Category Archives: College Hockey – Analysis

>Miami Victorious on Senior Night

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Band of Brothers – The 2011 Senior Class (Camper, LoVerde, Vaive, Cannone, Miele)

Photo: Rachel Lewis

Oxford, Ohio – One night after allowing a 3-1 lead to slip away in a 3-3 tie with #15 Western Michigan, the Miami RedHawks defeated WMU 3-1 on Senior Night at Steve Cady Arena.

Senior assistant captain Andy Miele, junior Matt Tomassoni and sophomore Curtis McKenzie had the goals for the RedHawks (17-9-6, 14-7-5-2 CCHA) and junior netminder Connor Knapp made 16 saves to earn his sixth win of the year.

The five-member senior class consisting of co-captains Carter Camper and Pat Cannone, Justin Vaive, Vincent Loverde and Miele have helped lift Miami’s program to heights unseen in their time on campus. This class has been part of the first two Frozen Fours in school history, has won 102 games — and counting, and could lead this year’s squad to the first Mason Cup championship in a few weeks in Detroit, and just perhaps, an elusive national title.

For the weekend, Miami dominated the Broncos. If not for a stretch of about 1:40 on Friday, they would have easily swept Western Michigan. On Saturday, Western at one point went 23:15 between shots on goal as Miami opened a 3-0 lead. The RedHawks outshot the Broncos 35-17 including 17-5 in the third period. It was clear these seniors were not going to lose another third period lead to the upstart Broncos.

But rather than sweeping, Miami earned four league points on the weekend as they tied, but dropped the shootout Friday night. Though they entered the weekend in first place in the CCHA, they left tied with Michigan for second, just one point behind Notre Dame. Both Michigan and Notre Dame picked up weekend sweeps of conference opponents and both have two games in hand over Miami. They will spend that “capital” next weekend as the RedHawks are off.

Though they left in second place, Miami gained points in a much more important way.

Entering the weekend tied for 16th place in the Pairwise Rankings that largely determine the NCAA Tournament field, Miami helped themselves with a win and a tie against Western Michigan. After last night’s games went final, Miami had moved all the way to a tie for 9th position jumping CCHA leader Notre Dame and weekend foe Western Michigan in the process. They are currently tied with Michigan (Miami leads series 2-0) and New Hampshire (series tied 1-1) and are actually ahead of 7th place Nebraska-Omaha in terms of their RPI.

While I haven’t been able to go through all of the math, here is roughly what I believe happened to enable Miami to so significantly move up in the Pairwise.

  • Miami tied and defeated Western Michigan turning that comparison in the RedHawks favor as they win the season series 2-1-1
  • Michigan swept Ohio State dropping the Buckeyes out of the Teams Under Consideration (TUC) category. Since the Buckeyes swept Miami earlier this year, that 0-2 mark was damaging the RedHawks’ record vs. TUC’s. Not that this is different than any other time, but we want Ohio State to continue to lose.
  • Since winning the Florida College Classic championship over Miami, St. Cloud State has been on fire entering the TUC race. Miami has a 1-1-1 record against SCSU and that win replaces the two Buckeye losses
  • Miami’s strength of schedule is rated 13th toughest in the nation. Of the teams ranked ahead of them in the Pairwise, only North Dakota, Denver, UMD and UNO (WCHA, anyone?) have higher rated schedules with some of the ECAC and Hockey East schedules being embarrassingly bad (e.g., Yale, Merrimack, Union, etc.)

With this weekend being a bye week for Miami, it will be interesting to see how their 9th place ranking in the Pairwise fares. I’ll try to provide context for the teams we should be “rooting for” as Miami prepares to finish the regular season February 25-26 at Lake Superior State. Earlier this season Miami defeated and tied the Lakers in Oxford by 6-2 and 2-2 scores.

Lastly, I’d like to thank the seniors for their devotion and performance on and off the ice. Having watched them largely in person over the past three years, it’s been bittersweet to have only attended two games this year due to relocating out west. Between dropping the national title game in ’09 to losing Brendan Burke and losing a tough one in last year’s national semifinals, this group has battled adversity. It would be quite the send-off if they could somehow muster a way back to the Frozen Four for the third consecutive year, and maybe, just maybe go out with a bang in St. Paul.

But, first things first.

Let’s sweep the Lakers in two weeks.

>#12 Miami v. #15 Western Michigan

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Oxford, Ohio – Fresh off their sweep of then #9 Michigan, the Miami RedHawks welcome the Western Michigan Broncos to Steve Cady Arena for the final home regular season series of the season. And, it’s another important one for the RedHawks.

Under first-year head coach and former Miami assistant Jeff Blashill, the Broncos (15-6-9, 9-5-8-4 CCHA) are having their best season since they were 18-18-1 in ’06-’07 and are in the midst of a 13-game unbeaten streak. Currently sitting in fourth place in the CCHA, Western Michigan is just 6 points behind first place Miami (16-9-5, 13-7-4-2) with two games in-hand. However, the Broncos finish with an absolutely brutal 6-game stretch beginning tonight where they will face the top three teams in successive weeks. After facing Miami this weekend, Western Michigan will face Michigan next weekend, then Notre Dame, with just one of their remaining six games scheduled to be played at home in Kalamazoo.

Offensively, the Broncos aren’t much to write home about. They average just 2.81 goals per game in conference play and 2.76 overall. Two of their top three scorers are both freshmen in Chase Balisy (10-16-26) and former Miami commit, Shane Berschbach (7-17-24). Berschbach also leads the Broncos in power play points with 11. However, Berschbach did not make the trip to Oxford and will not play this weekend after suffering an injury to his right knee. Blashill has said he expects Berschbach could miss several weeks of action.

Where the Broncos do measure up is on defense and in goal. Riding a 13-game unbeaten streak into Steve Cady Arena, where the Broncos have never won (0-4), Western Michigan allows just 2.31 goals per game in conference play and 2.2 overall. Senior goaltender Jerry Kuhn has taken the reins from Nick Piselini and sports an 8-1-5 overall record with a sparkling 1.94 goals against average. A former college goaltender for Ferris State, it’s no big surprise to see Coach Blashill’s work with Kuhn paying immediate dividends.

For Miami, seniors Carter Camper, Pat Cannone, Andy Miele, Justin Vaive and Vincent LoVerde will be playing their final regular season games at Steve Cady Arena. Miele, Camper and Cannone comprise three of the top four scorers for Miami, and you can bet they all understand what’s on the line. Though it would be nice to claim back-to-back regular season titles for the first time in school history, these two games offer an opportunity for the RedHawks to climb in the Pairwise rankings where they are currently tied for 16th — a precarious position at best for selection into the NCAA Tournament. Currently Western Michigan is ranked ahead of Miami (13th) so two wins would help Miami’s tournament chances.

Miami and Western Michigan split an earlier series in Kalamazoo with the Broncos winning 5-2 on Friday and the RedHawks earning a split by taking a decisive 5-1 win on Saturday. In the first game, Western jumped to a 2-0 lead but Miami would tie the game entering the third period. The Broncos would score three goals in the final frame that would foreshadow Miami’s third period collapses that followed.

But, the RedHawks have battled all year to put themselves into position to make that a reality and I’m sure these seniors would like one more shot at a national title. Though they need help to make the dance, it doesn’t matter if they don’t continue winning. Last weekend’s sweep of Michigan doesn’t mean anything if they don’t keep it going. And, right now the team is showing signs of peaking. They are paying more attention to team defense, Cody Reichard has provided solid goaltending during the second half of the season and the offense has been led by the senior captains and super sophomore Reilly Smith.

With an emotional series behind them and a bye week next week, I see no reason Miami doesn’t take care of business and set the upstart Broncos aside.

Miami sweeps 4-1 and 4-0.

Notes

  • Both games will be televised in Ohio on ONN and online via Miami All-Access at muredhawks.com
  • Tonight’s faceoff is 7:35pm and tomorrow at 7:05pm

>Miami Sweeps Michigan in Critical CCHA Series

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Reilly Smith scored two goals to lead Miami to a 3-0 victory over Michigan

Oxford, Ohio – Sophomore Reilly Smith netted his 20th and 21st goals of the season and senior Andy Miele contributed three assists leading Miami to their 16th victory of the season sweeping Michigan 3-0. By virtue of Miami’s 4-2 win on Friday, and with Notre Dame idle, the RedHawks move into first place in the CCHA with four regular season games to go.

Wearing special commemorative jerseys to honor the one year anniversary of Brendan Burke’s passing, and with the entire Burke family present, the RedHawks used the emotion of the evening to jump out to a 2-0 lead after one period. Smith tallied twice, first on a nifty wraparound after picking up a loose puck behind the net. Miele fed Cameron Schilling at the point who fired a one-timer wide of the net. Smith found the puck and moved on his backhand to beat Michigan netminder Shawn Hunwick who was out of position after challenging Schilling’s shot.

Smith would tally again at 15:16 of the opening period when Miele found Trent Vogelhuber open at the Michigan blueline. Vogelhuber would move in alone on Hunwick but his backhand attempt was stopped. However, Smith tracked down the rebound and fired a sharp wrister to the top corner over a prone Hunwick who was knocked down in stopping Vogelhuber’s chance.

Senior Pat Cannone would add the RedHawks final goal of the evening on the powerplay when Miele fired a cross-ice pass to Cannone who one-timed it past Hunwick. Cannone’s 13th goal of the season came at 13:42 of the second period and just after two Wolverines took penalties on the same play giving Miami a 5×3 advantage.

Junior netminder Cody Reichard was solid for the second consecutive night picking up his third shutout of the season and the 10th of his career. Reichard is now 4-1 in his past five games against Michigan with the one loss coming in the CCHA Tournament last March in Detroit and needs only two more shutouts to tie David Burleigh’s career record of 12.

While not facing too many significant chances, Reichard did stop Matt Rust on a semi-breakaway and also stymied Michigan on seven powerplay attempts. For the night, Reichard made 23 saves and senior defenseman Vincent LoVerde blocked seven shots as the RedHawks picked up their fifth team shutout of the season.

Next weekend, the RedHawks remain at home for a key two-game series with Western Michigan. Former Miami assistant coach Jeff Blashill has the Broncos riding a 13-game unbeaten streak behind the stellar play of freshmen Chase Balisy and former Miami commit Shane Berschbach. WMU is currently tied for 11th in the Pairwise rankings, just six points behind Miami in fourth place in the CCHA standings so these games are big for both teams.

Notes

  • Miele leads the nation with 54 points in just 30 games.
  • Miami features three of the top 10 scorers in the nation with Miele (54 points) and Carter Camper (47 points) first and second, and Reilly Smith (38 points) in 10th place to pace the RedHawks.
  • Miami and Western Michigan split a series earlier this year in Kalamazoo with the Broncos winning 5-3 on Friday and Miami returning the favor 5-1 on Saturday. The Friday game saw Miami tie the score at 2 after falling behind 2-0, but the Broncos pulled away with three in the third period. On Saturday, Miami dominated from start to finish.
  • Miami leads the series with WMU 52-50-9 but the RedHawks have dominated the series over the past several years and lead 30-20-3 in Oxford.
  • Western Michigan was 8-20-8 last year. New coach Jeff Blashill has the Broncos at 15-6-9 overall this year good enough for fourth in the CCHA.
  • Miami is now tied for 16th in the Pairwise rankings. Two wins against Western Michigan, a team ranked ahead of them, would go a long way to earning the RedHawks another NCAA tournament berth.

>SCSU drops Miami in Florida College Classic Finale

>Estero, Fla. –

The St. Cloud State Huskies defeated the Miami RedHawks 4-3 in the championship of the Florida College Classic on Thursday night. In doing so, the Huskies became the first team from the WCHA to defeat Miami since North Dakota did on October 8, 2005 in the now defunct Lefty McFadden Tournament in Dayton. Additionally, the win was St. Cloud’s first against Miami in the last six contests as Miami is now 4-1-1 vs. SCSU since 2008.

Miami struck first on a goal by junior defenseman Cameron Schilling at 15:41 of the first period but St. Cloud quickly evened the score when Oliver Lauridsen converted on a one-timer just 24 seconds later. That type of quick strike goal coming off a center-ice faceoff would bite Miami again in the third period.

SCSU would score two goals in the second period on just three shots as netminder Connor Knapp was not sharp after a nearly month layoff. The junior from York, N.Y. was tested with just 11 shots on goal but he surrendered four goals on the night.

Leading 3-1 entering the third period, SCSU would win the opening faceoff and tally their fourth goal of the night just 13 seconds into the period.

Miami would attempt a rally cutting the 4-1 deficit to 4-3 within the first five minutes of the third period. Senior Pat Cannone and sophomore Reilly Smith tallied even strength goals but Miami could get no closer falling to 11-6-3 on the season.

For Smith, it was his 13th goal of the campaign tying him for the team lead with senior captain Carter Camper. The emergence of Smith has made it easier for head coach Enrico Blasi to roll four lines with the top two lines carrying significant scoring punch.

Miami returns to action Friday, January 7 with an unusual two-game series at Ohio State. Unusual in the sense that historically the Buckeyes and RedHawks have been paired together in the CCHA’s old “cluster scheduling” format and would typically play home-and-home weekend series. But, with the departure of Nebraska-Omaha for the WCHA, the league schedule has been modified significantly to account for an 11-team league.

Friday’s game will start at 7:35pm at Value City Arena and will be televised nationally by CBS College Sports. Saturday’s finale will faceoff at 7:05pm. Greg Waddell will have the call via Miami All-Access.

Notes

  • For his 1-3-4 line, Reilly Smith was named to the all tournament team.
  • Miami’s series with Ohio State will be the first for new Buckeye head coach Mark Osiecki since he took over for John Markell who’s contract was not renewed following last season.
  • Osiecki is current assisting Yale’s Keith Allain at the World U20 Junior Championship in Buffalo, N.Y. By virtue of winning Group A, Team USA advances to the semifinals on Monday, January 3 at 7:30pm where they will face the winner of the Canada/Switzerland matchup that will be played on Sunday, January 2.
  • Miami is currently rated 9th in the KRACH rankings and tied for 8th in the more important, though perhaps more flawed, Pairwise ratings which closely simulate the figures the NCAA uses to determine the 16 participants in the season-ending national tournament.

>’Hawks defeat Bears 4-1

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photo: Rachel Lewis Photography

Andy Miele scored twice to lead #6 Miami to a
convincing 4-1 victory over #9 Maine

Estero, Fla. –

Miami won the second game of the Florida College Classic over the Maine Black Bears 4-1. Miele, Justin Vaive and Alden Hirschfeld also scored for Miami who move on to tomorrow night’s championship game against a familiar foe, the St. Cloud State Huskies. Miami and St. Cloud played a series in Minnesota in October and played a series last season in Oxford. Miami is 4-0-1 against the Huskies in the last five meetings including a 6-3 win and 1-1 tie early this year. St. Cloud advanced by rallying from a 3-0 deficit to defeat Cornell in the first game.

For the night, Hirschfeld was 1-2-3 and Carter Camper notched an assist for his nations best 36th point of the season. Miele now has 10 goals on the season, second on the team to Camper.

The RedHawks outshot the Black Bears 35-14.

Tomorrow night’s championship game is set for 7:35pm at Germain Arena in Estero, Fla.

>#1 Miami cruises past Lake St. 6-2

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photo: Rachel Lewis Photography

October 29, 2010 – Oxford, Ohio

The #1 ranked Miami RedHawks opened an early 5-0 lead en route to a relatively easy 6-2 victory over Lake Superior State at Steve Cady Arena Friday night.

The RedHawks (5-1-1, 3-0 CCHA), who were averaging nearly five goals per game, did not disappoint with the top line of seniors Carter Camper and Andy Miele and sophomore Reilly Smith leading the way with ten points between them. Camper, the nation’s leading scorer, notched his eighth goal of the season and 20th point in just his first seven games while Miele recorded his second straight four-plus point night with a line of 1-3-4. The reigning national player of the week took over possession of second place in the national scoring race (4-12-16) behind his linemate. And, the real benefactor of playing with these two veteran seniors has been Reilly Smith who tallied his sixth goal of the season and now has a line of 6-3-9 in six games. In 44 games last season as a freshman, Smith had eight goals and 20 points. The Dallas Stars draft pick is doing his best to pick up the scoring void left by the graduation of Jarod Palmer and the early departure of Tommy Wingels for the pros.

Playing their first game without shutdown junior defenseman Will Weber, the RedHawks limited the Lakers to just 18 shots on goal as junior Cody Reichard improved his perfect season record to 4-0. Reichard took a shutout into the final period, but a series of Miami penalties provided plenty of chances for LSSU who went 1 of 6 on the powerplay.

Frankly, Miami played a very sloppy third period but it’s evident early when the legs are going, the RedHawks have greatly improved their speed and puck movement over a year ago. They are playing with unmatched confidence and great skill that will help them against small, speedy teams that have typically given them fits. And, when they finally field a complete, healthy team, they should be a joy to watch this season.

At the start of the final period, and after a lengthy discussion, Miami senior captain Carter Camper was issued a five minute major for kneeing at :44. It was Camper’s first career major penalty and led to a Laker goal from Chad Nehring at 2:14.

Sophomore Curtis McKenzie answered quickly for Miami and reestablished the five goal margin at 6:33. For McKenzie, it was his second goal of the season and an absolutely beautiful finish as he accepted a perfect saucer pass from senior Pat Cannone and roofed a backhander over Laker senior goaltender Brian Mahoney-Wilson.

Miami would take five penalties in the third period and LSSU was able to capitalize late in regulation just after the expiration of another Miami penalty to make it a 6-2 final. The RedHawks must find a way to cut down on penalties which have been a problem over the past several years.

The series with the Lakers concludes tonight at 7pm at Steve Cady Arena in Oxford.

Notes

  • Junior assistant captain Alden Hirschfeld returned to the lineup after missing the last five games due to injury. He picked up where he left off by notching what turned out to be the game-winning goal, his fourth of the season. He now has a line of 4-3-7 in just three games this season.
  • In the aftermath of junior defenseman Will Weber’s neck injury, several Miami players including Carter Camper and Curtis McKenzie wore protective neck guards for perhaps the first time during last night’s game. And others, like Andy Miele and Garrett Kennedy, had them on during warm-ups, presumably to try them out.
  • Camper’s early statistics are eye-popping. He leads the nation in goals (8), assists (12 – tied with Miele) and points (20) after seven games and has a +11 rating.
  • The RedHawks have scored at least four goals in all of their victories and have topped six goals four times this season.
  • Miami’s six goals were scored by six different RedHawks.
  • Miami has outscored its opponents 19-3 over the past three games.
  • The win was Miami’s seventh straight over the Lakers (2-4-1, 0-3 CCHA).

Coverage links

MURedHawks.com

Cincinnati Enquirer

Dayton Daily News

LSSULakers.com

>The Week That Was/The Week That Is

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photo: Rachel Lewis Photography

Oct. 29, 2010 – Oxford, Ohio

The Week That Was

Coming off two consecutive weekends of non-conference action against top ten opponents, Miami opened the defense of their CCHA championship by sweeping winless Northern Michigan by a combined score of 13-1.

In doing so, junior netminder Cody Reichard registered his first shutout of the season blanking the Wildcats 4-0 on Friday night. The shutout was the eighth of Reichard’s career leaving him four behind school leader David Burleigh’s twelve. Reichard also improved his season record to 3-0 with a 2.14 goals against average and .910 save percentage.

However, the real stories of the weekend occurred on Saturday when the RedHawks trounced NMU 9-1.

  • Sophomore Reilly Smith recorded the first hat trick of his career.
  • Seniors Carter Camper and Andy Miele combined for ten points on the evening.
  • For his weekend efforts, Miele (2-7-9) was named national player of the week by Inside College Hockey and the CCHA’s Offensive Player of the Week. In doing so, Miami has claimed the first three weekly offensive awards from the league (Hirschfeld, Camper).
  • Junior Trent Vogelhuber had a nice night scoring his first two goals of the season. The second of which came on a nice wrister to the top shelf.
  • Seniors Pat Cannone (101) and Andy Miele (100) became members of Miami’s 100-point club.
  • Junior goaltender Connor Knapp made 15 saves to earn his first victory of the season evening his record at 1-1-1.

If those accomplishments weren’t enough, the weekend sweep also vaulted the RedHawks back atop both major college hockey polls. Miami is once again the #1 team in the nation and has been for 28 of the past 75 weeks. Since the beginning of last season, Miami has been ranked in the nation’s top four throughout both campaigns.

Then, there was also a “minor” story involving junior defenseman, Will Weber. Weber was injured near the end of the first period when an inadvertent skate blade from Northern Michigan’s senior captain Phil Fox caught him under his cage resulting in a laceration running from beneath his left ear to his chin. The game was stopped with 2:59 remaining in the period to clean blood off the ice from Weber’s injury. The teams went to their respective locker rooms and played the remainder of the first period before changing ends to begin the second period.

Weber, who needed 100 stitches and 15 staples to close the wound was seen back at Goggin Ice Center as soon as Tuesday and Justin Vaive provided us with this look at the injury.

From all accounts it appears Weber will make a full recovery and rejoin the RedHawks sometime in the coming weeks or months. If I had to guess, I’d say we’ll see Weber back after the holiday break, but perhaps sooner.

The Week That Is

Tonight, the #1 Miami RedHawks (4-1-1, 2-0 CCHA) focus their attention back to the ice and take on the Lake Superior State Lakers in a two-game series at Steve Cady Arena in Oxford.

Last season Miami swept the Lakers in Oxford by scores of 2-0 and 10-4. As you may recall, that series was marred by the untimely death of former student manager Brendan Burke on Friday night. And, on Saturday, the RedHawks played with a major burst of emotion overwhelming the Lakers en route to the lopsided victory.

Miami enters the game with the nation’s leading scorer, Carter Camper (7-10-17) propelling an offense that is generating 4.83 goals per game (3rd NCAA) while the Lakers are scoring just 3.17 per night while surrendering 4.17 goals per contest.

Last weekend, the Lakers (2-3-1, 0-2 CCHA) secured their first victories of the season by sweeping Colgate at Taffy Abel Arena in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. LSSU is led offensively by sophomore forward Domenic Monardo (3-3-6), senior forward Rick Schofield (3-5-8) and sophomore defenseman Zach Trotman (3-3-6). In net, the Lakers will be carried by senior Brian Mahoney-Wilson and freshman Kevin Kapalka.

The Lakers are 0-2 away from the Soo.

>RedHawks Knock off St. Cloud 6-3

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Camper’s two goals lead #4 Miami over #11 St. Cloud State

St. Cloud, Minn. – Senior captain Carter Camper tallied on the powerplay and added a shorthanded goal to lead #4 Miami to a 6-3 victory over #11 St. Cloud State.

After surrendering an early first period goal, Miami would recover on the strength of two powerplay goals by senior Andy Miele and sophomore Curtis McKenzie to lead 2-1 after one period. The RedHawks were able to withstand early energy from the Huskies who were playing their home opener after splitting a pair at the Maverick Stampede last weekend in Omaha, Neb. On Friday the Huskies defeated Frozen Four upstart RIT 3-1, but fell to Clarkson 6-2 in Saturday’s finale.

The RedHawks rebounded nicely from a subpar outing last Saturday night against then #10 New Hampshire when they surrendered five second period goals en route to a 6-3 loss at Steve Cady Arena. Though they were outplayed in the first period of tonight’s game, they found themselves ahead 2-1 after one period despite a 12-5 SOG disadvantage.

Miami took control of the game in the second period on the strength of Camper’s powerplay marker and freshman Bryon Paulazzo’s first career goal taking a 4-1 lead into the final period. The RedHawks imposed their will in the second period carrying the play and reversing the SOG deficit by outshooting the Huskies 14-4 in the period.

The Hawks put the game out of reach in the third on goals by Camper and sophomore Reilly Smith, but took five penalties in the frame allowing two Husky powerplay goals during garbage time. Miami needs to clean up their play in order to finish off St. Cloud tomorrow night in the series finale (8pm EST).

Junior netminder Cody Reichard made 21 saves and recorded his second win of the season to run his record to 2-0. For the game, Miami outshot the Huskies 31-24. St. Cloud was 2-7 on the powerplay while Miami converted three of six opportunities with the man advantage.

Notes
– Junior assistant captain Alden Hirschfeld, the reigning CCHA offensive player of the week, did not play this evening and apparently did not make the trip to St. Cloud.
– Camper has five goals already this season in just three games.
– Miami is now 8-1-1 all-time against St. Cloud State.
– The Huskies are coached by former Miami assistant Bob Motzko, a George Gwozdecky disciple. Motzko actually mentored current Miami head coach Enrico Blasi when he was a player for the then Miami Redskins.
– Sophomore defenseman Joe Hartman is making a homecoming this weekend. Hartman is originally from St. Cloud, Minn.
– Curiously, each of Miami’s three games has finished with identical 6-3 scores.

>2010 CCHA Championship Weekend – March 19-20

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Miami captain Tommy Wingels hopes to continue last night’s celebration on the ice in Detroit

Detroit, Mich. (March 19) – The CCHA season has hit its annual end point with the four remaining teams congregating in Detroit for the final weekend of CCHA play. This weekend, three of the top four seeds made it to the Joe for the CCHA Championships including top seeded Miami and #7 seed Michigan who play tonight at 8pm on the Big Ten Network.

#3 Ferris State and #4 Northern Michigan will meet in the first semifinal with the winner advancing to the championship game against either Miami or Michigan.

Miami and Michigan have faced each other twice already this season with Miami sweeping the Wolverines in Ann Arbor 3-1 and 5-1. But, as they say, that was then, this is now.

These Wolverines are 6-2 over their last eight games and just completed a two game sweep of arch rival MSU in East Lansing to earn a berth in the finals weekend. By most accounts, the Wolverines must win the tournament to keep their 19-year streak of NCAA tournament appearances alive. They are playing fast. They are playing smart and strong in front of walk-on goaltender Shawn Hunwick who is 5-1 since taking over for the injured Bryan Hogan. But, Hunwick has yet to face a team as talented as Miami and certainly not under the hot lights of Joe Louis Arena.

Meanwhile, Miami enters tonight’s game secure. They are in the NCAA tournament, but they’d like dearly to hold onto either the #1 overall seed, or at worst, #2 by performing well this weekend. Plus, Miami has never captured the Mason Cup, a feat this team wants badly to accomplish.

Miami has talked about three championships all season. They have the first, the CCHA regular season title. The second is two wins away and the third begins next weekend. Can they do it?

Here’s what College Hockey News had to say about the weekend. Miami has never fared well against Michigan, nor in Joe Louis Arena. I’m optimistic, but won’t be surprised either way.

I’m out. Heading for Detroit.

Go RedHawks!

>Got Hardware?

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Miami takes home a truckload of hardware from
tonight’s CCHA Awards Banquet


Detroit, Mich. (March 18) – The Miami RedHawks, already owners of the 2009-10 CCHA regular season title, took home nearly every individual award at tonight’s CCHA awards banquet held at Detroit’s Fox Theatre.

Cody Reichard – The sophomore netminder from Celina, Ohio was named the CCHA’s Player of the Year besting former Ohio State forward Zac Dalpe and Northern Michigan’s Erik Gustafsson. Reichard, who also garnered Goaltender of the Year honors, finished the the regular season as the CCHA leader in goals-against average (1.23), save percentage (.950), and shutouts (5). He also led the nation in overall GAA (1.48) and winning percentage (.841). MURedHawks.com

Tommy Wingels – The junior was named captain of the RedHawks at the beginning of the season and was tonight named the CCHA’s Best Defensive Forward. Wingels was +12 in CCHA action consistently seeing time against the opposition’s number one line.

Will Weber – Sophomore and CBJ draft pick Weber was honored as the CCHA’s Best Defensive Defenseman. Weber is 6’4″ and 200 pounds and will be solid contributor for the Blue Jackets. He has a smooth skating stride and is very fast for such a big man. What’s more? Weber has a mean streak to go along with that size and is a big hitter.

Enrico Blasi – Miami’s head coach was named the CCHA’s Coach of the Year for the fourth time in eleven seasons at Miami. Blasi led the RedHawks to their third CCHA regular season title with a remarkable 21-2-5 conference record including a 23-game unbeaten streak in league play.

Congratulations to the RedHawks! Now bring home the Mason Cup!