Category Archives: CCHA

Weekend Preview: CCHA Semifinals and Finals

This weekend marks the final weekend of conference play in all of college hockey, with the final positioning for the NCAA tournament at stake and conference championships waiting to be won. Your 4th seeded and defending Mason Cup Champion Miami RedHawks take to the ice at 4:35 pm Friday afternoon against the #3 seed Western Michigan Broncos in the first CCHA Semifinal and #2 seed Michigan takes on the #11 seed Bowling Green in the late game.

Semifinal 1: #3 Western Michigan vs. #4 Miami 4:35
TV: Fox Sports – Ohio (DirecTV 660), Fox Sports Detroit Plus (DirecTV 664 SD, 664-1 HD) and Fox College Sports-Atlantic (it’s out there somewhere)

This season, the Broncos and RedHawks faced off twice, and Miami took both games in Oxford by scores of 3-1 and 4-0. Connor Knapp started both games and  made 48 out of 49 saves on the weekend, and Reilly Smith started his torrid second-half streak with a hat trick on Friday night, and added another goal on Saturday night.

On Friday, expect to see a showdown of Knapp, a senior, and Rookie of the year candidate Frank (the big) Slubowski in opposing nets. Knapp, as we know, has been absolutely on fire in 2012. Here’s the low-down on Knapp’s unbelievable season from

  • Connor has not allowed an even-strength goal since Feb. 4, 2012 against Michigan, a span of seven starts.
  • In those 7 games: four goals allowed, all on the power play.
  • Knapp has allowed one or fewer goals in 13 of his last 15 games, during which he has a 0.89 goals against average and .964 save percentage (since the start of 2012).
  • Knapp leads the NCAA with a 1.43 GAA and is second in save percentage at .943.
  • His 5 shutouts this year (all since 1/7/12) are a career high, and he broke the school’s career shutouts record with his 13th last Friday.
Slubowski, on the other hand, has been WMU Head Coach Andy Murray’s goaltender of choice this season, compiling a 15-10-4 record, and a stingy 2.03 Goals Against Average. The Big Slubowski, as he is nicknamed by his teammates, joins teammate Garrett Haar (Defense) and Miami’s Austin Czarnik on the CCHA All-Rookie team this season, and is a finalist with Czarnik and Michigan’s Alex Guptill for the conference’s Rookie of the Year Award.

Miami comes in with an 8-game winning streak, second longest in the nation to Boston College who has won 13 straight contests. In those games, Miami has outscored their opponents 32-5. Western Michigan is unbeaten in its last 4 games, including a win and a tie against the previously bounced Ferris State Bulldogs, and last weekend’s sweep of Lake Superior State in round 2.  While the Friday game is the first time Miami and WMU have met in the CCHA Semifinals, it is a rematch of the CCHA Championship game from 2011, a contest won handily by the RedHawks for Miami’s first Mason Cup title.

More notes for the weekend:

  • Reilly Smith is carrying an 8 game point streak into this weekend. He had previously scored goals in 7 straight until Saturday night’s game. He continues to lead the NCAA with 8 game winners and is second in the NCAA with 27 goals scored.
  • Jimmy Mullin has scored in 5 straight games – his career long – and has 11 points in those games.
  • Western Michigan Head Coach Andy Murray will coach in his 22nd game at Joe Louis Arena in Friday’s CCHA Semifinals. As a head coach of the Los Angeles Kings he went 1-9-1 against in Joe Louis Arena, with the lone win coming as a playoff series clinching victory over the Red Wings in 2001. (Source:
  • Miami will want to stay out of the penalty box this weekend. WMU is 3 for 5 on the power play during the CCHA playoffs, and were performing at a 20.1% clip in the regular season. Miami’s penalty kill stands at 6th in the nation at 85.9% of penalties successfully killed, and also ranks 6th with 16.4 penalty minutes per game.
  • As the games go final on the weekend, keep your eye on USCHO’s PairWise rankings. Miami sits tied with Boston University for the #4 spot at this moment, meaning if  the season had ended and today we were watching the NCAA Tournament Selection Show, Miami would be a #1 seed. After every final score of the weekend, these standings are going to jostle ever so slightly, and almost every game is important.
  • Senior Goalie Cody Reichard was named one of 5 finalists for the NCAA’s Wooden Citizenship Cup. The award is  presented annually to two distinguished athletes, one collegiate and one professional, for their character and leadership both on and off the field and their contributions to sport and society. (source:
  • For your reading pleasure, check out USCHO blogger Elliot Olshansky’s Hobey Baker picks for 2012, where he picks Reilly Smith as a finalist.
  • And for your viewing pleasure, take a gander at the CCHA’s 20 Questions with Miami Senior Defenseman Chris Wideman, and their CCHA Now feature for 3/14/12.

Semifinal 2: #11 Bowling Green vs. #2 Michigan; approx 8:05PM Eastern
TV: Fox Sports-Detroit Plus, and Fox College Sports-Atlantic

Coming off of a 2-1 series victory over Northern Michigan 2 weekends ago, Bowling Green got 5 more goals from Freshman Dan DeSalvo and took down top-seeded Ferris State in dramatic fashion last weekend. Ferris State led 3-0 after 1 period of play in Sunday’s round 2 finale, but 4 straight goals from the Fighting Chris Bergerons, and they move on to Detroit for the first time since 2001. Consider these facts about BG’s improbable run:

  • BG was the first team to win a playoff series from the last place seed in 2011. They repeated that feat in 2012, and in doing so, knocked off the #6 and #1 seeds in the CCHA tournament in the process
  • BG won 5 CCHA conference games all season, and have now won 4 of their last 6 in the tournament. Throw in a win over Michigan in the last series of the season, and they’re 5-3 in the last 3 weeks of play
  • Freshman Dan DeSalvo scored 4 goals all season in 17 games, and missed the last 4 games of the season with an injury. Against NMU, he had 5 goals in the 3 game series, and he scored another 5 in the three games against Ferris State.
  • DeSalvo scored the first hat trick for BG since Jan. 18, 2008, and DeSalvo’s 10 playoff goals are already a new CCHA Tournament record, with 2 more games to play.
The primetime matchup of Friday night is sure to be a crowd pleaser, and we’d just love it if BG were able to pull of the upset of Michigan. Just 3 weeks ago, BG took down Michigan at the BGSU ice rink in a 4-3 decision, so it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility to think that BG could advance to the CCHA Championship win a win on Friday night.

Third place game: The losers of the semifinal games will meet at 3:35PM Eastern Saturday.

CCHA Championship game: winners of the 2 semifinal games, 7:35PM Saturday; Fox Sports-Detroit, Fox Sports-Ohio (Alternate channel)

If you’re looking for your hockey fix tonight and can’t wait until tomorrow, catch 3 future Miami conference-mates in action from the WCHA’s Final Five tournament (that consists 6 teams). Denver takes on Michigan Tech at 3:07 Eastern today and St. Cloud State takes on North Dakota at 8:07 Eastern. You can catch both with the “sports packages” on Fox Sports-North (DirecTV ch. 668) out of St. Paul, Minnesota’s Xcel Energy Center tonight.

After all the dust settles on the entire weekend, jump over to ESPNU on Sunday at high noon. John Buccigross, Barry Melrose and Aaron Ward will announce the NCAA Tournament Field on the NCAA Hockey Selection Show, and we’ll find out exactly where Miami is heading for its first round NCAA tournament game.


Weekend Preview: Miami tries for first playoff win against Michigan State

Your Miami RedHawks take the ice tonight in search of their first-ever win against Michigan State outside of the regular season. The defending Mason Cup Champions have never beaten Michigan State in the CCHA playoffs (they’ve never met in the NCAA tournament). Miami is 0-9 against MSU, but Michigan State has never visited Oxford in these rounds either, so tonight’s contest looks to be a jumping off point for the RedHawks in the best-of-three series. State has played Miami in the quarterfinal round in 1985 and 2000, having swept both series in East Lansing.

Earlier this season, the ‘Hawks headed to East Lansing to face the Spartans and came out with 2 victories. The first came on a Jimmy Mullin overtime goal to lift the RedHawks to a 2-1 victory on January 6th. On the next night, Connor Knapp got his unbelievable 2012 kicked off, notching his first of 4 shutouts of the calendar year. On that weekend, Bryon Paulazzo, Cameron Schilling, Chris Wideman, Blake Coleman and Alden Hirschfeld all tallied at least 2 points, Miami had 6 different goal scorers in the 2-game sweep, and in total, 12 RedHawks made the scoring sheets.

Oxford is again the host of a second-round CCHA playoff series, as Miami is the only CCHA school that can claim that honor. After a rough trip to face Michigan, the Hawks have swept Alabama-Huntsville, Notre Dame and Ohio State to jump from 9th in the CCHA standings up to their 4th place finish. Since the CCHA changed to the current playoff format, Miami is 4-2 in this round of the playoffs, having faced 6 different teams in that span. Michigan State makes the 7 team in 7 years to play in Oxford in the playoffs, where Miami is 9-5 in those 6 series.

Leading the RedHawks as he has done all season is Junior Reilly Smith, who looks to continue his current scoring streaks of 4 games with a goal and 6 games with at least one point. Smith is coming off of a career-high 4 point game at Ohio State on 2/25/12, leads the CCHA and is second in the country in goals scored with 26, has just been named the CCHA All-Conference First Team, and was named Inside College Hockey (INCH) CCHA Player of the Year. From INCH’s CCHA beat writer James Dowd:

Last year’s [INCH] breakthrough player of the year becomes INCH’s CCHA Player of the Year. Miami’s Reilly Smith carried a young team on his back, notching 26 goals on the season—second nationally behind only fellow Dallas draft pick Austin Smith of Colgate. After a strong 2010-11 season, one had to wonder whether Smith’s success hinged primarily on the playmaking wizardry of 2011 Hobey Baker Award winner Andy Miele, but Smith proved this year he’s a pure goal scorer even without the likes of Miele and Carter Camper surrounding him. The Redhawks looked lost at times this year, but Smith kept putting the puck in the net, buying time for his young teammates to mature.

In addition to the above accolades, for some pre-game reading enjoyment, take a gander at John Lachmann’s article at which chronicles Smith’s outstanding Miami career to date.

We would expect to see Connor Knapp in net tonight, as he is coming off of one of the best statistical seasons by any Miami goaltender in history. Knapp has had 4 shutouts in 2012, and has posted some unbelievable stats this season. His .939 save percentage is second best in the nation (Chris Noonan of Niagara is just ahead at .941), and his 1.53 goals against average is tops in the NCAA (Troy Grosenick from Union is 2nd at 1.64 GAA). The Buffalo Sabres draft pick has also finished first in CCHA conference play with a gnarly .945 save percentage and a 1.41 GAA and he even tallied an assist on the season. He, Cody Reichard and David Burleigh (’03) are all tied at 12 career goose-eggs, and will be looking to break the Miami shutout record this weekend. Despite having those impeccable numbers, Knapp was only voted to Honorable Mention in the CCHA awards, finishing behind First-Teamer Taylor Nelson of Ferris State and the baby goalie Shawn Hunwick of Michigan, who made the Second Team.

As for the Spartans, they will almost certainly deploy Junior Torey Krug when Reilly Smith is on the ice. Krug was also named to the All-CCHA First Team, and is Michigan State’s best defenseman.  Not only is he staunch on the defensive side of the ice, but he also tied for the CCHA lead in scoring with an impressive 11 goals and 18 assists, finishing 1 point ahead of Smith for the CCHA in-conference scoring lead.

In net could be either of Will Yanakeff or Drew Palmisano. Yanakeff has posted a record of 13-7-1 this year, allowing 2.32 goals per game and has a save percentage of .927. He has played in 3 of the last 4 Spartans games, having gone 2-1. Palmisano, a senior is 6-6-3 on the season, with 2.59 GAA and a .919 save percentage.  Head Coach Tom Anastos will try to lead the Spartans to the CCHA Championship weekend in Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena for the first time since 2007, Michigan State’s latest National Championship season. Looking back, no current Spartan has been on the winning side of a CCHA playoff series or game.

A few final notes for the weekend:

  • Michigan State is just 6-7-0 on the road this season, but has a commanding 29-12-3 record in Oxford all-time against Miami.
  • The Spartans hold a 6-2-1 record on the season against teams ranked in the top 10 at the time of the game.
  • Miami has outscored their opponents 19-3 in the last 6 games, all wins.
  • 2 victories would push Miami’s current seniors to the 4th most all time. They currently stand at 96 wins in their 4 years, and could make it a magical 100 with a second-consecutive Mason Cup Championship next weekend.
  • Miami sits at 9th in the current Pairwise, and MSU is in a tie for 12th. This is a comparison we don’t want to lose, so wins this weekend are crucial.

The puck drops on this critical series at 7:35pm tonight, 7:05pm Saturday, and 7:05pm on Sunday night, if necessary. The weekend’s games are not televised, but can be viewed on using the All-Access subscription service. Just $9.95/month gets you the video feed for all three games, and can be cancelled at any time!

This week went entirely too slow, and it’s going to be a fun weekend in Oxford.


Weekend Sweep over UAH complete, here are your #SixPacks!


In the event that you don’t follow us on twitter … wait … that would be unfortunate. In the event that you don’t use twitter, here are your Saturday and Sunday #SixPacks. If you’re not following us (for shame!!!), head over to to follow along!


Nice solid win for the #RedHawks last night to rebound from a rough weekend in Ann Arbor. Here comes your Saturday #SixPack. #MiamiU

  1. Hawks are 14-5-1 when scoring first, 11-1 when leading after 2 periods. 7-1 vs UAH all time. 5-2 in non-conf play. #MiamiU
  2. Miami outshoots UAH 32-12, allowed 2 shots in the 3rd per. 5th time this season Hawks allow 3 or less shots in per. #insidetheboxscore
  3. Paulazzo took a 5 min major and game misconduct for a high hit. That’s Miami’s 11th major of the season with 8 game misconducts & 3 game DQs
  4. 13 of #MiamiU ‘s 16 wins have come against Teams Under Consideration (TUC’s) in the PairWise. Now up to 16th & squarely on the NCAA bubble.
  5. Dane Walters scores in OT to lead WMU over Ohio State. If you’re counting (we are), that’s 0-7-4 with 4 SOL’s in 2012 for OSU. #collapse
  6. Ferris State continues to roll, shuts out ND 3-0. FSU: 44, WMU: 42, Mich/MSU: 38, ND/Miami/OSU: 36, LSSU: 35, NMU: 33 #CCHA #Standings

Hope you enjoyed the #SixPack. “Skate with the Hawks” tonight, and #MiamiU will be wearing Swoop’s Stoop jerseys. #CodyReichard #GoRedHawks


After the second period, we posted this to follow up on Saturday’s #SixPack:

  • Did you see the #SixPack today? Add another period where #MiamiU holds their opponent to 3 shots or less. 19-3 advantage that period.

After a bit of nervousness, the @MiamiIceHockey #RedHawks pull it together and finish the sweep against #UAH. Sunday #SixPack time!

  1. #MiamiU allowed 1st goal last night, now just 3-8-2 when that happens. However, 2 goals in 14 seconds in the 2nd fixed that #fastandfurious
  2. Ben Saksa @bensaksa played in his second game as a RedHawk last night, and recorded his first save on a 2-on-1 break. #kicksaveandabeauty
  3. On a night honoring Senior Goalie Cody Reichard, it was Cody’s idea to let Saksa finish up. #trueleader #brotherhood (included link to Game Recap at
  4. #MiamiU hasn’t lost to UAH since their 1st mtg in 1998, now 8-1-0 and 6-0 in Oxford. 48 shots last night were the most this yr. #firingrange
  5. FSU & NMU were able to #sweeptheleg this weekend. Standings at Ohio State won (gasp!!!) for the first time in 2012.
  6. Ferris has a 5 point lead in the #CCHA, magic number is just 8 to clinch, play vs BG and home/home vs WMU.#whydontwejustcrownthemalready

There’s your Sunday #SixPack. See you next weekend as the RedHawks take on Notre Dame in Oxford. #mustwin #brotherhood #MiamiU #LoveandHonor

Have you read the Saturday and Sunday #SixPack of tweets?

While we still love traditions (see: lantern posted after every win, miamibeef04’s water towers before each game, etc), we love new things too. Have you seen the @redskinwarriors Saturday/Sunday #SixPack? We’ll try to bring you 6 tweets, every morning after a RedHawk game.  It’s better than the “morning after pill,” and it might even blow your mind every once in a while.

Here’s what you may have missed this weekend:

Saturday’s Tweets after Miami’s 3-1 win on Friday night:


We enjoyed saying “The Big Slubowski” last night. We hope everyone got home safely? Here’s the Saturday #SixPack #goredhawks #miamiu

  1. 3rd career hattrick for Reilly Smith and 2nd this yr. 17 Gs leads #CCHA. 3rd goal was 50th of his career. #theresahatontheice #ohthehumanity
  2. Knapp: 11Gms, 20GA, 1.94GAA .926sv%, 7-4-2 41% icetime
    Reichard: 16Gms, 39GA, 2.63GAA .897sv%, 6-6-2 59% icetime
    #beatingthedeadhorse (stats included Friday night’s game)
  3. #MiamiU Snaps WMU 7gm #CCHAunbeaten streak, 11-0-1 in last 12 in Ox 11-1-2 in overall @CoachBlasi 24-7-5 all-time vs WMU #cantstopwontstop
    3A. Third of the sixpack is a 40oz: 3A: 1st ever win for @CoachBlasi as #miamiu head coach came vs WMU on 10/9/99 in K’zoo. #insidethenumbers
  4. After 13-2-1 stretch w/ 56 goals, #3 @OhioState_MHKY has just 7G last 5 gms where they are 0-3-2 w/ 2 SO losses. #CCHA #bwahaha #freefalling
  5. The #s 3 thru 6 teams all lost. BC Minn OSU. Merrimack #6 in poll, t-14 in PWR. Remember what we think of the polls?…
  6. 3 More points tonight could put Miami in a tie for 2nd in the #CCHA. Currently: OSU: 34, WMU 33, ND/Miami 30 #donteventhinkaboutit #ccha

Sunday’s Tweets after Miami completed the sweep of then #8 Western Michigan on Saturday night:

It’s time for the Sunday #SixPack. A HUGE sweep on the weekend for the #RedHawks. #LoveandHonor #MiamiU #winning

  1. Enrico Blasi @CoachBlasi Is 2 CCHA wins away from 200. His current records: 276-179-48 Overall, 198-119-3 in #CCHA #MiamiU #cradleofcoaches
  2. Connor Knapp @knapper311 with his 2nd shutout of the year and 10th of his career. He also added an assist on the night. #unstoppableforce or #immovableobject ??
  3. Reilly Smith has 7 game-winning goals, which leads the nation. No other ‘Hawk has even 2 GWGs. He also sits at 99 career points. #MrClutch
  4. Mullin, Biggs: 1G each. Paulides, Murphy, Coleman, Czarnik: 1A each. A. Wideman only rookie dressed who did not tally a point. #fabfreshmen
  5. It won’t be long for Ohio State atop the #CCHA standings with this play. O-fer 2012 and 1-3-3 with 3 SOL’s & the only win @ Robert Morris since 12/30.
  6. Miami and BGSU (@ Alaska) are the only team to sweep the weekend. Standings: OSU 35, Miami/WMU 33, Mich 32, Ferris 31, ND/LSSU 30 #CCHA

We’re going to go find a #SixPack for ourselves and watch some football. As always, #LoveandHonor to #MiamiU #GoRedHawks

RedHawks stop #8 Western Michigan

Reilly Smith had all three RedHawks goals on the night, and the Miami defense stood tall in handing #8 Western Michigan it’s 8th loss of the season.  Senior goaltender Connor Knapp took the ice again after a much criticized benching against Lake Superior State last weekend.  Proving to be the wise choice tonight, Knapp stopped all but 1 of the 27 Bronco shots, bringing his personal unbeaten streak to 5 games.

With yet another stellar performance in net, you’d think Knapp would take home the Perani Cup #1 Star of the Game. However, that honor goes to Captain Reilly Smith. Starting the scoring before the first media timeout, Smith scored the opening goal from Freshmen Austin Czarnik and Jimmy Mullin.  Smith would go on to score the game winner in the second on a shorthanded chance, and a final goal in the third for his 3rd career hat trick.  Reilly has 17 goals on the season, along with 7 assists and leads the team with 24 total points. It isn’t the scoring outbreak that we saw in 2010-11 from Andy Miele, but he is on his well on his way to reaching his 28 goals from last season.

On the night, Czarnik had assists on all 3 goals, and Mullin had assists on the bookend goals. It was quite a night for the RedHawks top line who were a combined +8 on the night with all three goals and all 5 assists handed out. Reilly’s second period, shorthanded goal was also the game winner. That’s his 6th of the season, tying him for the national lead once again.

Outside of the top line, the defense also looked fantastic as the ‘Hawks returned to Oxford for the first time since December 10th. Chris Wideman was a stellar +2 on the night, and the rest of the defense will go down tonight as being the unsung heroes.  In the Miami zone, 19 Western Michigan shots were blocked, and there were countless hits from Miami defenders who were by far the more physical team behind the Miami net all night long.

The RedHawks faithful was treated to a fantastic showing on every inch of the ice, and were very vocal in cheering on the Red and White.  Smith’s third goal was some much needed insurance as well. Miami hadn’t played in Oxford since December 10th and hadn’t won in Oxford in over 2 months. The last Miami win in Oxford was a 4-0 win over BGSU on November 18th. In that span, they had lost an overtime heartbreaker to Ohio State 3-2, and lost in a shootout to BGSU after losing 4 one-goal leads on November 19th.

Be sure to watch the rematch tomorrow night as Miami takes on these same Western Michigan Broncos at. Tomorrow night’s game will be broadcast across the great state of Ohio on the Ohio News Network (ONN) and puck drop is set for 7:05 PM.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (@RedskinWarriors) and take a look at our Saturday #SixPack in the morning for some eye-opening statistics from the Friday Night College Hockey landscape.

My 3 stars of the night… Hard to argue with the three official choices made by the Miami Athletic staff, but I’ll change it up a bit:

 Connor Knapp: 26 Saves, 1 Goal Allowed, 5th consecutive win

Junior forward Reilly Smith needs five points to become the 47th player in school history with 100 career points. Reilly Smith: 3 G, +3 Rating, 8 SOG

 Austin Czarnik: 3 Assists, +3 Rating, 2 SOG (he was too busy passing to the red hot Smith)



– Two of Western Michigans’ three leading scorers, Shane Berschbach and Dane Walters did not play. At one point, Berschbach was a Miami commit before his scholarship offer was revoked due to off-ice issues prior to enrolling at Miami. We understand Walters is injured but do not know why Berschbach did not suit up for the Broncos. Something to watch for in the series finale.

Hawks take down BGSU 4-0

The Alumni Weekend welcome wasn’t too kind for former Miamians and current BGSU head coach Chris Bergeron and assistant coach Barry Schutte.  Miami Freshman Blake Coleman scored twice, and Cody Reichard handily stopped everything thrown at him tonight in Oxford, as your Miami RedHawks put together a complete game in taking down the Bowling Green Falcons 4-0.  After a 5-game winless streak, the ‘Hawks are now streaking in the right direction, running it to a 5 game unbeaten streak.

Coleman started the scoring early, burying a pass from Trent Vogelhuber (who had 2 assists of his own on the night) at 15:26 of the first period. Blake seemed to have “the look” tonight, as he had several scoring chances throughout the game, and tallied a team-high 4 shots.  Blake looks to be jealous of his fellow freshmen forwards Tyler Biggs and Austin Czarnik – the last to CCHA Rookies of the week, and is taking care of business when he is on the ice.

Tonight’s game was a continuation of the Hawks weekend against Michigan last weekend. There was a plethora of blocked shots, great goaltending, and timely offense – 30 total shots and of course the 4 goals (all even strength), which tied a season high for this young Miami squad.  It seems the 3,700-mile trip to Alaska was more than just another away series for the Hawks. Since the trip, the team is playing more complete hockey, and the upperclassmen and underclassmen are really coming together as a team. It seems the trip was well worth it, if not only for the 6 points they took from the Nanooks.

In the second period, Garrett Kennedy showed that he was another of the RedHawks wanting to get in on the fun. Garrett was seen pinching down from the point several times, was taking excellent shots, and looks more and more like a top tier defenseman every time he’s on the ice.  Steven Spinell flipped a wrister into the crease area later in the second period, and it was deflected perfectly by Curtis McKenzie to put the Hawks up 3-0.  Coleman’s second on the night finished the scoring at 14:33 left in the game, as Trent Vogelhuber threw another in on net

There with Kennedy and Spinnell were the always staunch defensive pairings featuring Cameron Schilling, Will Weber and Chris Wideman, and Senior netminder Cody Reichard. Cody feasted on all 23 shots that the Falcons threw at him, rarely letting up a good scoring chance, and limiting any rushes BG had by swallowing up any rebounds he let loose.  Cody has regained the form we’ve come to expect over the last 3 years, and has been fantastic in net since Connor Knapp got sick during the Alaska trip.  This was the first shutout for Miami since Reichard blanked Michigan on February 5th, 2011 in Oxford, and leaves him 1 shutout away from the Miami career record of 12, held by David Burleigh.

Another CCHA win puts the ‘Hawks in a tie for 5th in the CCHA with a 4-4-1-1 record, and brings their record to .500 at 6-6-1 overall.  Catch the RedHawks in Ohio on the Ohio News Network (ONN) again on Saturday night as they take on the same Bowling Green State Falcons at 7:05 PM from Steve Cady Arena.

Some additional notes on the evening:

  • It will be interesting to watch how Blasi plays the rotation going forward with Reichard’s success, having now led Miami in net for each of the last 5 games.  Tomorrow presents another opportunity for Miami, and the young BGSU squad may be just the break that Reichard needs, and may also be just the right team to break in Knapps pads after his illness.
  • While the Hawks only took 4 penalties for 8 minutes, some inexperience still showed by the Freshmen. Biggs was caught in a scuffle with the Hawks up 3-0 in the third and ended up throwing one last punch to a Falcon’s face, immediately in front of Referee John Philo.  The 4 penalty kills stretch Miami’s streak of perfection to 26 penalty kills in a row.
  • Curtis McKenzie is bringing the pain.  Tonight reminded me of nights past when the likes of Kevin Roeder and big Joe Cooper roamed the new and old Goggin Ice Arenas.  Throw in his assist on Kennedy’s goal and then his own twine-tingler in the second period, and you begin to see the all around player that Coach Blasi intended on bringing to Oxford.  McKenzie now has 3 goals on the season
  • We’re probably going to need an explanation from radio announcer Greg Waddell after Coleman’s second goal. Waddell quipped “Fruity Pebbles for one and all!” just after Blake slammed it home.  Perhaps there’s an inside joke there that we aren’t privy to?
  • While Miami tallied 30 shots, they also had 23 shots blocked on the night. While this could be seen as a concerning stat, I see it as a promising one, as it means Miami is getting back to playing Rico Blasi, put-the-puck-on-the-net, down and dirty hockey.  Along with 53 shots on or around the net comes a few dirty goals, including Coleman’s second which was of that variety.
  • A note on the CCHA referees.  Perhaps I’m just taking a small sample size, but it seems to me that they are being more lenient than in years past? Perhaps they are just calling less penalties, or really need to improve their medial coverage on eye exams, but tonight’s game had only six penalties. In addition to the lack of arm-raising being done, it seems the leagues head pairing (Brian Aaron and Wilkins) has a thing for calling off big goals. In tonight’s matchup in South Bend, Boston College had a goal waved off with 2 seconds remaining in the second period.  This followed their weekend in Oxford, where the same pairing took 2 apparent goals away from Miami on Saturday night’s tie and shootout win for Miami.

2011-12 Season Preview: Ferris State

The Ferris State Bulldogs were a team of veterans in 2010-11. Much of that leadership is gone for the new season, and the ‘Dogs will hope for a fast recovery.

Last year, Ferris State won the first game in the CCHA Quarterfinal Round to arch-rival Western Michigan, but lost games 2 and 3 in Kalamazoo and did not make the NCAA tournament.  Gone are Senior Goaltender Pat Nagle – netminder for 37 of FSU’s 41 games, and 3 of the top 4 scorers from a year ago in Zach Redmond, Mike Fillinger and Mike Embach.  However, Travis Ouellette does return as the Bulldog’s top scorer, and will

Head Coach Bob Daniels (Michigan State class of 1982) will be celebrating his 20th year in Big Rapids.  Daniels holds a 308-350-74 record in his 19 years, is 215-262-62 in CCHA play, and has led the Bulldogs to the NCAA tournament just once.

Ferris State hosted the University Toronto in their season-opening exhibition and gave the Varsity Blues, well… the varsity blues, and whooped them 5-0.  This past weekend, they traveled to St. Lawrence University where they beat the Saints 5-1 on Friday night and 4-2 on Saturday. In addition, Kyle Bonis was tabbed as the first week’s CCHA Offensive player of the week, with a 3-1–4 line on the weekend.

Picked to finish T-7th by the CCHA Media  and 9th by the Coaches, this year’s Bulldogs team will make the long journey to Fairbanks, Alaska for a series against the Nanooks.  Because of that, they get the “bonus games” and will have 4 out of conference series this year.  They’ve already swept St. Lawrence, will host RPI and Colgate in Big Rapids, and will travel to the Catamount Cup where they will take on RIT and host Vermont on their holiday tournament trip.

Ferris State will join Northern Michigan, Alaska, Bowling Green and Lake Superior State in the reformed WCHA in a couple years, but for this year, will be fighting for a first round bye in the CCHA tournament with 7 freshmen on the roster.

Season Prediction:
If you’re planning on a trip to Big Rapids this year, make sure to stop in to Schuberg’s Bar and Grill – the home of the Pabst-Mosa (yes, you read that right) and the Schuburger (Green olives on your burger? Yes, please!). You can thank me later.
Cieling: 6th
Floor: 10th

Additional Coverage:
In Ferris State’s “Countdown to Faceoff” video series: Forwards, Defense, Goalies and Freshmen are featured.

Preseason All-CCHA teams announced

The CCHA has released its 2011-2012 preseason All-CCHA teams.

Reilly Smith heads up the 1st-team with 10 first place votes – only he and Notre Dame’s T.J. Tynan received 10 first team votes, earning them both unanimous decisions. Cody Reichard makes the first team as the league’s top goaltender. Defenders Chris Wideman and Will Weber made the 2nd-team as well.

Going the Distance?

Head Coach Enrico Blasi, Captains Alden Hirschfeld and Will Weber, and probably just about everyone else associated with the Miami Hockey program will tell you that rankings before the season starts, on opening night, and even in the second half of the season don’t mean anything. Coach Blasi certainly has said in the past that the only ranking that matters will be where and when Miami ends up on April X. This year, that date happens to be April 7th, and that location is Tampa, Florida.

With that said… A Number 1 ranking is still something to celebrate, and celebrate we will.

Thanks to College Hockey News, we have that reason to celebrate.  CHN has put Miami at the head of the class for the 2011-2012 season. Check out the headlines here.

Again, we appreciate the great preseason accolades. But how serious should we take the rankings?  Let’s wait until April and see what shakes out in the next six and a half months. Especially with fellow defectors CCHA-ers Notre Dame, Michigan and Western Michigan joining Miami in CHN’s entirely too early preseason top 10 rankings.

11 days until the exhibition. The countdown is on!!

Miami Wins First Mason Cup!

Detroit, Mich. – Andy Miele netted the game-winning goal and Reilly Smith tallied twice as the Miami RedHawks defeated the Western Michigan Broncos 5-2 to claim the first CCHA Tournament Championship in school history.

With the victory, Miami will claim the fourth and final #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The pairings will be announced live tomorrow morning at 11:30am EST on ESPN 2.