Monthly Archives: March 2011

Miele Added to Hobey Hat-Trick



Oxford, Ohio – The Hobey Baker Memorial Award Foundation today named Miami senior assistant captain Andy Miele one of three finalists for college hockey’s most prestigious individual award. Miele, from Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich., led the nation in scoring with 24 goals and 47 assists for 71 points. In doing so, he led the RedHawks to their first ever Mason Cup, awarded to the winner of the CCHA conference tournament and a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament. He also became just the second Miami player to earn a seat at the Hobey Baker banquet table joining former Miami captain and current Edmonton Oiler, Ryan Jones, who was named a finalist at the conclusion of the 2007-08 season. Joining Miele as a finalist for this year’s award are Boston College’s junior forward Cam Atkinson, who recently signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets, and the nation’s leading goal scorer, North Dakota senior forward, Matt Frattin. MURedHawks.com has an extensive write-up on Miele’s credentials, but here’s a quick summary.

  • First team All-CCHA
  • CCHA Tournament MVP
  • CCHA Player of the Year
  • Nation’s leading scorer (24-47-71)
  • Most points, 71, in a single season since 2002-03 (among all players nationally)
  • Most points, 56, in a single season of CCHA play since 1991-92
  • In addition to his on-ice achievements, Miele has been involved in the community, interacting with under-privileged kids through the One Way Farm Children’s Home in Fairfield, Ohio as well as participating in a skate with the disabled, Habitat for Humanity and the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation. He is an American studies major with a coaching minor.

Here’s the link to the Hobey Baker Award Foundation release and to MURedHawks.com for their coverage. The winner will be announced at 7pm EST on Friday, April 8. The ceremony will be broadcast live on ESPNU. Congratulations Andy on a tremendous season and career. Good luck!

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Showdown In St. Paul

St. Paul, Minn. – The field for the 2011 Frozen Four is set and it is conference vs. conference as two CCHA teams will take on two teams from the WCHA for college hockey supremacy.

CCHA regular season champion Michigan will take on the #1 ranked team in the nation, North Dakota in one semifinal while CCHA regular season runners-up, Notre Dame will face the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs in the other national semifinal.

And, for the first time since 2004, Hockey East does not have a representative in the Frozen Four. Such a shame…

With UMD, North Dakota, Notre Dame and Michigan, this Frozen Four is packed with marquee names. While it still stings that Miami squandered its chance for a third consecutive trip, this Frozen Four should be exciting with four big time programs looking to claim the mantle of the nation’s best. And, the CCHA v. WCHA subplot is also interesting.

Still, it’s hard seeing both Michigan and Notre Dame advance, two teams that Miami was clearly better than, but that’s the beauty of the NCAA tournament — it’s one and done and you have to bring your best or you’re out.

Miami Ousted From NCAA’s

Manchester, N.H. – With a tremendous defensive effort, the fourth seeded New Hampshire Wildcats defeated the #1 seeded Miami RedHawks 3-1 at Verizon Wireless Arena.

The careers of stand-out seniors Carter Camper, Andy Miele, Justin Vaive, Pat Cannone and Vincent LoVerde came to an end as the Wildcats used two third period goals to break a 1-1 tie and send the RedHawks home earlier than expected.

With the win, New Hampshire will face the winner of the Notre Dame/Merrimack game for a chance to advance to the Frozen Four in St. Paul, Minn. in two weeks.

Freshman Bryon Paulazzo, who has been on fire in the postseason, had the lone Miami goal which came in the first minute of the first period.

Miami Set to Face New Hampshire

It’s official! The 2011 Mason Cup Champion Miami RedHawks have claimed a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament and will face #4 seed New Hampshire in the Northeast Regional in Manchester, N.H.

#2 seed Merrimack College and #3 seed Notre Dame round out the regional bracket which takes place Saturday and Sunday, March 26-27.

Miami (23-9-6) and New Hampshire (21-10-6) have faced each other four times over the past two years with Miami holding a slim 2-1-1 advantage against the Wildcats. And, in 2007, Miami earned its first ever NCAA tournament victory knocking off the #1 seeded ‘Cats 2-1. That game was also played in New England.

This season, Miami and New Hampshire split their series in early October by identical 6-3 scores with Miami winning Friday and UNH earning the split on Saturday. The second game saw the Wildcats break open a close game by scoring five second period goals against Connor Knapp who was not sharp early in the year.

UNH features a high scoring line of seniors Paul Thompson (28-24-52), Mike Sislo (13-33-46) and Phil DeSimone (10-30-40) who each have at least 40 points with Thompson leading the Wildcats with 28 goals — 10 of which are powerplay markers which will be key for Miami. UNH averages 3.43 goals per game, which is just a little less than Miami’s 3.8.

Defensively, the Wildcats are led by junior Blake Kessel (5-21-26), the younger brother of Maple Leafs’ winger Phil Kessel and junior goaltender Matt Digirolamo who has played nearly every minute in net this year for UNH. Digirolamo sports an impressive .921 save percentage but a relatively high 2.49 goals against average. I’d compare him to Notre Dame’s Mike Johnson. A very beatable netminder. As a team, the Wildcats allow 2.51 goals per game while Miami is a bit more stout at just 2.2.

This will be a terrific first round match. Two high scoring teams who know each other well. Miami is riding a 13-game unbeaten streak and has won 7 in a row. The Wildcats stumbled a bit down the stretch going just 4-5-2 dropping their Hockey East semifinal matchup against Merrimack in Boston on Friday. Frankly, it’s because of UNH’s struggles that they slipped to a #4 seed which necessitated moving Boston College out of Manchester and moving Miami in to face the Wildcats in the first round.

This is a very winnable bracket for Miami but UNH will prove to be a difficult opponent. They are very talented up front and will be playing a virtual home game. If the RedHawks can find a way through the Wildcats, they would face the winner of the Merrimack/Notre Dame game, two inexperienced teams in tournament play. And, as for the Irish, a team Miami just defeated 6-2 on Friday afternoon.

If Miami were fortunate enough to advance to the Frozen Four, they would face the winner of the East Regional, either Yale, Union, Minnesota-Duluth or Air Force and would not have to face, presumably, either Boston College or North Dakota until the national championship game. But, that’s a long way away.

First up…New Hampshire at 4pm EST on Saturday, March 26.

Miami Wins First Mason Cup!

Detroit, Mich. – Andy Miele netted the game-winning goal and Reilly Smith tallied twice as the Miami RedHawks defeated the Western Michigan Broncos 5-2 to claim the first CCHA Tournament Championship in school history.

With the victory, Miami will claim the fourth and final #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The pairings will be announced live tomorrow morning at 11:30am EST on ESPN 2.

Miami Battles Western Michigan For Mason Cup

Detroit, Mich. – For the fifth, and possibly final time this season, the Miami RedHawks (22-9-6) faceoff against Western Michigan (19-11-10) in the CCHA championship game at 7:35pm at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. Wow, that opening line seems strangely familiar as do a lot of what I have to say below. It’s another case of an extremely experienced and talented RedHawk team taking on a much less experienced, albeit talented, group from Western Michigan.

The RedHawks won the season series 2-1-1 splitting a pair in Kalamazoo and tying and winning in Oxford just a few weeks ago. The RedHawks could have easily swept both series as they lost third periods in two of the four games that led to a loss and a tie including losing a third period lead in Oxford. Miami is 8-1-1 against the Broncos in the last ten meetings but this is a much different team under former Miami assistant Jeff Blashill who has the Broncos playing great defensive hockey. And, in last night’s semifinal victory over Michigan, they exhibited a scoring touch like we haven’t seen much of this season.

Much like against Notre Dame, Miami has a significant advantage in experience.

Western Michigan hasn’t been to the CCHA Championship game in 1986. That’s before nearly, if not all, of their players were born. On the other hand, Miami has played in dozens of big games over the past four years and this senior class is trying to become the first to lead Miami to a Mason Cup. Something they can earn with a win tonight. It’s also likely that with a win, Miami would claim a #1 seed in the next weekend’s NCAA tournament which would be amazing considering Miami was 19th in the PairWise back in January. The RedHawks are peaking at the right time this season as they’ve made a tremendous late run.

Overall, I think Miami has more weapons, is more experienced and is playing its best hockey of the season at the right time. Miami brings a 12-game unbeaten streak (9-0-3) into tonight’s game.

Here’s a look at each team.

Offense

Up front, Western is led by freshmen Chase Balisy and former Miami commit Shane Berschbach and senior Max Campbell. However, if you take Balisy and Campbell (their top 2 scorers) together, their point totals to do not equal Hobey Baker finalist Andy Miele’s season totals alone. With Reilly Smith, Carter Camper, Pat Cannone and Alden Hirschfeld elevating their games, Western does not boast the offensive depth that Miami does.

Miami has a distinct advantage offensively.

Defense

Named to the CCHA’s All-Rookie team, freshman Dan DeKeyser has done a tremendous job stabilizing and solidifying the Broncos blue line. As a 21-year old freshman, what he lacks in collegiate experience can be made up for by his overall maturity. And, at 6’2″, he has the size to counter Miami’s larger forwards and can still work to contain the smaller ones like Miele and Camper.

Though he did not play yesterday against Notre Dame, Matt Tomassoni and the Miami defensive corps are playing their best hockey of the season. Against Notre Dame, Miami blocked 16 shots and allowed just two fluke goals (including a 5×3) in their semifinal win. Miami’s penalty kill was outstanding allowing just the one 5×3 against in six opportunities.

With Miami’s experience and size, I like our blue line vs. theirs.

Goaltending

Senior Jerry Kuhn has been outstanding for Western Michigan and he looked fabulous against Michigan last night making 29 saves in the Broncos victory. Against Miami, Kuhn is 0-1-1 this season as he surrendered three goals in both games in Oxford last month.

For Miami, it doesn’t really matter who is in net right now, both Cody Reichard and Connor Knapp are playing their best hockey of the year. The real question for tonight is who will play? Knapp has played better against Western this year earning two victories and has allowed just two goals in two games including a shutout so he may get the nod from head coach Enrico Blasi.

Intangibles

Like I said before the Notre Dame game, Miami has played in many big games over the past few seasons. They have the experience to know how to win in tough situations. Last night’s victory over Michigan is arguably Western’s biggest win in more than a decade. It will be interesting to see if they can channel that again tonight or did they spend everything they had in the semifinal win over the Wolverines.

Again, I like the way Miami is playing bringing a 12-game unbeaten streak into play today. I like Miami’s experience and the will of this senior class to attempt to earn Miami’s first ever Mason Cup.

I think Miami wins 4-2.

RedHawks vs…Broncos

Detroit, Mich. – Though he was inexplicably snubbed for the CCHA Coach of the Year honor, former Miami assistant and current Western Michigan head coach Jeff Blashill has to be satisfied that his Broncos are in the CCHA title game for the first time since 1986. And, if they’re going to win their first championship in 25 years, they will have to do it against Blashill’s former employer, Enrico Blasi and Miami.

The Broncos thoroughly dominated the Michigan Wolverines defeating them 5-2 in the second CCHA semifinal at Joe Louis Arena.

Senior goaltender Jerry Kuhn was solid as the Broncos limited Michigan’s chances and took advantage of their power play opportunities to chase Shawn Hunwick from the Wolverine net after two periods. Over the past few weeks, we’ve heard a lot from Michigan fans about how Hunwick was passed over for awards consideration. After tonight’s debacle for the CCHA’s Goaltender of the Year, I’d say the coaches and media had it right. And, as for Carl Hagelin, he was a non-factor and will have to settle for his CCHA Best Defensive Forward Award rather than a CCHA Championship.

Miami and Western Michigan will faceoff at 7:35pm EST for the CCHA’s automatic berth in the NCAA tournament. With a win, it’s possible that Miami will earn a #1 seed in the tournament as well as claiming their first Mason Cup. The CCHA Championship game will be broadcast on FS Detroit+ which is Directv 664 on your tee vee dial. This will be the teams’ fifth meeting this year with Miami winning the regular season series 2-1-1.

Michigan and Notre Dame will play the consolation game at 3:35pm EST.

>Miami Dominates in the D

>Detroit, Mich. – Well, my predictions were actually pretty good…for once.

CCHA Player of the Year Andy Miele had 2 goals and 2 assists and Hobey Baker finalist Carter Camper had 2 goals and 1 assist as the Miami RedHawks defeated Notre Dame 6-2.

If not for two fluke goals, Cody Reichard may have registered another shutout. As it was, Reichard was solid as Miami extended its unbeaten streak to a school best 12 games.

Both Camper and Miele were at their best as both scored highlight reel goals including one from Miele while he was prone on the ice after being crosschecked from behind.

The Crying Irish stuck to their routine of running Reichard as I counted at least four times the Miami netminder was knocked to the ice including once where his helmet was taken off his head. Unlike February’s 5-5 tie, however, Reichard would not be rattled and he maintained his stellar play of the past several weeks. On the other hand, Mike Johnson proved unworthy as Miami torched him for six goals before he was pulled midway through the third period.

Alden Hirschfeld and Bryon Paulazzo chipped in with goals and Reilly Smith added three assists to round out the bulk of the Miami scoring. It was the freshman Paulazzo’s second career goal.

The RedHawks await the winner of tonight’s WMU/Michigan game which starts at 8pm EST and can be seen on FS Detroit + in tomorrow’s championship game.

Notes

  • With another four point game, Andy Miele now has 23-46-69 on the year. Can you say Hobey Baker?
  • Carter Camper has a career best 19-36-54 good enough for third in the nation.
  • Alden Hirschfeld notched his career best 24th point of the year
  • With three assists, super sophomore Reilly Smith now has 26-25-51. Miami now has three players with more than 50 points on the season.

Future RedHawk: Meet Trevor Hamilton

Here at the Miami Hockey Blog, we recently had the chance to catch up with one of the latest players to verbally commit to the program- Trevor Hamilton. Hamilton, who is a defenseman, currently plays for Honeybaked Hockey and is expected to join the RedHawks for the 2014 season.

So…what does he know about this whole “Brotherhood” thing?

“When I went on my un-official visit to Miami, it was the first that I had heard of “The Brotherhood”, said Hamilton. “Once Coach Brekke explained it to my family and I, I understood it real quick and what it stands for. I am a guy who has only been with one team his whole career (Honeybaked) so I’m used to being part of many extended families and being part of a team. The size of the school, the success of Miami hockey and the good chances of Coach Blasi still being here to coach me were my deciding factors in choosing to be a RedHawk”.

Hamilton is having a great season with Honeybaked. The 6’0, 175 lb. Grosse Point Farms, Michigan native has potted 13 goals and chipped in 60 assists for the midget minor program, while amassing a plus-92 rating. But while he seems to be an “offensively-minded defenseman”, Hamilton considers physical play a large part of his game as well.

“Hitting and playing with an edge is something that is a big part of my game”, Hamilton said. “I love to play physical and I know I need to continue to get stronger and faster to be able to be an impact player for Miami. I have 73 penalty minutes, too, so not only do I enjoy playing physical, I have some offense to bring as well.”

Seeing as his hometown isn’t far from the Motor City, Hamilton considers a well-known Red Wings’ defenseman to be the inspiration of his style of play.
“I try and model my game after Nicklas Kronwall”, he said. “He is a physical and smart defenseman who still brings offense to the team while shutting down the top players each night”.

While we all know that this weekend is one of great importance to the current crop of RedHawks, Hamilton has something large on his plate as well. He’ll be in “enemy territory”: Ann Arbor- at the US National Team Development Program tryout camp. The camp is comprised of the top 45 players in the 1995 birth year and is considered to be “the” program for up and coming players in the amateur world.

“I want nothing more than to make that team. I would love to have the opportunity to play for my country with the NTDP, while developing my skills prior to my college career at Miami”, Hamilton said. ”

And he certainly wants RedHawk fans to know he’s proud to be a part of the family.

“I’m excited to be a RedHawk and I will be the hardest working guy on the ice each night. I want to get a Business Degree at Miami and want to win numerous CCHA and National Championships while there.”

>Miami Battles Notre Dame in CCHA Semifinal #1

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Detroit, Mich. – For the fifth, and possibly final time this season, the Miami RedHawks faceoff against Notre Dame in the first CCHA semifinal at 4:35pm at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

The RedHawks and Irish split the season series 1-1-2 with the teams winning and losing in Oxford before tying twice in South Bend last month.

Miami allowed third period leads to evaporate in both Friday night games enabling Notre Dame to escape with a win and a tie. Based on each team’s performance, Miami is clearly the better team, but they’ll need to shore up their late game play against a relentless, young Irish squad trying to knock off a veteran team to earn a spot in the CCHA Championship game Saturday night. When the teams met early in the season, and even last month, Miami was not playing its custom team defense as they are currently. Along with Miami’s significant experience advantage, Miami is deeper with better goaltending and is playing its best hockey of the season.

Here’s a look at each team.

Offense

Up front, both teams are dynamic with Notre Dame being led by freshmen T.J. Tynan and Anders Lee while Miami counters with Hobey Baker finalists Andy Miele and Carter Camper along with leading goal scorer Reilly Smith and senior co-captain Pat Cannone.

Miami is deeper and more experienced up front so as long as they control the two freshmen, they should have an advantage here.

Defense

Sean Lorenz leads Notre Dame’s excellent defensive corps and was named CCHA Defensive Defenseman of the Year for his efforts supplanting Miami’s Will Weber who won last year’s award. Unlike Miami, the Irish don’t get much offensive production from their blueline, but they can be stout in their own end.

Again, Miami’s battle-hardened group of juniors (Chris Wideman, Will Weber, Matt Tomassoni, Cameron Schilling) plus senior Vincent LoVerde and rugged sophomore Steven Spinell should have an advantage in terms of experience. All have played in Frozen Four games and they have recommitted themselves to team defense. If Miami continues to play the way they have over the past month, the RedHawks should have an advantage here.

Goaltending

Probably the weakest link of the Irish, Mike Johnson has been beaten up pretty good by Miami this year though the RedHawk tandem of Cody Reichard and Connor Knapp have each been beaten for five goals in a single game by Notre Dame this year.

However, the Miami goaltenders have been fabulous down the stretch. I’ll take junior Cody Reichard, and his big game experience, over Mike Johnson any day.

Intangibles

Miami has played in many big games over the past few seasons. They have the experience to know how to win in tough situations. These Notre Dame freshmen have not as evidenced by their struggles last weekend against a Lake Superior team that Miami absolutely destroyed. I like the way Miami is playing bringing an 11-game unbeaten streak into play today. I like Miami’s experience and the will of this senior class to attempt to earn Miami’s first ever Mason Cup.

I think Miami wins 4-2.