Category Archives: Justin Vaive

2011-12 Season Preview: Miami RedHawks Forwards

Over the next few days, we’ll preview the 2011-12 Miami RedHawks for you. We start with the Forwards today. Enjoy!

Returning stars (with Twitter handle, NHL Rights)

  • Reilly Smith (@muckbro18, DAL) led the team in goals last year with 28, to go along with 26 assists. If it weren’t for 2 super-seniors, this guy is your MVP of the 2010-11 RedHawks.  Reilly was a unanimous pick to the preseason First-Team All CCHA (9/27) after an outstanding sophomore campaign in which he led the CCHA in +/- rating at +27.  He finished the year with several honors including First team all-CCHA, CCHA all-Tournament Team, College Hockey News Second-Team All-America and INCH Third-Team All-America. We are all hoping that Reilly’s scoring wasn’t inflated by Andy Miele’s presence last year and that he will carry over last year’s success into this year.
  • Senior Co-Captain Alden Hirschfeld’s (@aldenhirschfeld, undrafted) 12 goals-14 assists — 26 total points line last year didn’t show much of the story. The kid scores big goals.  Alden scored the game-winning goal in double overtime against Michigan in the Midwest Regional Final in 2010, and 1 each in NCAA tournament games against Denver (round of 16) and Bemidji State (Frozen Four) in 2009. Point totals have been 6, 14 and 26 in his first three years in Oxford. He netted two goals in Miami’s exhibition win over Windsor on Sunday.
  • Trent Vogelhuber (@tvogelhuber, CBJ) and Curtis McKenzie (@muckbro16, DAL) will be counted on to mentor the 6 incoming Freshmen forwards.

2011-12 Rookies (Twitter handle, NHL Rights)
These guys are easily Miami’s best recruiting class ever. Scoring. Size. Speed. Scoring. Two-way ability. Toughness. Filthy hands. Did I mention scoring ability?

  • Tyler Biggs (@Tyler_Biggs, TOR) Listed at 6’3″, 210 pounds, Tyler should make a great replacement for Justin Vaive and provide a much higher scoring punch. In the words of our friend, Miami Women’s Club Hockey Head Coach Scott Hicks: “He’s not as big as weber. He just provides a completely different dynamic than vaive. He is more of a playmaker with a scoring touch than just a goal scorer.”  High praise for this youngster.
  • Cody Murphy (n/a, undrafted) – Played for the Tri-City Storm last year, where he served as assistant captain, and recorded 25 points on 11 goals and 14 assists in 60 games.
  • Jimmy Mullin (n/a, TB) – registered 3 shots in the exhibition. In his one season in the USHL, Jimmy played for the Fargo Force, scoring 60 points on 23 goals and 37 assists in 52 games as he was named first team All-USHL.
  • Blake Coleman (@BColes25, NJD)- 13 shots on goal in the exhibition (6 in the first, 7 in the third). Blake will get on the scoring sheet, and should do so often.  Blake played 59 games for the Indiana Ice last season, and had an incredible 92 points on 34 goals and 58 assists in being named the USHL’s Player of the Year.
  • Austin Czarnik (n/a, undrafted) Considered a steal for the RedHawks, as he was originally committed to Michigan State, de-committed and came to Oxford. Let’s hope he stays a few years. His speed and determination will be gamechangers for Miami as we battle east coast squads and move into the NCHC over the coming years.
  • Alex Wideman (@awides10, undrafted) Under-sized, but according to some, has possibly the most upside of all the incoming forwards. His speed and savvy will be an asset as he could have the best overall career of any of this freshman class.
There are a lot of connections from these guys to active upperclassmen. Of course we know about Alex and Chris Wideman being brothers. But in addition, Alex, Blake Coleman, Max Cook and Bryon Paulazzo all played together at the same time for the Indiana Ice in 2009-10.

Key Losses

  • Pat Cannone. Third leading scorer at 14-23–37 in 2010-11, and someone who scored 30 or more points EACH of his 4 years in Oxford totaling 133 career points. Sure the next two guys are hard to swallow, but this one is equally as hard.
  • Some other guy named Carter Camper. 19-38–57 in 2010-11, 4o+ points per season (41, 42, 43, 57). Captain. ‘Nuff said.
  • Oh yeah… I think I forgot someone… Hobey Baker Award Winner Andy Miele… 24 Goals, 47 Assists. 71 total points last season and 170 career points as a ‘Hawk.  Gone.  Poof.

Total scoring lost: 5 seniors (Cannone, Camper, Miele, Justin Vaive 9-7–16, and defenseman Vincent LoVerde 2-7–9), 70-122–192. 48% of goals scored last year.  A total of 523 total points out of 4 guys over 4 seasons.  Makes you think back to the amazing times we’ve enjoyed in the Goggin since 2007.

Predictions
Well, let’s not get too excited, but I don’t think the RedHawks will lose much production on offense. These guys are more than capable of picking up the slack where the 4 departing seniors left things after last year.  The Media and Coaches seem to think the same, picking Miami #2 in the CCHA preseason polls and #1/2 in the National Polls, and you can’t do that unless you’re expected to reload.

The gun’s loaded and cocked. Let’s see how things shake down on Friday night!!! 3 days left until Regular Season HOCKEY!!!

>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

>Start the Memorizing…

>The 2008-2009 roster has been posted over at the official athletic website. A few notes:

– Justin Vaive will now wear #22, his dad Rick’s number from his days in the NHL

– Andy Miele will wear number 17 from now on.

– Two Miami players will wear their numbers for the first time in the program’s history. Trent Vogelhuber (13) and Connor Knapp (31) are wearing those jersey numbers for the first time.

Here are the new sweater numbers for the incoming freshman and the last Miami player to wear the number:

4- Will Weber (Brad Robbins, 2004-2008)
5- Cameron Schilling (Charley Fetzer, 2004-2008)
6- Chris Wideman (Jon Saunders, 2003-2005)
13- Trent Vogelhuber (First)
23- Alden Hirschfeld (Andy Greene, 2002-2006)
27- Matt Tomassoni (Justin Vaive, 2007-2008)
30- Cody Reichard (Nick Petraglia, 2001-2004)
31- Connor Knapp (First)

Personally, I don’t think number 17, in honor of Brian Savage, should ever be worn again after Miele leaves, especially since it has been…pseudo-retired. As for number 26, I don’t know about it being officially “retired,” but I think that it should be a year or two before it’s worn again. (Similar to what the Reds have done with numbers 11 and 14).