Category Archives: College Hockey – Analysis
>Oxford, Ohio – It took until late Sunday night in Marquette, Mich. to finally determine the second round match ups in the CCHA Tournament, but after Bowling Green defeated Northern Michigan 2-1 in double overtime, we know Miami will face the Alaska Nanooks in the second round of the CCHA Tournament.
Congratulations to former Miami captain and assistant coach Chris Bergeron on winning his first ever playoff series as a head coach. As a reward for winning their first round series, the Falcons will now face the Michigan Wolverines in Ann Arbor next weekend for the right to advance to the CCHA semifinals at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
Earlier this season, the RedHawks and Nanooks split a series in Oxford with Miami winning 4-0 on Friday. However, Alaska stole the second game as they scored two goals in the final five minutes of the third period to win 3-2. It was one of several third period meltdowns for Miami this year. Fortunately, the RedHawks seem to have put those problems behind them as they ride a nine-game unbeaten streak into the CCHA Tournament.
Alaska advanced to face Miami on the strength of two overtime victories over a game Michigan State squad in Fairbanks as they helped the Spartans close the book on the coaching tenure of Rick Comley. In doing so, Alaska head coach Dallas Ferguson earned his 50th victory behind the Nanook bench.
Farmington Hills, Mich. – Though Miami is sitting this weekend out, there are three best-of-three first round CCHA tournament matchups that begin tonight. Here is an overview of each series.
(11) Bowling Green at (6) Northern Michigan
Chris Bergeron’s first year with the brown and orange certainly wasn’t as easy as former Miami assistant Jeff Blashill’s with Western Michigan. The Falcons won just three conference games and finished 8-24-4 overall in the former Miami captain and assistant coach’s first stint as a head coach.
The good news is the Falcons finished a respectable 1-2-1 including a shootout win against the Wildcats, and split a pair of games in Marquette back in November.
But, the bad news is the Falcons enter the conference tournament on an eight game winless streak. And, Northern Michigan has gone 26-13 in the CCHA playoffs since Walt Kyle took over as head coach in 2002 and the Wildcats have advanced to the Joe in seven of Kyle’s eight seasons.
If all the top seeds win, Northern Michigan will travel to Oxford to face Miami next weekend to play for the right to advance to Joe Louis Arena and the CCHA Conference Semifinals.
Prediction: NMU sweeps
(10) Michigan State at (7) Alaska
The Spartans make their second trip to Alaska in the past three weeks as they battle the Nanooks in Fairbanks. Michigan State won the regular season series 2-1-1 splitting two games Februrary 18th and 19th at the Carlson Center.
Despite junior goaltender Drew Palmisano’s Twitter pleas to Miami’s Andy Miele (he asked the RedHawks assistant captain to “lose one to Lake Superior State” to avoid a return trip to Fairbanks), the Spartans are once again heading to the great white north.
Michigan State is 39-13-3 all-time against Alaska and has a 4-0 record in first round CCHA tournament games. The Spartans lead the all-time conference tournament series by a 6-2 count and are 15-7-2 all-time in Fairbanks.
If all the top seeds win, Alaska will fly to South Bend to take on Notre Dame next weekend.
Prediction: Alaska in three
(9) Ohio State at (8) Lake Superior State
Coming off a sweep at the hands of Miami, the Lakers limp into a home playoff series against the Buckeyes on a four game winless streak. Ohio State won the series 1-0-1 despite dropping a shootout just two weeks ago in Columbus so the teams are familiar with each other.
Given the way the Lakers played against Miami, I think Ohio State has the upper hand in this series. Should the top seeds hold serve, the winner of this series will face Michigan in Ann Arbor next weekend.
Prediction: Ohio State sweeps
Farmington Hills, Mich. – Well, Carl Hagelin might not know who Andy Miele is, but the rest of the league and the nation sure does.
Miele was named the RBC Financial Group CCHA Player of the Month for the second consecutive month as he racked up 4-8-12 in six games for the RedHawks. The senior from Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich., and Hobey Baker Award front runner, now has 19-42-61 on the year as Miami finished in third place in the league and has a week off before returning to action March 11-13 in the second round of the CCHA playoffs.
Miami claimed three of the five players of the month awards this season with senior captain Carter Camper earning the first one way back in October.
Farmington Hills, Mich. – Seniors Andy Miele and Vincent LoVerde were named the CCHA’s Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week, respectively.
Coming off a sweep of the Lake Superior State Lakers where the offense exploded for 12 goals and the defense surrendered only two, it’s not entirely surprising to see the RedHawks place two on the season’s final weekly award list.
For Miele, the nation’s leading scorer, it’s the third time he’s won the award this season. The senior assistant captain has recorded a point in 13 consecutive games and became the first RedHawk to surpass 60 points in a single season since 1996-97 when Randy Robitaille had 27-34-61 in his second, and final, season with Miami. Miele has a line of 19-42-61 for the year.
Senior Vincent LoVerde concluded his final regular campaign by capturing the CCHA’s Defensive Player of the Week award for the first time in his career. The rugged defenseman from Chicago has been a rock of consistency for Miami, and along with Will Weber and Joe Hartman, is a big reason why Miami once again led the CCHA in fewest goals against.
>Oxford, Ohio – On the strength of their sweep of Lake Superior State, the Miami RedHawks have moved to 8th in this week’s USCHO.com poll. And, with their 9-game unbeaten streak intact, the RedHawks have moved up to a tie for 9th in the PairWise rankings that largely determine the field of 16 for the NCAA Tournament.
With a first round bye in the CCHA conference tournament, the RedHawks await the winner of a best-of-three series this weekend. If all the upper seeds hold, Miami would host Walt Kyle’s Northern Michigan Wildcats in another best-of-three series for the right to go to Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Mich. to battle for the Mason Cup.
Earlier this season, Miami swept Northern Michigan in Oxford by scores of 4-0 and 9-1. That series was marred by the injury to junior defenseman Will Weber who was inadvertently cut in the neck by the skate of Wildcat captain Phil Fox when the two came together in the corner. Weber, of course, returned only a few weeks later and is the reigning CCHA Defensive Defenseman of the Year and is a stalwart of the Miami defense which allowed the fewest goals of any CCHA squad.
Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The #11 Miami RedHawks took care of business in a big way defeating the Lake Superior State Lakers 8-1 on Friday night. Eight RedHawks notched multiple-point games with senior captain Carter Camper and his classmate Justin Vaive each tallying two goals. National points leader and Hobey Baker candidate Andy Miele had yet another stellar game as he recorded a goal and two assists bringing his season totals to 18-41-59 with one game to play in the regular season. Meanwhile, Camper is “just” the nation’s third leading scorer and his two goals brought his tremendous senior campaign numbers to 17-32-49.
While the offense was humming, junior netminder Cody Reichard was solid in recording his 12th win and continued his stellar second half play. Reichard is making a bid to be the #1 goaltender down the stretch for Miami. Since December 29, Reichard has allowed three or more goals just twice (at MSU 1/21, vs. WMU 2/11) and is 6-1-2 during that stretch including a shutout of Michigan. In fact, Reichard has allowed one goal or less in six of nine starts and is playing his best hockey of the year. For the season, Reichard is 12-4-2 with a 2.11 goals against average and a .910 save percentage. With the victory, Miami has moved into a tie for 7th in the PairWise rankings. Here’s a rundown on the scores that helped boost Miami last night.
- Fairbanks over Anchorage – Dropped the weak Seawolves from TUC status pulling some inflated numbers down for WCHA teams (can’t say that too often) such as Duluth and Denver who were 2-0 and 3-0-1 respectively against UAA.
- CC over Duluth – Second time the Bulldogs are mentioned. Miami jumped them last night as a result of their loss and the Nanooks win (above).
- SCSU over Wisconsin – Miami’s 1-1-1 record against the Huskies is currently better than Wisconsin’s (0-1) flipping a comparison.
- Ferris over Ohio St. – Miami’s 0-2 record against the Buckeyes doesn’t hurt as much when they drop from TUC status. We’ll be rooting for OSU to lose in their first round CCHA series – for more than one reason.
- Quinnipiac ties Union – Miami jumped the Dutchmen (didn’t even have to look up Union’s mascot — though I did double check) as a result.
It will be interesting to watch as things change over the coming few weeks.
Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – Tonight the #11 Miami RedHawks (17-9-6, 14-7-5-2 CCHA) begin their final series of the regular season as they visit the Lake Superior State Lakers (10-13-9, 8-10-8-5 CCHA) at Taffy Abel Arena. Five Miami seniors will be playing in their final regular season tilts, and with a solid weekend, can place themselves in position to make a run in the CCHA tournament, and possibly, the NCAA tournament.
The Lakers enter the series vying for a first round bye in the CCHA tournament currently sitting just four points behind Western Michigan for fourth and three points behind Ferris State who took two points from Ohio State last night with a shootout victory.
Conversely, Miami has already locked up third place though a tie for second place is still possible pending the outcome of the Michigan/Northern Michigan series in Marquette. Realistically, Miami is locked into third (they cannot drop to fourth) and will earn another first round bye in the CCHA tournament which begins next weekend.
However, the RedHawks are tied for 11th in the PairWise rankings so these games are meaningful for Miami. Coming off a late bye week, they need to extend their seven game unbeaten streak to solidify their national standing. In fact, since an ugly 7-4 loss to Michigan State on January 21, Miami is 4-0-3 climbing from 16th in the PairWise to 11th. And, should the next few nights of national play favor Miami, they could easily find themselves in contention for a #2 seed in the NCAA tournament by the completion of the weekend.
· Though trailing the all-time series by a hefty 54-35-11 margin, Miami is 7-0-1 against the Lakers since the 2007-08 season
· Miami has won their last three games in Sault Ste. Marie
· In national play, here are a few teams I believe Miami should be rooting for:
o Ferris State (over Ohio State)
o Northern Michigan (over Michigan)
o Western Michigan (over Notre Dame)
o Quinnipiac (over Union)
o St. Lawrence (over Dartmouth)
o SCSU (over Wisconsin)
o Denver (over UNO)
o Princeton (over RPI)
>February 21, 2011
Oxford, Ohio – After their bye week, the Miami RedHawks find themselves tied for 11th in the PairWise rankings and have secured a bye and home ice in the second round of the CCHA playoffs.
The RedHawks, currently in third place in the CCHA, can finish no worse than third and no higher than a tie for second. With Notre Dame’s sweep of Ferris State, Miami was mathematically eliminated and cannot repeat as CCHA regular season champions. And, the only way Miami finishes tied with Michigan for second place is if the Wolverines are swept by Northern Michigan in Marquette and Miami sweeps Lake Superior State in Sault Ste. Marie.
Assuming Miami finishes third, and if the season ended today and all the higher seeds win their first round playoff series, the RedHawks would host Ferris State in Oxford March 11-13 in a best 2-of-3 matchup. That’s a lot to assume, but it’s interesting to see that Miami would face the Bulldogs who have been hard on the RedHawks over the past several years. Though Miami won last year’s season series 3-0-2, Miami is just 3-3-4 against the Bulldogs since 2007-08 including 0-1-1 this year. Miami has had a difficult time beating the Ferris State defensive system that, for lack of a better description, simply packs four men in front of senior goaltender Pat Nagle and forces teams to take low percentage point shots. If Miami faces Ferris State again, it will be critical that Miami move the puck from side to side. They won’t be able to rely on puck possession and simply carrying the puck toward the net. The Bulldogs defense collapses too quickly on puck carriers.
But, that’s still a few weeks away. Miami needs to take care of business against Lake Superior State this week, rest up during their second bye in three weeks and be ready on March 11 for whomever they face. The RedHawks need to win the next four games to be more assured of an NCAA tournament berth. A nicely rested, and hopefully healthy, RedHawks team should be more than ready to go.
>Oxford, Ohio – Though idle this weekend, the Friday night results helped Miami improve to a tie for 8th place in the PairWise rankings that largely determine the field of 16 for the NCAA Tournament.
Miami has climbed from 16th to 8th in the span of three weekends and if the season ended today, they would claim a #2 seed in the tournament.
Here’s a link to College Hockey News‘ Friday night roundup.
The one game that’s not yet included at this time is the Denver/Michigan Tech game. Tech was 0-23-2 in their past 25 games and on the strength of two shorthanded goals, the Huskies knocked off the #4 team in the nation much to the chagrin of the “Dasher Dancer,” former Miami head coach, George Gwozdecky. Final from Denver…3-2.
The Pioneers are quickly playing themselves out of a WCHA regular season title as well as a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Something tells me Denver will come out motivated tomorrow night.
Note: As the rankings are calculated and additional results come in, the PairWise rankings are fluid. As of posting, Miami was tied for eighth but that could change as additional computations are completed.
Oxford, Ohio – Miami senior assistant captain Andy Miele headlines this week’s Hobey Tracker “Big Board” at Inside College Hockey. Editors Mike Eidelbes and Joe Gladziszewski offer a weekly take on the leading candidates and darkhorses for college hockey’s “Heisman” and Miele is a clear candidate with his play so far this year.
Miele, a native of Gross Pointe Woods, Mich., is the nation’s leading scorer with 17-39-56 and has been a dominant force in Miami’s puck possession system for the past several years. But, this season he’s ratcheted up his scoring prowess and is finding RedHawk skaters all over the ice leading to great scoring chances. When Miele wants, he can simply take over a game.
Though Miami has had several all-Americans and conference players of the year, should Miele win the Hobey Baker Award, he would become the first Miami athlete to win his sport’s most prestigious award.
The #10 RedHawks are off this week, but return to action in the regular season’s final weekend at Lake Superior State on February 25-26.