Category Archives: Connor Knapp

>RedHawks’ Survive First Round of Cuts

>Connor Knapp and Chris Wideman have survived the first round of cuts at the USA Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, New York. The RedHawk sophomores are just two of the remaining 29 players selected by USA and UNO head coach Dean Blais to remain in camp. The original roster of 42 players was trimmed on Sunday evening.

“We kept five defensive pairs and five forward lines, and all of them will have a chance to show what they can do against Russia,” Blais said. “Even after this camp ends, we will continue to evaluate all of these players…”

Team USA will take on Russia four times this week (Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday) at the Olympic Center, in Lake Placid. Invitees are hoping to earn a spot on the U.S. National Junior Team that will take part in the 2010 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship, Dec. 26, 2008-Jan. 5, 2009, in Saskatoon and Regina, Saskatchewan.

To view the current US roster, click here.

(Photo Credits: Rachel Lewis)

Advertisements

>There’s A Draft In Here…

>The 2009 NHL Entry Draft has wrapped up from Montreal and four future, or present RedHawks had their names called.

The first to go, was 2010 commit Reilly Smith, a winger, drafted by the Dallas Stars in the third round (69 overall). Smith, who played last season for the St. Michael’s Buzzers in the OJHL, was originally ranked at number 158 on the NHL’s Central Scouting list. His selection at 69 is a jump of 89 spots. AT 6’0, 157 Smith has good size, but desperately needs to fill out a his frame. Dallas made it clear that the wing was an area of concern, selecting 4 wingers out of 5 picks.

Next to go, was sophomore defenseman Chris Wideman, selected by the Ottawa Senators in the fourth round (100 overall). Wideman, who quarterbacked the CCHA’s second best powerplay in 2009, will surely be on the Sens “watch list,” as they’re steadily rebuilding a solid D-corps. His puck moving abilities are a must have on every NHL roster. Look for Wideman to continue to improve in the following years.

No action for Miami in the fifth round, however another winger, Curtis McKenzie, set to join the ‘Hawks in the Fall, was also taken by the Dallas Stars, only in round 6 at 159 overall. He led the Penticton Vees of the BCHL in scoring this season, with 33 goals and 41 assists. McKenzie is considered to be a two-way power forward who is strong in front of the net and in the corners, but can also score goals and has great size for that, at 6’2, 192.

Last to be taken was sophomore goaltender Connor Knapp, by the Buffalo Sabres in round 6, 164 overall, just five spots down from McKenzie. Knapp was ranked number 19 on the list of 31 North American goalies that are draft eligible. In his freshman campaign, Knapp posted a 13-5-3 record and a 2.09 goals against average and will fit nicely in a Buffalo organization with a dwindling supply of ‘tenders in the system. Knapp, along with Wideman, will be attending the USA World Junior Evaluation Camp in August.

>Knapp Ranked 7th Best College Prospect

>With the NHL draft just two short weeks away, Hockey’s Future has once again reviewed the top 10 NCAA draft-eligible prospects. While Minnesota forward Jordan Schroeder is the unanimous top prospect (and a top 15 pick, at least), Miami sophomore goaltender Connor Knapp cracks the list at number 7. Here’s the writeup:

Knapp was half of one of the nation’s best goaltending tandems this season. Though he played in just one post-season game, Knapp was an integral part of the RedHawks success this season. He was named to the CCHA All-Rookie team after posting a 13-5-3 record that included three shutouts in 23 games.

Knapp is a towering goaltender that is remarkably agile. He utilizes his large frame very well and is excellent in his positioning. Knapp’s rebound control, especially on second and third opportunities, is also quite good. He possesses good lateral movement too. Knapp is very focused and poised in playing his position. Though his puck handling has improved over the course of the season, it is an area that he will need to continue to work on to be successful at the next level.

Miami assistant coach Brent Brekke on Knapp: “The one thing that Connor did a great job in was just changing his habits. Connor’s very dedicated in all aspects of his life. He’s a pretty detailed kid, which I think really indicates why he has made such big strides. He’s also taken that extra step in getting himself into peak condition to become a better goalie. Connor is a kid that takes care of the little details like a pro.”

I should also point out that Knapp was ranked 19th out of 30 North American goaltenders by NHL Central Scouting. Miami sophomore defenseman Chris Wideman was listed as a “notable.”

Click here to see which other NCAA players made the list.

>Awards Banquet Recap

>While I wasn’t able to attend the end of season banquet at the Shriver Center last night, I did receive several e-mails from people that did attend, so thanks for those. Here are a few notes from last night’s festivities, including which RedHawks took home which awards:

Blue Line Club Award: Gary Steffes

Rookie of the Year: Connor Knapp and Cody Reichard

Outstanding Offensive Player: Carter Camper

Outstanding Defensive Player: Kevin Roeder

Steve Cady Most Improved Player Award: Brandon Smith

Scholar Athlete Award: Michael Findorff, Bill Loupee, Alex Lacombe, Justin Mercier, Brian Kaufman, Kevin Roeder

Berry Family Outstanding Senior Award: Brian Kaufman

Jim Grant “7th Man” Award: MU Assistant Athletic Director Josh Fenton

Gary DeLonge Most Valuable Player Award: Carter Camper

– A banner raising ceremony looks to be in the works at the beginning of next season to honor the team’s accomplishments and participation in the Frozen Four.

– Former RedHawk defenseman Alec Martinez was said to be in attendance at last night’s banquet.

Thanks again to all who e-mailed with a recap!

>The RedHawks & NHL Central Scouting

>One current RedHawk and two future RedHawks have found themselves on the NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings list. Freshman goaltender Connor Knapp was ranked number 19 on the list of 31 North American goalies that are draft eligible. In his freshman campaign, Knapp posted a 13-5-3 record and a 2.09 goals against average.

Also on the list were “RedHawks to be” Curtis McKenzie and Reilly Smith. McKenzie, set to join The Brotherhood in the fall, checked in at number 89 on the list of 210 skaters. He led the Penticton Vees in scoring this season, with 33 goals and 41 assists.

Smith, a 2010 commit, was further down on the list, at number 158.

>Wideman, Knapp Make All-Rookie Team

>The CCHA All-Rookie team has been announced…and two RedHawk newbies have made the cut. Freshman defenseman Chris Wideman (my personal favorite) and goaltender Connor Knapp were selected to the annual squad.

Here’s the book on Wideman:

Chris Wideman, a 19-year-old defenseman from St. Louis, Missouri, and Miami University led all CCHA rookie rearguards with 22 points, finishing third among all rookies and third among all CCHA defensemen. Wideman’s 22 assists in 27 conference games was best among rookies and tied for second place overall. He finished second among rookies with 14 power-play points, sixth overall, and was named CCHA Rookie of the Week once.
And Knapp:

Connor Knapp, a 18-year-old goaltender from York, New York, and Miami University, posted a 12-3-2 record in conference games, third among CCHA netminders and first among rookies with a .765 winning percentage. Knapp’s 2.02 goals-against average was second among rookies, fifth overall and he placed third among freshmen netminders with a .908 save percentage.

Congratulations to both! I’m certainly looking forward to seeing Knapp get more time between the pipes next season, and the remainder of this season as well. As for Wideman, this kid can run a power play with the best of them. I love watching his play on special teams.

>Knapp Ranked a Top 7 NCAA Pick

>Over at Hockey’s Future, the prognosticating for the 2009 NHL Entry Draft has already begun, and while the NCAA crop isn’t very deep, HF has identified seven NCAA players that could go early, come draft day. It was a nice surprise to see Connor Knapp mentioned:

At 6’5, Knapp certainly stands out. But his size isn’t the only impressive thing about the RedHawks rookie netminder. His athleticism is really quite remarkable for such a big man. He is also very focused and does an outstanding job of following plays and staying square to shooters.

Knapp has been splitting time with fellow freshman Cody Reichard, continuing a growing trend of superb goaltenders manning the nets for the RedHawks. The York, NY native has appeared in nine games thus far, posting a 7-1-1 record that includes one shutout. His 1.77 GAA ranks 11th in the nation, while his .924 save percentage ranks 22nd. He earned his lone CCHA Rookie of the Week honor back on Nov. 17.

Do you expect Knapp to be picked? What NHL teams could use a blue chip goaltending prospect in their system?

>What a First Half!

>Wow…what a conclusion to the first half to the season, with a 7-1 win over RPI today. I think the question of “is this a rebuilding year or a reloading year” has most certainly been answered, given our play thus far. I for one would have never thought we’d be one point out of first place in the CCHA, with a 12-3-3 record and four consecutive weekend sweeps going into the New Year. What a nice surprise that is!

So now, without further ado, here are my first half awards, complete with cheesy names:

Gary DeLonge Most Valuable Player Award: Carter Camper, SO, 11 goals, 15 assists

Top Newcomer Award: Chris Wideman, D, 0 goals, 15 assists, +8 rating

Bobby Marshall Defensive Player of the Year: Kevin Roeder, 1 goal, 1 assist, + 6 rating

SDS Pizza Most Improved Player: Gary Steffes, JR, 6 goals, 5 assists, + 13 rating

Rich Shulmistra Goaltender of the Year Award: Connor Knapp, FR, 7-1-1, 1.77 GAA

So, there you have it. Our ‘Hawks are off until 2009, where they’ll meet the Clarkson Golden Knights, along with Army or Ohio State at the Ohio Hockey Classic, in Columbus. In the new year, the RedHawks get right back into it with a weekend series at Michigan, followed by a Michigan State homestand and then a trip out west to Omaha to take on the Mavericks. Another thing to keep in mind: The end of season home and home with Ohio State may indeed have meaning this year, as the Buckeyes, led by the stellar play of Dustin Carlson, are lurking in 6th place in the CCHA with a record of 11-6-1. I certainly didn’t see John Markell getting 11 wins out of that team the entire season. It’s sure to be a great matchup, come late February.

The CCHA standings have also been updated on the top left corner of this page. As you’re aware, there are some major surprises this season in the league. Here are my top three:

1. Michigan State (4-11-3)
– The Spartans were picked to be near the top of the CCHA, led by veteran goaltender and team captain, Jeff Lerg. This young MSU squad is 0-9-1 in their last 10 games. Next up for the Spartans, the Great Lakes Invitational on December 26.

2. Northern Michigan (3-10-3)
– The Wildcats have also been struggling as of late, going just 1-7-2 in their last 10 (not counting an exhibition win over the USNDTP this weekend). Projected fourth in the preseason coaches’ poll, Walt Kyle’s ‘Cats have quickly fallen out of CCHA title contention and will most assuredly go on the road for the first round of the playoffs.

3. Ohio State (11-6-1)
– One of the hottest teams in the country now…imagine that, the Buckeyes! OSU has strung together a 9-1 record in their last 10 with a solid weekend sweep in November over a very good Nebraska-Omaha squad. In the new year, conference play for the ‘Bucks has tight matchups at Bowling Green, at Ferris State, home with Western Michigan, and a long trip to Alaska. OSU is certainly a team to watch and very well could make it’s way into a top 4 finish.

Who would you hand out awards to, based on first-half play?

>Knapp Showcases His Mask

>CBS College Sports has put together a neat feature on Connor Knapp, in which he reveals the inspiration behind the paint job on his mask.

You can check it out by clicking here.

>Knapp Honored as CCHA Rookie of the Week

>Link

Connor Knapp picked up the second rookie of the week award of the season for Miami University and his first conference weekly award of his career.

Knapp earned the award with his Perani Cup first-star performance against then-No.17 Michigan State on Nov. 15 at Munn Ice Arena. Knapp posted 23 saves and only allowed one goal en route to his fourth win of the season, all against CCHA foes. The freshman lowered his goals against average for the fourth consecutive game and has only allowed three goals in his last four games. Corey Tropp scored at 11:49 of the third period and ended Knapp’s streak of three consecutive periods of shutout hockey. Knapp went 85:26 without allowing a goal. His biggest save of the night came in the second period when Tropp looked like he had a great opportunity to even the score at one, but Knapp made a solid kick save and preserved the lead for Miami.

The RedHawks are not just a one man operation in the net. Fellow freshman goalie Cody Reichard is also one of the conferences’ top goalies. Both Knapp and Reichard hold goals-against averages below two, and both have save percentages above 92-percent. Together they have helped Miami to a 1.88 goals against average on the season. The two have played so evenly that they are tied for 12th in the Perani Cup standings. Both have a first star and a second star to their credit. On the campaign Miami has split time evenly between the two net minders as Reichard has handled all the Friday starts and Knapp all the games on Saturday.