Monthly Archives: September 2014

New (adidas) sweaters confirmed!

Not that it should come as a big surprise, but over the weekend, Miami unveiled new home (adidas!) uniforms for the 2014-15 season. And, they look fantastic!

Adorned with an adidas hallmark, the back collar of the sweater features the words, “Established 1809” as a sign off and a reminder that as beautiful as Mother Miami is, she’s seen a thing or two.

Take a look at a few shots from Fan Appreciation night and let us know what you think!

Here’s a link to the photo gallery over at MURedHawks.com

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2014-15 Preview: The new guys

Yesterday, we provided our review of the returning letterwinners from last year’s Miami club that finished dead last in the inaugural NCHC regular season but just a goal away from a Frozen Faceoff championship. Now, let’s take a look at the new guys who will be called upon to do two specific things.

  1. Shore up the defensive corps that were so poor a year ago. Remember, despite having the top two scorers in the league

    A goal, a helmet-less Ryan McKay and no defenseman in sight. (photo: Bradley K. Olson)

    (senior captain Austin Czarnik and junior Riley Barber), Miami won just six league games and continually hung junior goaltenders Ryan McKay and Jay Williams out to dry.

  2. Add “Miami size” back into the lineup.

Defense

To address the defense, welcome 7th round draft pick of the Montreal Canadiens and Boston College transfer, junior Colin Sullivan and highly regarded 3rd round pick of the Minnesota Wild, freshman Louie Belpedio.

Boston College transfer, Colin Sullivan, should contribute immediately on Miami’s blue line. (photo: Getty Images)

Colin Sullivan’s journey to Oxford is an interesting one. As you may know, Miami is the third collegiate program to which Sullivan has committed since his initial declaration to play at Yale beginning in the fall of 2013. However, the New Haven Register has reported that Sullivan agreed to play a season of junior hockey before enrolling at Yale and that Sullivan decided against it wanting to play college hockey immediately at the beginning of the 2012 season. With Yale’s incoming class having been filled, Sullivan re-opened his recruitment landing at Boston College. After scoring just one point in 32 games as a freshman with the Eagles in 2012-13, Sullivan who according to the Register had fallen out of BC’s top six, left the school just before the season started in October 2013 and played for Green Bay of the USHL last season. There, Sullivan had two goals and six assists in 41 games for the Gamblers. Sullivan brings size (6’1″ 205) and an impressive resume of prep hockey starring in the northeast. Here’s hoping Colin can recapture his game and elevate Miami’s top six back to where we are accustomed to seeing them.

Louie Belpedio (5’10” 193) is a “can’t miss” college prospect who last season led all USNTDP defensemen with five goals and was the second-leading scorer from the blue line with 15 points playing in all 26 games for the red, white and blue. Belpedio,

Freshman Louie Belpedio is a highly regarded defenseman from Illinois. (photo: Tom Sorensen)

who is just the latest highly regarded Chicago-area prospect to commit to Miami, captained Team USA to a gold medal in the Under-18 World Junior Championship in Finland in April notching two assists and a +3 rating in seven games. We expect big things from Belpedio over the course of his Miami career.

Size

Cue the music!

The 2013-14 season might best be remembered by the phrase, “they’re small, but Rico is trying to match up better against Hockey East schools.”

Well, if that was indeed true, it backfired big time.

The smallish RedHawks were routinely pushed around by the bigger squads of the NCHC, and even when matching against smaller, faster teams, deficiencies in physicality were apparent. Yet, there’s no question the current roster is probably the fastest group Miami has ever put on the ice, but with the addition of 6’5″ Nebraska-Omaha transfer, junior forward Andrew

At 6’6″, freshman forward Conor Lemirande is the tallest RedHawk since Justin Vaive.

Schmit and his “crash cousin” (I’m trademarking that one right now), 6’6″ freshman forward Conor Lemirande and the addition of 6’3″ freshman defenseman Scott Dornbrock, Miami returns to the days of Will Weber, Justin Vaive and Joe Hartman. I’m sure you’ll remember that size has always been a Miami hallmark throughout head coach Enrico Blasi’s tenure.

And, while I’m suggesting this new size means more physical play, I’m not going to negate the impact these three will make in other ways though Schmit has just one collegiate goal and 30 penalty minutes in 38 career games (but another 19 goals and 188 PIM in 105 games in the USHL) and Lemirande had 7 goals and a whopping 139 penalty minutes in 58 games for the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL last season. As for Dornbrock, he had a more “typical” line with the NAHL’s Minot Minotaurs notching 7-17-24 and 41 PIM in 59 games from the blue line.

With Miami’s depth, it will be interesting to see if these three are in the lineup on a nightly basis. Of the three, I think Schmit will see the most ice time given his familiarity with the program as he was in the press box with the team all of last year sitting out following his transfer. I think Schmit will add size, toughness and leadership to a club that last year at times seemed to lack all three. Because, if it means anything based on our Twitter (@schmittythedog) interactions with him, he seems like a quality guy

Something's fishy here.

Something’s fishy here.

that we’re rooting for. We also believe he secretly loves “The Bachelor,” or perhaps something even better, but that has not been confirmed. We expect full disclosure soon.

Projected Lineup

Having not seen the team practice this season, and having not even played an exhibition yet, here’s our guess at how Miami will lineup when the puck drops for real on October 10 at Bowling Green.

Offense

Coleman – Czarnik – Murphy

Louis – Kuraly – Barber

Wideman – Morris – Doherty

Schmit/Mooney – Greenberg – Gacek

Other forward possibilities: Devin Loe, Lemirande – Actually, when you look at the roster like this, Jimmy Mullin’s injury really hurts the depth at forward. While I do not think we’ll be seeing Conor Lemirande on opening night, it’s completely reasonable to expect to see him soon, especially if there is any other injury concern. With the depth at defense, and the lack of it at forward, Michael Mooney’s move to forward makes even more sense now.

Defense

C. Joyaux – Caito

M. Joyaux – Sullivan

Belpedio – Hamilton

Other defense possibilities: Taylor Richart, Dornbrock, Ben Paulides – Rico will have his work cut out getting ice time for everyone but the depth here is dramatically better than last year when you figured his best play was to shift Matt Caito for 60 minutes and and take his chances.

So, there you are. The new guys. Welcome all to The Brotherhood and best of luck this year!

What do you think the opening night lineup will look like?

2014-15 Preview: Returning players

We now stand just 8 days away from the start of the 2014-15 Miami RedHawks hockey season. With much to be desired in the current state of Miami Athletics, we can only hope that last year’s abysmal hockey regular season was just a blip on the radar and Miami will return to prominence this season.

In this, the first of a multi-part preview of the 2014-15 season, we take a look at the returning RedHawks. Having only lost Max Cook (1G, 8A) and Bryon Paulazzo (3G, 2A) to graduation, many of us expected to lose a few more familiar faces to early departures. Instead, Miami returns 96.4% of it’s scoring from last year – a staggering number.

Who’s back?

Really, who isn’t back? As we mentioned above, that list is short. Cook and Paulazzo have graduated. But also missing will be Jimmy Mullin (7 points in 19 games in 2013-14) this season. Mullin is expected to redshirt this season while he recovers from last year’s season-ending injury.

Austin Czarnik will captain the RedHawks once again in 2014-15.

Austin Czarnik will captain the RedHawks once again in 2014-15.

The Captain returns, and so do his 13 goals and 34 assists from last season. Austin Czarnik had a hand in 47 of Miami’s 111 goals in 2013-14, and the senior should have no problem equalling or eclipsing those numbers this season. As the only RedHawk currently over 100 career points, I expect nothing less than a Hobey-Hattrick worthy season from Czarnik.

The other seniors should also be expected to bring everything they have to the table in 2014-15. Blake Coleman was a man possessed last year. He was the catalyst behing Miami’s run through the NCHC playoffs and despite playing in only 27 games (10-11 less than the rest of the leaders), Coleman was the top goal scorer last season with 19 twine-tinglers. Blake has been named an Assistant captain this season.

Along with Czarnik and Coleman, Alex Wideman is the only other RedHawk who has played in over 100 games in the Red and White. Always antagonizing the opponents, Wideman will be asked to pick up his production this season after a 7 goal and 9 assist season a year ago.

It is a surprise for me to say this, but Riley Barber is also back for Head Coach Enrico Blasi. Barber was highly regarded when he was drafted by the Washington Capitals, and the general consensus was that he had one foot out the door last season. In a rather surprising turn of events, Barber and his 83 career points return for another season. With possible linemates such as Assistant Captain Sean Kuraly (12G, 17A), Czarnik and other younger forwards, Barber is going to be hard to contain this season.

Blake Coleman has been a catalyst for MIami, 10 games due to injury last season. (Miami University Athletics)

Blake Coleman has been a catalyst for MIami, 10 games due to injury last season. (Miami University Athletics)

Anthony Louis is a player that I also expect increased productivity from this season. His 25 points as a freshman last season dwindled as Miami went through the NCHC schedule, but I suspect another year of experience will help greatly.

Switching over to the Defensive side of the ice, Miami’s D contained all Freshmen and Sophomores last season. Matthew Caito led all defensemen in scoring with 3 goals and 13 assists and played in all 38 games. He’ll be leaned on heavily this season as the leader of the blueliners. The entire defensive corps is back for another year, and is bolstered by the addition of Colin Sullivan – a Junior transfer from Boston College who was selected by Montreal in the NHL Entry Draft. We’ll have more on Sullivan in our “newcomers” this weekend.

Who’s got to step up?

As I starting thinking about this question, I thought it would be the dynamic duo of Ryan McKay and Jay Williams tending to the Miami nets. However, take a look at their stats from last season.

Ryan McKay will need to be good, but the defense will need to be much improved in 2014-15. (Toledo Blade: Andy Morrison)

Ryan McKay will need to be good, but the defense will need to be much improved in 2014-15.
(Toledo Blade: Andy Morrison)

Ryan McKay played in 26 games, stopped 91.3% of the shots he faced and had a 2.70 goals against average. Not bad for a guy who went 10-13-3. Jay Williams stopped 88.2% of the shots fired in his direction, and went 5-7-0 in 14 starts/16 appearances. Those stats are well down from his freshman year, but nothing to be scared of and a full recovery should be in store for this season.

Both goaltenders are now Juniors and will need to be better, but it’s the Defense that really must step up. Too many times last year, McKay and Williams were left out to dry. Facing 3 on 1, 2 on 1 and 2 on 0 situations were all to common last season. Flat out breakdowns in the defensive zone left players with the puck in prime scoring positions and this is where Miami has to be significantly better. With another year under their belts, Miami’s defense should be able to step up to the challenge.

Who will be the MVP?

We know what Czarnik can do. Barber was the Captin for Team USA at the 2014 World Junior Championships and he’s going to score his points. We know Coleman is a force to be reckoned with when he’s healthy.

But the catalyst and most important cog in the Miami wheel is Junior Sean Kuraly. There’s a bit of history in play this season with his father Rick being inducted to the Miami Hall of Fame, but don’t expect that to derail Kuraly. The 6’2″ Dublin, Ohio native was frequently the hardest working player on the ice as Miami fought to get out of the NCHC cellar. Kuraly was 3rd on the team in points last year and has played in 78 games in his first 2 seasons (only missing 2 games when he was winning Gold with Team USA at the 2013 WJC).

Sean Kuraly - an assistant captain for the RedHawks - must continue to progress this season. (Pic credit: Tim G. Zechar/Icon SMI)

Sean Kuraly – an assistant captain for the RedHawks – must continue to progress this season. (Pic credit: Tim G. Zechar/Icon SMI)

Kuraly is constantly attracting players to his area of the ice and with a big frame and a few more pounds added this year, I fully expect a meaner, hungrier Kuraly. Similar to the way fellow San Jose Sharks draftee Tommy Wingels did in his time at Miami, I’ve seen Kuraly take over games in the middle of the ice in both the offensive AND defensive zones. He’s a force on the power play and penalty kill and his speed may be unmatched on the Miami bench.

So there you have it. 96.4% of the scoring returns. 1431 combined NCAA games played. There aren’t many teams that will have this much scoring and experience return to the ice. After last year’s struggles, let’s hope that this season’s turn around ends with a few trophies. It all starts in just 8 days.

Miami BLC – Weight Room and Locker Room Tour

Ok, here’s the detail on this awesome opportunity. The Miami Blue Line Club is hosting a tour of the facilities at Steve Cady Arena including the all-new weight room! The tour will be held on October 15, but you must register no later than 5 PM on October 8. Here are all the details as provided by the Miami BLC. Go!

MIAMI BLC WEIGHT ROOM AND LOCKER ROOM TOUR

Date: October 15, 2014

Time: Starts at 7:00 PM

Place: Meet in the Goggin Club Lounge

The tour is open to ALL Miami hockey fans, not just BLC members, and there is no cost. Light snacks will be served.

Reservations MUST be made by 5:00 PM on October 8 in one of three ways:

  • Sign up at the BLC table at the Fan Appreciation Event this Friday
  • Sign up at the BLC booth at either exhibition game (Oct 4 or Oct 5)
  • Send an email to ScoutingEvent@miamiblc.org

Please send any questions to ScoutingEvent@miamiblc.org

Equipment Sale!

In case you missed it, and I bet you did, the hockey program is holding an equipment sale. Take a look at what they posted and go support the program!

On September 26, Miami Hockey will hold a pre-season pep rally at 6pm and equipment sale at 645. The equipment sale will feature jerseys, sticks, gloves, socks, some pads (elbows and shoulders mainly), goal equipment and various other gear. Come support the team and pick up some cool gear!!