Monthly Archives: December 2013

Miami Falls to Denver 3-1: Quick Thoughts

Last night was a typical Miami showing: fast and furious action from the start, but as we have seen numerous times over the last several weeks, Miami couldn’t get the puck past a red hot goaltender and Miami would lose 3-1. Here are a few thoughts from last night’s action.

  •  The first period was the domination we are used to seeing, at least for the first 17 minutes. The likes of Austin Czarnik, Sean Kuraly and Alex Gacek had some great opportunities immediately and it seemed that at any minute, Miami could burst through and it would be 3-0 in the blink of an eye. But at the 17:02 mark, Denver countered with a seemingly harmless break up the ice. Ty Loney was credited with the goal, but replays showed that the puck was loose and as Loney and the Miami defender skated towards the net, the puck hit one of their skates and with Ryan McKay moving to his right, the puck redirected to his left and comically drifted into the net as if in slow motion.
  • Max Cook has a shot attempt blocked by the Denver Defense. (photo: Miami University Athletics)

    Max Cook has a shot attempt blocked by the Denver Defense. (photo: Miami University Athletics)

    After another 53 seconds, it was Denver 2 and Miami nothing after a puck squirted right to Trevor Moore after a Denver faceoff win. The quick shot from the slot was in the back of the net before McKay could do anything about it.

  • Miami’s crowd was non-existant physically because of the storm. Not surprising, and highly frustrating, but we’ll try to contain ourselves on that topic. But after these two quick goals, the crowd was mentally not in it as well. When Miami scored, they came roaring back for an exciting 4+ minutes, but when the energy gets released out of that building, it REALLY gets quiet in there.
  • Devin Loe looked really nice again last night. He was again matched up with the super-duo of Czarnik and Riley Barber for much of the evening again.
  • Denver really plays a tight defensive game. With Sam Brittain standing on his head in net like he did last night, I’m not certain how they allow ANY goals. As it stands, they are 3rd in the country after last night’s games, allowing just 1.80 goals against over their 15 games played.

Last night’s Box Score.

Blake Coleman Status Update

During the second period, Blake Coleman was checked in front of the Miami bench and went down hard. Despite being right next to the door to the bench, Coleman couldn’t get off the ice for some time and never returned to the game. We can speculate all we want, but after seeing the replay a few times, Blake looked to be in a good amount of pain and I’m guessing we’ll get the “day-to-day (upper body injury)” indication on him. The injury had multiple impacts for Miami.

Coleman has been on fire for the RedHawks, but may miss time with some sort of upper body injury sustained last night. (Miami University Athletics)

Coleman has been on fire for the RedHawks, but may miss time with some sort of upper body injury sustained last night. (Miami University Athletics)

On the power play, Miami likes to deploy a 5-forward line as their top power play grouping. Usually, that’s Czarnik, Barber, Kuraly, Coleman and a rotating wheel at the 5th spot, but usually filled by Anthony Louis. Matt Caito (Miami’s best offensive defenseman) took his spot on the top PP line. While it isn’t a crushing blow to be without Coleman on the power play, it is a huge benefit to be able to play 5 forwards and have Czarnik be the quarterback (and the main defensive piece) on the power play.

In addition, Riley Barber was double shifting for about half of the game due to Coleman’s absence. Miami doesn’t keep time on ice (TOI) stats like the NHL does, but I’d be willing to guess he and Czarnik were above 25 minutes in ice time last night.

No matter what the status, it’s not likely that Coleman will miss much time. Again, we’re speculating here, but I’m going to venture a guess he won’t play tonight. On many occasions, Blake has taken a big hit, gone off the ice holding something and returned moments later. In my opinion, he appears to be the toughest guy on the roster. The fact that he didn’t return last night speaks volumes on the status of his injury.

After Saturday night’s game, however, Miami plays just once before January 10th and 11th at Western Michigan, and that game is an exhibition against the USNTDP Under-18 team. If Blake misses more than tonight’s game, I’d be shocked. We wish him and his team high 10 goals and 6 assists stat line a speedy return to the lineup.

Tonight’s puck drops at 7:07 pm and can be found on Miami All-Access.

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Miami Returns Home for Weekend Set with Denver

The Miami RedHawks come into this weekend as the Number 12 team in the country, coming off of a 4-game road trip. The Denver Pioneers visit Steve Cady Arena on a 6-game unbeaten streak, and come in as the hotter team. Here comes our week-in-review and preview of the weekend!

Head Coach Rico Blasi was fairly pleased with his team’s play last weekend at Bemidji State: “We played really well in the first period Friday night. We came out and did the things we needed to do. It was a good sign to come off the sweep the week before. I thought we executed really well (outshot 17-5). In the 3rd, the bounces kind of got away from us in a tie game. At least we responded when [Bemidji State] tied it up. They kept coming after us.”

I like that statement. The boys responded when Bemidji tied it up. Sure, the RedHawks held a 4-1 lead into the third period and left with just a tie. But we’ve seen this happen before, and Miami at least responded to salvage a tie. Remember, Miami had been on a 3-game losing streak. This made it 4 in a row without a win, but Saturday night would end that streak and now Miami has turned it around and is on a 2-game unbeaten streak.

“Saturday night we started off great again” Blasi said. “In the third, we really said enough is enough. We played hard and we played within our system and we were rewarded for that. It was a huge win on Saturday night. I could tell with the facial expressions on our team and the way we were playing in the last couple minutes with the lead. A good way to go into our final weekend before break and exams.”

3 Stars of the Week

Devin Loe was a surprise addition to the top line last weekend, and scored his first 2 collegiate goals. (Photo: Bemidji State Beavers)

Devin Loe was a surprise addition to the top line last weekend, and scored his first 2 collegiate goals. (Photo: Bemidji State Beavers)

3. Devin Loe scored his first and second goals of his collegiate career in Saturday night’s game, the first coming just 11 seconds into the contest. Playing with Austin Czarnik (0-5–5 Saturday) and Riley Barber (1-3–4 Saturday) certainly has its advantages. It was another strange pairing from Coach Blasi, but one that certainly paid dividends in Saturday’s 6-3 win.

2. Our number 2 star earns this spot as more of a culmination of the month of November. Ryan McKay has been outstanding in net, and most importantly, he has been alone in net. Early on this season, I wrote that the two-headed goalie monster situation should be revisited, and I preferred that it end. Not that we had much say in the matter, but things have changed in Miami’s net. Ryan McKay has mostly given Coach Enrico Blasi an easier decision lately, and rather than splitting the weekend duties, McKay has gotten the nod in 8 of the last 10 games. Jay Williams started Saturday against Canisius (November 2). In the Friday night game in Omaha, he succumbed to an injury early in the second period, so McKay has played all but 22 minutes in net for the last 4 series.

Including his start Friday night against Canisius on November 1st, McKay was 4-4-1 in those 9 games. He had 2 consecutive shutouts – the aforementioned game against Canisius and then a 2-0 win in St. Cloud – and added a third shutout against Wisconsin. While he did have a rough patch against Omaha, his stats are still rock solid this year: 3 shutouts to lead the NCAA, .927 Save % (17th in the country) and 2.38 Goals Against Average.

1. Guess who? 101 career points (7-17–24 this season), 5 assists on Friday night and the NCHC’s Offensive Player of the Week award (his second of the season). He became the 48th Miami player to eclipse the century mark and was a ridiculous +4 on the night. All of this after being silenced on Friday night with just 1 shot. What a year Czarnik and Barber are having together, and both guys could be headed for Hobey Finalist nods (top 10). But this week belonged to The Captain.

Czarnik, still just a Junior, had this to say about the weekend: “We’ve been dealing with a lot of adversity and Saturday we needed to come out with a mission. I went into the locker room before the third period and said boys, we need to stop this right now and we need to get on the right track. In the third period we just took over and that was huge for us and we got the win. That even helped carry over [to this week] in practice.”

The Weekend Ahead

“Early they lost a couple games,” Coach Blasi said about the Pioneers. “What I see on video is a very good team. They have good special teams. Their D can jump in the play and if you’re not paying attention to things, if you’re not managing the puck well, they’re going to make you pay.”

Austin Czarnik takes a shot in last weekend's series against Bemidji State. (Photo: Bemidji State Beavers)

Austin Czarnik takes a shot in last weekend’s series against Bemidji State. (Photo: Bemidji State Beavers)

After two weeks on the road and a 1-2-1 record to show for it, tonight and tomorrow’s matchups in The Nest will be critical. This is the typical time for Miami to give up a few ghastly losses (don’t call it The Swoon). Blasi echoed the same sentiment: “We had two weekends on the road so it seems like we haven’t been at home for forever. It’s huge. Home ice in any league and especially in our league should make a difference and give you a little extra energy what you might need to go to get a W.” Hopefully the [S-word – redacted] behind this team and we’ll see a nice streak towards the finish.

From here on out, minus a New Year’s Eve exhibition matchup with the U.S. National Team Development Program (USNTDP U-18), Miami plays 100% NCHC games. That streak starts tonight with Denver, a team that is coming in on a bit of a streak of their own. Czarnik knows this weekend’s series is big: “We’ve been dealing with a lot of adversity and Saturday we needed to come out with a mission. Every week is going to be hard. We’re just 2-4 now (in NCHC play), so every game is going to be a battle until the end. We need to stay with our systems and just execute. We have to focus on executing and playing hard as a team.”

Battle. Execute. It’s a simple formula.

Miami will take the ice tonight at 7:30 and the game can be seen on Miami All-Access. Tomorrow night’s contest starts at 7:00. Go RedHawks!

Weekend Highlights

More to come on the weekend that was, but here are some high quality highlights courtesy of BSU. Dear Miami, why can we not have a decent feed…or announcing crew for video? Bemidji is an isolated city of 13,000 people. Oxford is in the Cincinnati DMA which has a total pop of 900,000. There has to be a way to do this better. Just a thought…

Friday

Saturday

And, a nice article on Riley Barber from one of the Washington Caps’ blog sites — Russian Machine Never Breaks (which is an awesome name by the way).