have only attended two games this year due to relocating out west. Between dropping the national title game in ’09 to losing Brendan Burke and losing a tough one in last year’s national semifinals, this group has battled adversity. It would be quite the send-off if they could somehow muster a way back to the Frozen Four for the third consecutive year, and maybe, just maybe go out with a bang in St. Paul.

But, first things first.

Let’s sweep the Lakers in two weeks.

>#12 Miami v. #15 Western Michigan

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Oxford, Ohio – Fresh off their sweep of then #9 Michigan, the Miami RedHawks welcome the Western Michigan Broncos to Steve Cady Arena for the final home regular season series of the season. And, it’s another important one for the RedHawks.

Under first-year head coach and former Miami assistant Jeff Blashill, the Broncos (15-6-9, 9-5-8-4 CCHA) are having their best season since they were 18-18-1 in ’06-’07 and are in the midst of a 13-game unbeaten streak. Currently sitting in fourth place in the CCHA, Western Michigan is just 6 points behind first place Miami (16-9-5, 13-7-4-2) with two games in-hand. However, the Broncos finish with an absolutely brutal 6-game stretch beginning tonight where they will face the top three teams in successive weeks. After facing Miami this weekend, Western Michigan will face Michigan next weekend, then Notre Dame, with just one of their remaining six games scheduled to be played at home in Kalamazoo.

Offensively, the Broncos aren’t much to write home about. They average just 2.81 goals per game in conference play and 2.76 overall. Two of their top three scorers are both freshmen in Chase Balisy (10-16-26) and former Miami commit, Shane Berschbach (7-17-24). Berschbach also leads the Broncos in power play points with 11. However, Berschbach did not make the trip to Oxford and will not play this weekend after suffering an injury to his right knee. Blashill has said he expects Berschbach could miss several weeks of action.

Where the Broncos do measure up is on defense and in goal. Riding a 13-game unbeaten streak into Steve Cady Arena, where the Broncos have never won (0-4), Western Michigan allows just 2.31 goals per game in conference play and 2.2 overall. Senior goaltender Jerry Kuhn has taken the reins from Nick Piselini and sports an 8-1-5 overall record with a sparkling 1.94 goals against average. A former college goaltender for Ferris State, it’s no big surprise to see Coach Blashill’s work with Kuhn paying immediate dividends.

For Miami, seniors Carter Camper, Pat Cannone, Andy Miele, Justin Vaive and Vincent LoVerde will be playing their final regular season games at Steve Cady Arena. Miele, Camper and Cannone comprise three of the top four scorers for Miami, and you can bet they all understand what’s on the line. Though it would be nice to claim back-to-back regular season titles for the first time in school history, these two games offer an opportunity for the RedHawks to climb in the Pairwise rankings where they are currently tied for 16th — a precarious position at best for selection into the NCAA Tournament. Currently Western Michigan is ranked ahead of Miami (13th) so two wins would help Miami’s tournament chances.

Miami and Western Michigan split an earlier series in Kalamazoo with the Broncos winning 5-2 on Friday and the RedHawks earning a split by taking a decisive 5-1 win on Saturday. In the first game, Western jumped to a 2-0 lead but Miami would tie the game entering the third period. The Broncos would score three goals in the final frame that would foreshadow Miami’s third period collapses that followed.

But, the RedHawks have battled all year to put themselves into position to make that a reality and I’m sure these seniors would like one more shot at a national title. Though they need help to make the dance, it doesn’t matter if they don’t continue winning. Last weekend’s sweep of Michigan doesn’t mean anything if they don’t keep it going. And, right now the team is showing signs of peaking. They are paying more attention to team defense, Cody Reichard has provided solid goaltending during the second half of the season and the offense has been led by the senior captains and super sophomore Reilly Smith.

With an emotional series behind them and a bye week next week, I see no reason Miami doesn’t take care of business and set the upstart Broncos aside.

Miami sweeps 4-1 and 4-0.

Notes

  • Both games will be televised in Ohio on ONN and online via Miami All-Access at muredhawks.com
  • Tonight’s faceoff is 7:35pm and tomorrow at 7:05pm