Monthly Archives: December 2012
Compared to our views yesterday, the USA’s fates have completely turned. Not only on the scoreboard, but in the Pool of Death as well, as Russia skated to a 2-1 victory over Team USA today in Ufa, Russia.
This morning’s game (evening in Russia) matched a US squad that had our hopes very high for the World Junior Championship, and Russia was coming in with a little trepidation. Russia needed overtime to be Slovakia in their tournament opener on Wednesday, and had lost one of their players to suspension on a viscious and dirty cross check late in that game. The host country needed the 3 points they earned today, and they did it much as we would expect the Americans to do so: with gritty defense and outstanding goaltending.
Miami returns to action this weekend in the Three Rivers Classic at CONSOL Energy Center
Despite two of Miami’s heralded freshmen (Riley Barber and Sean Kuraly) playing in the World Junior Championship in Russia this week, the #5 Miami RedHawks (11-3-4, 8-3-3-3 T1st CCHA) return to action to face a familiar foe, the Ohio State Buckeyes (7-6-5, 6-3-3-1 4th CCHA) Friday at 7:30pm in the second game of the Three Rivers Classic in Pittsburgh. Miami tied and defeated the Buckeyes in the final two games before the two-week winter break at Cheap Furniture Arena in Columbus on December 14 and 15. Friday’s game will be the RedHawks third consecutive game against their in-state rivals who will meet at least five times this year. This game will not count in the overall CCHA standings as this will be considered a non-conference affair.
The goals haven’t come as quickly at Miami for freshman sniper Sean Kuraly as he would like, but on Thursday in Ufa, Russia, the 19 year old from Dublin, Ohio opened the scoring for Team USA in the 2013 World Junior Championship as the Americans routed Germany 8-0. Assisting on his goal was Miami teammate Riley Barber who contributed a goal and two assists to help the Red, White and Blue to an opening day win. Barber tied for the team high in shots on goal with six while Kuraly finished with 1-1-2 and won 10 of 14 faceoffs (good enough for a team-leading 71.4%), something we’ve come to expect from him thus far at Miami.
The RedHawks lit the lantern and earned
5 points against OSU this weekend.
This past weekend’s game had me singing “takin’ care of business” after the RedHawks took 5 points from Ohio State in their own barn in 2 hard-fought contests. We expected some gritty hockey with lots of big hits and a whole lot of energy, and what we received for the weekend was well worth the admission price. Both games were very intense, with Friday night’s game going all the way to a shootout, and Saturday’s coming down to some staunch defense in the third period for an exciting 3-1 victory. Here are some game notes and our weekend recap.
- Miami had only 5 shots in the entire first period. Ohio State had 10 for the first, but didn’t register their first shot until 6:45 into the game. After the slow start and subsequent slow second period, the Hawks had us thinking that we were headed for a “Rico Swoon.” We’re also happy it didn’t end up that way.
- It wasn’t until the third period until any scoring happened, with OSU’s Devin Krogh scoring 3:52 in to put Ohio State up 1-0. Jay Williams made a big save, but kicked out a rebound to the right side, and on an awkward angle, Krogh snuck the puck through his legs for the first tally of the season
- At 11:25 of the third, Krogh then took what would turn out to be a very costly penalty. At 12:43 of the period, Riley Barber made a slick pass into the slot area and Curtis McKenzie drilled a 1-timer that found twine, and the game was tied. The power play goal was McKenzie’s 3rd goal of the season, and it earned him the #1 star of the game. It was nice to see Curtis was flying around the ice throwing body blows all night. He ended the night with a team-high 5 shots and also recorded 2 blocked shots.
- The defense and goaltending were the stories of the night on both sides.
- Miami was limited to 5 first period shots and just 7 in the third.
- Ohio State had more shots in overtime (4) than they did in the third (3), and had just 23 total on the night.
- Somehow, Ohio State goalie Brady Hjelle was named the #2 star of the game ahead of Jay Williams, who won his 8th game in Oxford and stopped all 3 shootout attempts. For the season, Miami has now faced off with 4 different opponents in shootouts and has not allowed even one attempt to find the back of the net (3 wins for Williams and 1 win for Ryan McKay).
- In a somewhat troubling statistic, Miami’s record in the faceoff circle was a paltry 22-41. Austin Czarnik had a rough night all around, and won just 2 of the 19 faceoffs he fought for. Ohio State’s Tanner Fritz was 19-3 on the night, and this was likely a big contributing factor to the sloppy looking play for the first half of the game.
- Czarnik made up for his rough night on faceoffs with yet another sweet move in the shootout. He beat Hjelle with a forehander that had it all: speed, deception and creativity… AND he roofed it over the goalie’s shoulder. We’ve got the video of the goal (and the game winning save from Williams) below.
- Blasi put a somewhat strange lineup on the ice for the night. Bryon Paulazzo, Jimmy Mullin and Taylor Richart got the night off, possibly because of finals week. There were no indications of injuries, and only Paulazzo did not play on Saturday.
Here’s Czarnik’s shootout winner:
And here’s the save and celebration from Jay Williams:
- Ryan McKay was the story on Saturday and almost came away with his 3rd shutout in just his 5th career start. Unfortunately, after spotting OSU a 2-0 lead, he did allow a goal 6:20 into the third, but he stood tall and stopped the flurry of shots Ohio State threw at him the rest of the way, stopping 22 of 23 on the night.
- McKay allowed just 1 goal on the night, the third ever of his young 5-game career, and it was the first even strength goal he has allowed.
- Alex Gacek scored his 3rd goal of the season in the first period, and from there Miami settled into their shell and just stifled Ohio State the rest of the way.
- Blake Coleman returned to the scoring sheet, as he assisted on Gacek’s 1st period goal and scored the eventual game winner in the second.
- Miami was 5 for 5 on the penalty kill, and did not allow any shots on the power play until the 5th and final kill, which started with 12:39 left in the third period.
- Once again, no mention of a Miami goalie in the 3 stars of the game, where Coleman, Hjelle (!?!?!?!?!) and Riley Barber took those honors. There is no explanation other than being a home game for Ohio State that Hjelle got the 2nd star of the game nod each night. It’s clear once again that Ohio State can’t seem to get over themselves when they were outclassed on the ice on Saturday night.
For his efforts this weekend, Riley Barber once again earned the CCHA Rookie of the week award. Barber is the 2-time reigning CCHA Rookie of the Month, and this is his 3rd rookie of the week honor. On Friday night, he had an assist on McKenzie’s goal. He had the OSU goalie beat on his shootout attempt, but his shot hit the knob of the goalie’s stick and didn’t trickle in. He also tallied a goal (the empty net clincher that sent Ohio State fans to the exits) and an assist on Saturday night in Miami’s 3-1 win. Barber now has 8 points and 14 assists on the season, and leads the CCHA in scoring. He has left Oxford and is now in New York in hopes of playing for Team USA with teammate Sean Kuraly in the World Junior Championships.
Speaking of the WJC, tryouts will start in Finland tomorrow the 19th, and you can keep an eye on Team USA during the tournament on the NHL Network. The 2013 World Junior Championships will be held in Ufa, Russia Dec. 26, 2012 to Jan. 5, 2013. (We’ll post any roster updates and the upcoming schedule when we know more.) The only other CCHA players headed overseas are Michigan freshman Jacob Trouba and Notre Dame freshman Mario Lucia.
After this weekend, Miami is in a tie with Notre Dame for the top spot in the CCHA. Looks can be deceiving, however, as the Irish have 3 games in hand on Miami. In fact, the RedHawks have played the most games in the CCHA, and 3rd place Western Michigan has 2 games in hand on them and sit just 4 points behind. Meanwhile, Michigan, selected #1 by the media and #2 by the coaches of the CCHA in the preseason polls, sits in a tie for 7th with Alaska and behind teams like Ohio State, Lake Superior State and Ferris State. It should be an interesting second half, that’s for sure. Miami will need to keep taking 5 and 6 points a weekend and also play well in their non-conference games to be well positioned in the PairWise rankings, which will lead to a berth in the NCAA tournament.
And finally, let’s take a quick look at the polls. Miami now sits in the #5 spot in both polls, staying exactly where they were last week. Seeing as though it’s the half way point of the season, now is a good time to take a good look at the PairWise, and Miami is currently 9th there. Not a bad place to be, especially considering the recent opponents. Teams like Dartmouth, Yale and Quinnipiac should drop a smidge, and Miami should be able to move up with upcoming opponents like Wisconsin (in Madison January 18-19), Western Michigan (in Kalamazoo February 8-9) and Notre Dame (home and in Chicago on February 15th and 17th).
The Hawks will be off for 2 weeks, adn return to action December 28th in the Three Rivers Classic. Miami plays the same Ohio State squad on Friday night, and Saturday’s games will be determined by Friday’s results. It will be Robert Morris or Penn State on Saturday night.
Wait what? 3 games against Ohio State?
Well, let’s lump them all in together. Miami plays this weekend at Ohio State in what could be the last games in Columbus in a good while, and follows that up with a game in between Christmas and New Years in the Three Rivers Classic in Pittsburgh against the same team. That makes 3 in a row. And I want to throw up now.
In the effort of having our lunches remain inside of us for now, I’ll spare you the gruesome pictures of Ohio State’s uniform choices in the past, but remind you that they are hideous. We’ll see enough of that on the ice in the next 35 hours or so. Let’s jump in with some comparisons, shall we?
Brady Hjelle will be in net for Ohio State, most likely for both games this weekend. He is 5-3-3 on the season with a 1.46 GAA. Not to shabby until you look at Miami’s Fab Freshmen Ryan McKay and Jay Williams. McKay has still only allowed 2 goals in his 4 starts (2-1-1) and Williams is a stellar 8-2-2 on the season, having filled in for McKay for a stretch. On the other hand, Hjelle has started 40 games already in his career, while Miami’s duo is still at only 16 combined games. There will be rubber flying around the rink the next 2 nights, but it may not tickle the twine too often for either side.
Where Miami MUST be strong this weekend is on special teams. Last weekend against Lake Superior State, all three goals the Lakers scored were on the power play, and LSSU was 3 for 7 overall. On the season, Miami’s scoring pretty well on their own power play at 15%, but are operating at just 86.2% efficience on the kill. That’s quite the low number compared to years past from the RedHawks under Head Coach Enrico Blasi. On paper, Miami shouldn’t have to deal with too much on the Ohio State side of special teams. OSU is scoring just 11.4% of the time on the power play and is a paltry 85.7% on the kill. Austin Czarnik will look to cheat the penalty kill and get another SHG – he currently leads the NCAA with 3 shorties so far this season.
Ohio State is also in the midst of possibly playing the same team three times in a short span. They had a home and home series against Robert Morris last weekend, and came away 0-1-1.
Everyone A team like Ohio State should be able to roll over RMU easily. Instead, OSU lost at home to them 3-2, and then tied them 2-2 in Pittsburgh.
As we know, Miami’s young core of talent leads the way, and only 2 returning upperclassmen are in the team’s top 10 in scoring (Curtis McKenzie is 4-6–10 and Bryon Paulazzo is 2-2–4, Senior Marc Hagel has 2-3–5 in his first season in Oxford). Ohio State is led by Ryan Dzingel
berry, who has 6 goals and 8 assists on the season. He is undoubtedly the Ohio State leader and is often seen skating all out and hustling on every play. Stopping him will be another key to the extended series.
Tonight’s game will will be televised nationally on the Big Ten Network. They are also the first games of the Ohio Cup series for Miami among the 3 Ohio teams (Ohio State won and BGSU won a shootout in their series earlier this year). Wouldn’t it be nice to deal a crushing blow to Ohio State on their network? I think so too. Hawks tonight. Other guys tomorrow for the split.
If you are travelling to Columbus or are attending with the Miami group, be sure to say hi and drive safely! Enjoy the games, and Happy Holidays everyone!
Last night, Lake Superior junior goaltender Kevin Murdock out-dueled Miami freshman Ryan McKay by making 46 saves and dealing Miami its second shutout loss of the season as the Lakers defeated the RedHawks 1-0. The loss snapped Miami’s 8-game unbeaten streak and continued a stretch of frustration for the RedHawks against the Lakers. Miami is now just 2-4 against Lake Superior over the past two seasons.
On Friday, Miami again trailed 1-0, but netted two in the second as freshmen Kevin Morris and Sean Kuraly both scored their third goals of the year. In the third, freshman Riley Barber found the net with an impressive wrister on the rush from the left circle for his 7th goal of the season – and the eventual game-winner. Barber’s tally gave Miami a 3-1 lead and they held on to defeat the Lakers 3-2. Freshman goaltender Jay Williams earned the start and his team-leading 8th win of the season as he made 21 saves on the night.
The words of the weekend were “special teams” as Miami’s units were anything but. All three Laker goals came on the powerplay as they went 3-for-7 on the weekend while Miami’s powerplay was a dismal 0-for-10. In Saturday’s loss, Miami outshot the Lakers 46-29 including 19-3 in the first period, but Murdock stood tall in net and denied the RedHawks at every chance.
Frankly, Saturday looked more like Miami teams of the past rather than what we’d seen so far this season. There’s clearly no reason for panic as the RedHawks sport a 10-3-3 overall record (7-3-3-2/2nd CCHA) to this point but losses to teams like Lake Superior can hurt down the road in terms of the final CCHA standings. This game while certainly a shooting gallery, did not feature Miami’s skill, nor did they move the puck from side-to-side settling for shots around the perimeter and from bad angles. Doing that certainly makes the goaltender’s job easier even when stopping 46 shots on goal. Of course, some of that can be attributed to Lake’s style of play – collapsing and protecting the net – but Miami did a much better job of getting to the net on Friday night getting a couple grittier goals. I call this out simply because we’ve seen this over and over from Miami teams in the past and it’s strange that we never seem to see an adjustment to these tactics regardless of the roster. I believe it’s a major reason why we struggle against Ferris State and Lake Superior who play a very similar style.
Fortunately for Miami, they’ll have an opportunity to get back on the winning track in their final CCHA league series before the winter break as they head to Columbus to take on duhOSU in a two-game series at Cheap Furniture Arena. The OSU series will be the first of three consecutive games against the Buckeyes (7-5-4, 6-2-2-1/4th CCHA) as they will face them after a bye week in Pittsburgh in the first game of the Three Rivers Classic at Consol Energy Center.
Light the lantern!
Fueled by the return of freshman goaltender Ryan McKay and the first two goals of senior transfer Marc Hagel’s Miami career, the fourth ranked Miami RedHawks (9-2-3, 6-2-2-2 CCHA) completed the weekend sweep of the Alaska Nanooks 4-0 at Carlson Center in Fairbanks, Alaska on Saturday night.
McKay, who had missed Miami’s last eight games due to injury, recorded his second career shutout in just his fourth career start. In 3+ games (he was injured early in his start against Michigan on October 26 and played just five minutes), he has allowed only one goal and sports some outrageous numbers. In four games, McKay is 2-0-1 with a 0.32 goals against average with an astounding .989 save percentage. Last year’s co-USHL goaltender of the year has most definitely come in “as advertised.” And, that’s to take nothing away from classmate Jay Williams who has been very good in his own right. Williams has carried Miami over the past month and is 7-2-2 on the season with a 2.16 goals against average with a very strong .918 save percentage.
After a scoreless first period that featured an Alex Wideman disallowed goal, the sophomore from St. Louis would get on the scoreboard as he converted a pass from Austin Czarnik for a 5×3 powerplay tally to give Miami the only goal it would need.
From there, the teams traded powerplays and quality chances, but McKay and the RedHawks stood strong taking 1-0 lead into the second intermission.
Miami broke the game open in the third period with two goals in a three minute span as Hagel took advantage of a Blake Coleman rebound to beat Nanook netminder John Keeney for his first as a RedHawk at 8:20. Then, at 11:24, Czarnik found sophomore Jimmy Mullin on a breakaway and the Cincinnati native made it look easy in beating Keeney for just his second goal of the season.
For Coleman and Mullin, it was nice to see them rewarded on the scoresheet, and in Coleman’s case, he was very involved in the game finishing with a team-high four shots on goal and a +2 rating. Though he did not put the puck in the net, he was all over the place creating offense notching his third assist of the season. Hopefully, Mullin and Coleman will continue to pile up the points providing additional scoring threats to complement Riley Barber and Czarnik. Speaking of ‘the Czar,’ the sophomore center collected two more points with assists on Hagel’s first goal and the Mullin breakaway. He has now taken over the team and league lead in points with 19, one ahead of Barber in both categories and 10 more than senior Curtis McKenzie for Miami’s top honors.
To close the scoring, Hagel collected his second of the night with a shorthanded empty-netter with 47 seconds left as Alaska attempted to capitalize on a late powerplay by pulling Keeney. Freshman defenseman Matthew Caito and McKenzie were credited with assists. Caito leads all Miami defensemen in scoring with 1-5-6 on the year.
Next weekend, the RedHawks return home to face the Lakers of Lake Superior State on Friday and Saturday at Steve Cady Arena. Over the weekend, the Lakers (7-9, 4-6 CCHA) were swept by Notre Dame in South Bend and will again face a lengthy bus trip south as they head to Oxford.
– Mullin’s goal was his first since October 27 in a 4-3 win at Michigan.
– Coleman’s assist was his first point since November 9 when he registered an assist against Northern Michigan in a 5-2 Miami victory. He has not scored a goal since October 20 in a win against Providence.
– McKay’s two shutouts are good enough for fourth nationally though he has started just four games.
– Czarnik continues to pour on the points. His five-point weekend gives him points in Miami’s last three games and his 19 points ties him for eighth nationally in the overall scoring race.
– Miami is now unbeaten in its last seven games (5-0-2) with the RedHawks’ last loss coming on November 2 when they were shutout 3-0 at Ferris State.
Light the lantern!
Behind three points from sophomore forward Austin Czarnik and two goals from sophomore forward Cody Murphy, the #4 Miami RedHawks defeated the Alaska Nanooks 5-2 in a CCHA conference match in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Miami’s first line of Czarnik (7-10-17), freshman Riley Barber (6-11-17) and senior Curtis McKenzie (4-4-8) once again led the way for the RedHawks as the trio combined for three goals and seven points on the evening. Meanwhile, Murphy (4-5-9) was busy notching his first multiple goal game of the season and the second of his career as he dominated special teams by scoring Miami’s lone powerplay goal and netted his second of the night during a Miami penalty kill as he now has four goals on the season. The RedHawks were just 1-of-7 with the man advantage but killed all eight Nanook powerplays.
Freshman goaltender Jay Williams was once again in the Miami net as he stopped 31 of 33 Nanook shots to improve his record to 7-2-2. Williams has now started each of Miami’s last eight games going 5-1-2 in those contests helping the RedHawks maintain a slim hold on first place in the CCHA. The RedHawks (8-2-3, 5-2-2-0 CCHA) lead second place Notre Dame (10-4, 6-1 CCHA) by one point in the league standings though the Irish have played two fewer league contests than Miami. Ferris State and Ohio State are each one point behind Miami each having played the same number of league games as the RedHawks.
Miami goes for six league points and the weekend sweep tonight as they take on the Nanooks at 11:05pm EST from the Carlson Center in Fairbanks. Greg Waddell has the call on Miami All-Access and on 1450 and 1490-AM around the Miami listening area.
– Miami senior captain Steven Spinell and junior forward Bryon Paulazzo were scratched from last night’s lineup. No immediate word on injuries.
– Relegated to the fourth line, sophomore forward Jimmy Mullin has just one goal and four points on the year after notching 11-15-26 in 37 games last year.
– After a 3-1-4 opening weekend, sophomore forward Blake Coleman has just one goal and one assist in Miami’s last 11 games.
– Miami will need scoring from Mullin and Coleman to help take the pressure off the first line as the season progresses and Miami begins playing more formidable competition with the personnel that’s able to slow the first line.