2012-13 Preview: Here goes nothin’
After last year’s up and down season, followed by an unbelievable momentum swing and an unceremonious exit to the NCAA tournament, the RedHawks lost a group of 10 seniors, and endured early departures by leading scorer Reilly Smith and an underachieving, but promising freshman in Tyler Biggs. With a revamped team that includes 11 freshmen and 13 new faces, Miami enters the season this weekend with a home exhibition against Western Ontario. Today, we look ahead to the season with our 2012-13 Preview.
- First off, you can find the schedule here and we take a quick look at the TV schedule here.
- As mentioned above, the RedHawks take the ice on Sunday afternoon with an exhibition against Western Ontario. We all know how these usually go, and this should be a great way to start things off for a group of skaters that is extremely young (18 underclassmen!), but extremely talented. Western Ontario will cross the border to take on Western Michigan on Saturday, and will then head to Oxford on Sunday. I would expect Coach Blasi to test out each of Miami’s new netminders (all 3 are rookies!) in the contest, as Freshmen Jay Williams and Ryan McKay will likely split much of the playing time this season. More info on the situation in net in our upcoming season preview articles.
- The first 4 weeks of the season will be an interesting set of games, and should test the young ‘Hawks early. After the exhibition game, Miami welcomes both Colgate and Providence to Goggin Ice Arena and then opens CCHA play at Michigan in week 3 – a place where Miami historically has been
AWFULsub par. Follow that up with a trip for an always entertaining series in Big Rapids, MI against Ferris State, and you have a recipe for a .500 start if I’ve ever seen one. Ferris State has 18 returning letter-winners compared to Miami’s 18 underclassmen, and the Bulldogs are coming off of their first ever Frozen Four berth and National Runner-Up finish.
- Miami finishes out November with home series against Northern Michigan and Michigan State, and then makes the long trek to Alaska.
- December opens with a home series against Lake Superior State. The ‘Hawks then have a road series in Columbus against Ohio State before Winter Break.
- Miami’s first “special appearance” comes in between Christmas and New Year’s, as the ‘Hawks travel to the Pittsburgh College Hockey Invitational, hosted by Robert Morris. Miami will take on Ohio State on Friday night – likely to be the premier game of the weekend. Depending on the outcomes, Saturday’s opponent could be Robert Morris or Penn State, who will be playing their first season of Division I Hockey in 2012-13. Yes, if you’re counting, that will mark 3 consecutive games against Ohio State during this stretch in December. Get an early jump on your hatred of the Suckeyes now by taking a look at their awful uniform selections from recent years (scroll down to view pictures).
- As the new year opens, Miami will head to Northern Michigan, and then has perhaps their toughest road trip of the year to Wisconsin in mid-January. Wisconsin comes in with high expectations on the season, being ranked 18th in the USCHO preseason poll – a ranking that is rather high for the traditional powerhouse.
- Bowling Green and Alaska come to Oxford, followed by a road trip to Western Michigan before the biggest series of the season for the RedHawks.
- Miami will play Notre Dame on Friday February 15th in the confines of The Goggin, and then the same teams will face off in Chicago’s Soldier Field in the Hockey City Classic on Sunday the 17th. Wisconsin and Minnesota will play in the late game in Chicago. We’ll have full coverage of the event from every angle, including what we hope to be an on-ice picture inside Soldier Field for the Warriors. Tickets are on sale now for the games. Contact the Miami ticket office for seats in the Miami section, or head to Ticketmaster.com for other accommodations. We’ll see you in Chicago!
- The season ends with a road series at Lake Superior State and a home series against Ohio State before the CCHA tournament commences for the final time.
- Overall, Miami’s schedule includes just 4 teams who made the tournament last year (Ferris State, Michigan, Michigan State and Western Michigan) and will play 2 games against each of these teams.
- Preseason voting has taken place, and Miami is 4th in the CCHA Coaches’ Poll and 5th in the CCHA Media Poll swapping places with Ferris State in the two. You can get the scoop on the full CCHA polls here.
- Michigan took the top spot in the Media poll (must be a bunch of Michigan homers in this voting group), and Notre Dame took the top spot in the Coaches’ Poll (blinded by the golden dome, perhaps?).
- In this week’s Coaches Conference Call, Head Coach Rico Blasi had this to say:
We are excited to start the season and our expectations are no different any other year. We expect to improve every day and make sure that we’re playing our best hockey at the right time. But more importantly, more so than any other year, we have 12 new faces on our team and so our philosophy of just trying to be the best that we can be each and every day is really important going into the year.
We’ve got a really good senior captain in defenseman Steven Spinell that will lead the way, not only on the ice but off the ice as well. I think our schedule is one that is extremely challenging not only in our league from weekend to weekend but non-conference and obviously we’ve got a big game in February at Soldier Field with our league rival, Notre Dame. With so many alums in the Chicago area, both hockey alums and Miami alums, it will be a special event for our university and everybody associated with it.
- The full audio of Coach Blasi’s 8.5 minutes on the call can be heard here. Coach Blasi certainly has a lot to say about the leadership capabilities of Captain Steven Spinell, and I for one am looking forward to seeing him lead the way for the RedHawks this year.
- As you may have heard, the 2012 preseason polls are out, and Miami is ranked 9thin each of the official polls. Miami is not listed in the Inside College Hockey “10 for 13” which ranks their top 10 teams for the upcoming season. The USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll and USCHO.com Poll are linked here.
- Austin Czarnik was named to the preseason All-CCHA 2nd team: . USCHO also thinks highly of “Z” and has him in their 10 forwards to watch for 2012-13.
- Full All-CCHA Team selections can be found here, with Notre Dame’s TJ Tynan leading the way as the favorite for CCHA Player of the Year. Western Michigan and Michigan lead the way with 3 players each spread among the top 2 teams.
We’ll have more for you across this weekend and into next week with team previews as well as a comprehensive preview of the entire Miami squad before next weekend’s season-opening series against Colgate.
Only 3 days until the puck drops, and we can’t wait to cover it all for you! Go ‘Hawks!