Weekend Preview: What’s a Golden Griffin?
“This weekend will be no different – they are a very good hockey team,” Head Coach Enrico Blasi said. “They beat Denver in Denver. We need to continue to prepare at a high level during the week and start implementing some of those things we are doing during the week during pressure situations (in games). Playing top teams will expose you. Some times you do positive things and you learn from your positive play. I think both things are happening right now. We need to clean up the negatives and hopefully have more positives than negatives.”
Miami had quite the schedule to start the season: weekend series against in-state rival Ohio State, #5 North Dakota and this week’s #3 team Providence. Miami gets a break and faces off against the Canisius Golden Griffins this weekend. It will be more than just a physical test on the ice, but a mental one as well. Miami won’t be able to help thinking “we should crush these guys” and the fans will have that same thought as well. I know I do.
Scouting the Golden Griffins
4-0-0 all time against Canisius? 23-3 all time score over them? 11-5-0 all time against Atlantic Hockey teams overall? Don’t let it go to your heads, boys. All of these facts don’t mean this will be an easy weekend.
Through 3 games, Senior Defenseman Ben Danford leads the Golden Griffins with 5 assists and 5 points. Keegan Asmundson stopped Denver, and led the Golden Griffins to a 4-1 win last weekend. He was named Atlantic Hockey’s goaltender of the week for his effort. But what are we going to see from Canisius on the ice? It’s going to be interesting which team shows up – the team that beat 17th ranked Denver 4-1 in Magness Arena? Or will it be the team that has lost to Air Force AND Niagara on opening weekend?
We’ve Got a lot of Broken Records
On the Miami side of things, you know what I’m going to say next…
Riley Barber is first in the nation in scoring with 12 points, and his 8 goals are second in the nation. Austin Czarnik has 11 points, had 5 assists last weekend and was named NCHC Offensive Player of the Week. Sound like a broken record? Well, it is, but I’m happy to be talking about leading scorers at this point of the season. Hopefully these two guys will be in those same positions at the end of the season and we’ll be talking about Hobey Baker Finalists again.
Another spot on that same record that’s skipping and repeating over and over again? We detailed it as the season started, and so far, it has been a straight-up rotation in net for the RedHawks. Blasi hasn’t wavered in his Friday/Williams and Saturday/McKay rotation and don’t expect it to change this weekend. (Well…actually…depending on how close the games are, you might see walk-on Anthony Jacaruso get his first NCAA playing time this weekend if things get out of hand. With the early season momentum needing to get moving in the right direction however, don’t count on it.)
This weekend should be a nice clean sweep to get Miami back on solid footing before heading to St. Cloud State next weekend for their first ever NCHC road trip. Ryan McKay and Jay Williams should both get on track to get their seasons rolling as well. Austin Czarnik will pass the puck a million different ways (behind the back, through the legs, off the scoreboard) to Riley Barber, who will impress us with his amazing shooting ability. Whoops. There’s that broken record skipping again…
Be sure to follow us on Twitter, as we will be giving you what we can during this weekend’s games at @MiamiHockeyBlog. Enjoy the hockey, everyone!