Recap: Hawks cool off Alaska, head to Western Michigan
Before we recap the week, we remember Brendan Burke. Burkie died 3 years ago today (February 5, 2010). Each and every RedHawk, including those freshmen who didn’t know him miss him like a brother. His legacy will live on in Oxford and throughout hockey and sports through the You Can Play project. We encourage you to support You Can Play at http://www.youcanplayproject.org, and always remember Brendan as an important part of The Brotherhood.
For the second week in a row, Miami has swept their opponent out of Oxford, this time sending the Alaska Nanooks back to Fairbanks significantly cooler than they were coming in. The 2 wins snapped a 6 game win streak for the Nanooks, who fell back out of the polls, but still remain as a TUC in the PairWise – a good thing for Enrico Blasi’s talented young squad. Here’s what you missed so far this week.
Recapping the action
With some trepidation based on how well Alaska had also been playing, we saw the Hawks come out strong on Friday night, putting up a great effort in a 4-1 win. The win extended the Hawks’ win streak to a then-season-long 4 games and snapped Alaska’s 6-game win streak and 7-game unbeaten streak. Miami killed all 6 penalties on the night and leading scorer Austin Czarnik got 2 empty net goals to seal the win late in the 3rd period. Eventual CCHA Player of the Week Marc Hagel had 2 assists on the night and also blocked a pair of shots. Jay Williams stopped 24 shots on the night and earned his 11th win of the season.
On Saturday night, with the Alaskan win streak killed, the Hawks played loose, relaxed hockey en route to a dominating 6-2 lead. Alaska ended up being swept for just the second time this season, both of which have come against Miami. Riley Barber got off of his short goalless streak scoring twice, and Kevin Morris also had 2 goals to lead the Hawks. Hagel recorded 3 assists on the night and in all, 4 RedHawks had multi point nights (Czarnik tallied 2 assists). Freshman goaltender Ryan McKay earned the win, stopping 29 shots and running his record to 6-2-2 on the season. Miami did allow 2 power play goals on the night, ending their streak at 26 straight penalties killed.
Overall on the weekend, Miami scored as may goals as they had scored in the previous 5 games, with Saturday night’s goal-fest being the highest total they’ve netted all year. Miami’s season record runs to 17-6-5 overall and 12-4-4 (4 shootout wins) in the CCHA. Head Coach Rico Blasi now has 303 wins, and has passed former Miamian Mark Mazzoleni for a tie for 75th on the all time list. Just 3 more wins and Miami will have 20 wins, and it will be the 9th year in a row that Miami will have won at least that many. Miami also jumped to the top spot in the CCHA, gaining a slim 1-point lead over Western Michigan.
Hagel captures CCHA Offensive Player of the Week
No, that’s not a typo. Miami Senior forward Marc Hagel has been honored for the first time by the CCHA with the Offensive Player of the Week for his play this past weekend. Hagel was stellar all weekend and ended up with a +6 rating. Not too shabby for the former Princeton Captain turned RedHawk transfer.
By now you know, the RedHawks are now atop the CCHA standings by a point over Western Michigan. The Broncos beat Ferris State on Friday night and lost in a shootout on Saturday to take 4 points on the weekend, just enough for Miami to slip past them in the standings. This weekend’s games mean just this much more because of the standings and, as you’ll see, the PairWise rankings.
Elsewhere, Michigan stayed out of the basement, and really stomped on Michigan State. Michigan swept the Spartans and recorded their first weekend sweep of the year. Bowling green put up 11 goals in their home series sweep of Lake Superior State, winning 4-1 and 7-3.
Notre Dame continued its slide by taking an early lead, and then gave up 5 2nd period goals (!?!) to Ohio State (!?!?!?!?!?!?!) on Friday night. On Saturday, ND gave up another lead having been up 2-1, limped through overtime at 2-2 and ended up winning the shootout. ND stands 6 points behind Miami and are fading very quickly in the CCHA standings, having earned just 5 points in their last 8 games. ND plays host to Michigan this weekend on the heels of losing Junior defenseman Jared Beers after an off-ice incident in South Bend.
As we head towards the last 4 weeks of the season, Miami’s magic number now stands at 23 points to clinch at least a tie for the CCHA regular season crown and 24 to take it alone. Any time Western Michigan leaves points on the table, or Miami earns points the magic number drops by that many points. With a sweep this weekend, Miami could be as close as 12 points away from the title. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There’s a lot of hockey left to play.
The center of the standings will be just as fun to watch play out, as Notre Dame, Ferris State, Ohio State and Alaska are teams 3-6 and are just 4 points away from each other. Lake Superior State, Bowling Green and Michigan are the next tier, and will be fighting for home ice advantage in the first round of the CCHA playoffs (seeds 6-8 get first round byes).
Polls and PairWise
Miami jumps up a spot in the USCHO.com poll and move up to #3 in the country there. They remained as the #3 team in the USA Hockey poll this week. In the increasingly important PairWise Rankings, Miami is now one of just 2 teams with 12 wins against TUCs, and this continues to help them as they now sit #3 here as well. If Bowling Green can improve just a smidge, they may jump into TUC status, giving Miami 2 more wins against TUCs. In addition, Miami currently does not have the comparison over Western Michigan in the comparisons grid, and could solidify their position with at least a tie and win this weekend against WMU.
As always, thanks for your support on Twitter. If you don’t use twitter, you can still follow us at http://www.twitter.com/redskinwarriors. From here on out, we’ll update our PairWise and magic numbers, as well as CCHA updates on our twitter feed. Only one more week until our first ever outdoor game! Have a great week, RedHawks fans!
Posted on February 6, 2013, in 2012-13 Weekend Recaps, Austin Czarnik, Enrico Blasi, Marc Hagel, Miami RedHawks, Riley Barber and tagged Austin Czarnik, CCHA Hockey, Jay Williams, Marc Hagel, Miami RedHawks, NCAA Hockey, Riley Barber, Ryan McKay. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.