Category Archives: Reilly Smith

Barber, Czarnik earn Player of the Month Honors

It is becoming “old hat” to see RedHawks taking player of the week or month honors (think Reilly Smith – 3 POTM awards in 2011-12, Andy Miele twice and Carter Camper once in 2010-11, Czarnik as rookie of the month last season, and Cody Reichard AND Connor Knapp were each Goalie of the month winners last year). This afternoon, we continue that trend as the CCHA has announced that 2 young RedHawks have earned awards in October.

Riley Barber, sporting a 5 game point streak with 4 goals and 4 assists earned the Gongshow Rookie of the Month award. Barber is tied for the league lead in scoring through 3 weekends, and has been the leader of the RedHawks 11 freshman – 10 of which have seen ice time already in this young season. Seeing as though this is his first month in the CCHA, it’s also his first monthly CCHA honor – not a bad start for the youngster. Barber was also named CCHA Rookie of the week for the week of October 22nd.

In addition to Barber’s honor, Austin Czarnik earned the CCHA Player of the Month award for his outstanding play in October. “Z” has also tallied 8 points on the season, with 3 goals to go along with his league leading 5 assists. His three goals are of three different varieties, having scored one even strength goal, a power play goal and a short-handed goal thus far. The Sophomore didn’t earn any player of the week honors for the month, but was clearly the RedHawks leader on the ice, looking very Andy Miele-like all month.

Our Congrats go out to Riley and Austin!

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Analysis: One Warrior’s take on the NCAA Tournament’s first weekend

For this Redskin Warrior, a sense of optimism and hope comes along with the tournament brackets for once. Teams like the evil empires BC and BU are nowhere to be found (until the finals, anyway), other teams are missing key components, and momentum from a strong finish seems to be on our side. There are 9 teams that made the tournament in 2011, and 6 teams that have never won the whole thing.

Here are my picks and thoughts on the weekend ahead…

Northeast Region: #1 overall – Boston College, Minnesota-Duluth, Maine, Air Force

Let’s start in Worcester, where BC will undoubtedly have issues with Air Force. The Atlantic Hockey Champion has given teams fits in the last few NCAA tournaments. Last year, the Air Force Academy took the #1 overall seed Yale to overtime. 2 years ago, RIT took down another #1 seed in Denver, then blew out New Hampshire to make its first ever Frozen Four.

Even though BC has won 15 in a row, I still think Air Force comes in with the experience of last year’s tournament and gives them quite a fight. They are over sized and over matched on paper, but you can never discount the heart of the Falcons on the field or on the ice. BC in a tight one, maybe even in overtime again.

On the other side, you have the defending National Champions in the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs taking on the Maine Black Bears – Hockey East’s runner-up. If Maine’s Hobey Baker candidate and the nation’s top goal-scorer Spencer Abbott doesn’t play, I think they are 1 and done. If he plays (his status is currently “questionable”), this is a game to watch. I think the ‘Dogs come out on top in either scenario, however.

In the regional final, look for a titanic battle between the last 2 National Champions. BC’s size and speed will overpower UMD and make it to the Frozen Four again.

West Region: #4 overall – North Dakota, Minnesota, Boston University, Western Michigan

Congratulations, Western Michigan! You’ve won the CCHA Tournament, arguably the best conference in NCAA hockey this year. Here’s the Mason Cup, and you get North Dakota as your victory prize!

All kidding aside, I think the Broncos ride their Mason Cup win to a good showing. However, North Dakota has won 3 straight WCHA Playoff tournaments – something no other team has ever done, and they’ve been here before. NoDak moves on in this matchup.

In the early game in St. Paul, the home town team is matched up with Boston University. The Minnesota Golden Gophers make their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2008. For one of the flagship programs of college hockey, this is somewhat remarkable, and in that time, 29 teams have made the NCAA tournament since Minnesota last did. Can you beat my score of guessing 24 of those 29 teams?

Minnesota, this region’s host, should have about 15,000 of the capacity 18,064 fans in the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, and I have no doubt this will help propel them to a victory.  Don’t count out BU, however. In a battle between head coaches who have 5 total national championships between them (Lucia – 2, Parker 3), I’ll take Minnesota.

This creates a rematch of a conference tournament that we just saw last week, and ironically, it happens in the exact same building.  Last Friday, North Dakota quickly went down 3-0, but rallied and scored 6 unanswered goals to move on. This coming Friday, I predict a different story, and Minnesota heads to Tampa.

Midwest Region: #2 overall – Michigan, Ferris State, Denver, Cornell

Michigan extends its NCAA tournament appearance streak to 22 years in a row – all of them under head coach Red Berenson – and will face the Cornell Big Red, whom Michigan met in the first year of the streak. While Cornell has 18 total wins on the season, Michigan has 18 wins against TUC’s this year. ‘Nuff said. Michigan big.

On the other half, a much depleted Denver squad comes in for its 5th straight trip to the NCAA tournament. The Pioneers could be missing their best player in Jason Zucker, and head coach George Gwozdecky is preparing for the weekend as if they do not have their leading goal-scorer. They will take on a Ferris State squad that was unexpectedly bounced by Bowling Green in round 2 of the CCHA Playoffs, and has only been to the NCAA tournament one other time (2003) in their history. I’m taking Ferris State, here, but they’ll run into a much more stern task in the regional final.

If the 2 CCHA teams prevail in Green Bay, this pits the #1 vs #2 teams from the conference against each other. Ferris State lost 7 times during the CCHA regular season this year, and two of them were to Michigan. I don’t think Ferris State has the star power to overcome Michigan, and Michigan makes it to their second straight Frozen Four.

East Region: #3 overall – Union, Miami, UMass – Lowell, Michigan State

Of the 4 brackets in this year’s tournament, I don’t think Miami could have drawn a better grouping. They don’t have to face Michigan, North Dakota, or either of the Minnesotas OR Bostons. Nice work, selection committee!

In the early game, Michigan State – the last team in the tournament – takes on the ECAC winner, the Union Dutchmen. A school of only 2,000, who is lead by first-year coach Rick Bennett, looks for their first-ever win in the NCAA tournament.  I think they get it this year, as Michigan State is reeling. As we know, they fell 6-0 and 4-1 in Oxford 2 weekends ago, and have a bit of a goalie controversy. Also in his first year, Head Coach Tom Anastos will need to find something for either Drew Palmisano or Will Yanakeff to build on from those embarassing losses. Michigan State is going to be coming off of a bye, those 2 big losses, and another “bye” week, so they are going to be rusty as well. The ECAC Champs from Schenectady, NY (that’s fun to say) take this one handily.

We’ll have some more for you on the Miami vs. UML game later in the week, but I will tease you with this fact from our Sunday #SixPack from this past weekend. Despite the youth on this team, Miami will be the bigger and stronger team. UML’s largest player is just 6′ 1″ tall. Miami averages that in height, with 13 players plus Connor Knapp coming in at 6′ 1″ or taller. It might look like a scene from one of my favorite hockey movies with the size advantage Miami will have on the ice. In any event, the New York Rangers RedHawks take down the scrubs from Mystery, Alaska River Hawks and move on to face Union.

The Regional Final will be a hard fought battle, but I’m confident that Miami will be back on track after a big win on Friday night and will carry the momentum to Tampa where I’ll get to see the RedHawks take on Michigan in the National Semifinals.

To recap, that’s BC against Minnesota on one side, and Michigan vs Miami in the other half of the bracket. Post your picks in the comments below and we’ll see how things turn out this weekend. IS IT FRIDAY YET?!?!?!

Both Miami Goalies Take Home CCHA Hardware, Smith a Hobey Finalist

At last Thursday’s CCHA Awards Banquet, 2 RedHawks took home some hardware on the night. Miami didn’t take home some of the awards we’ve grown accustomed to winning (defensive defenseman, CCHA POTY), but last night was still a success for 2 Miami Seniors.

For the on-ice awards, despite only receiving Honorable Mention for the All-CCHA teams, Senior Connor Knapp took home the goaltender of the year. Somewhere along the lines, the voters changed their minds and moved Knapp from the third best goalie in the league to the best, jumping over .  With his stats in 2012, you can understand why – I would have changed my mind as well. 16 games, 10-5-0 record, 1.41 goals against average, .945 save percentage, and don’t forget those 5 shutouts on the season and 13 career shutouts – a Miami record.

Reilly smith won this year’s Perani Cup, given to the player with the most nominations as one of the “3 stars of the game” in conference play. Check out the standings here, and you’ll see that he beat out this weekend’s opposing goalie Frank Slubowski for the award.

Jumping off of the ice now, we turn to Senior goaltender Cody Reichard. We know about Cody’s efforts with Swoop’s Stoop, and his hard work off the ice has also payed of. Reichard won the prestigious Ilitch Humanitarian Award, which is given to a player “who had tremendous philanthropic efforts.” Tremendous philanthropic efforts… that doesn’t even begin to describe Cody’s work with Swoop’s Stoop. Congratulations Cody on this award, and we hope we get to see a Lowe’s Senior CLASS award on your mantle as well!

In addition to yesterday’s CCHA Awards Banquet, the Hobey Baker Award Committee announced its 10 Finalists for the 2012 Player of the Year Award. Reilly Smith made the top 10 list, marking the 5th time in the last 6 years that Miami has had a Hobey Baker Award Finalist. Of the 10 finalists, 3 will be named to the Hobey Hat Trick, invited to Tampa Bay and the Frozen Four, and will be eligible to win the award.

Here’s a list of the finalists all-time for the Redskins/RedHawks.

  • Reilly Smith, 2012
  • Andy Miele, 2011 Winner
  • Carter Camper, 2011
  • Cody Reichard, 2010
  • Ryan Jones, 2008 – also a Hobey Hat Trick member
  • Nathan Davis, 2007
  • Andy Green, 2006
  • Derek Edwardson, 2004
  • Dan Boyle, 1998
  • Randy Robitaille, 1997
  • Brian Savage, 1993

Sorry for the late posting on this…It was a long weekend for the Warriors!

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 muredhawks.com:

  • 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: wmubroncos.com)
  • 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: muredhawks.com)
  • 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.

‘Hawks Send Seniors Out With Win, Knapp Earns Shutout

Apparently Senior Goaltender Connor Knapp felt a little left out when his counterpart Cody Reichard got his 12th shutout of his career a couple weeks ago. Junior Forward Reilly Smith scored twice, Freshman Blake Coleman added his 10th of the year, and Freshman Jimmy Mullin had 2 assists on the night to lead Miami to a crisp 3-0 throttling of Ohio State, their 5th win in a row.

With the win, Miami jumps up a spot in the CCHA Standings, and has guaranteed itself a first round bye in the CCHA tournament. Tonight, things finish up for the regular season, and with some help Miami could finish as high as 2nd, or as low as 5th. More on this to come.

Since Reichard’s 12th shutout on January 28th against Northern Michigan, Connor Knapp has only turned up the dial on his unbelievable season. The shutout is his 4th of the season, but all 4 have come in 2012. Knapp, Rechard and David Burleigh all sit with 12 shutouts in their careers at Miami. It’s pretty impressive to think that Cody and Connor have each tied this Miami record while splitting time in net, and Knapp should have his first chance to break the record tonight in Columbus.

While Connor Knapp continues to streak in net, Reilly Smith is proving that he is good at hockey as well. Smith had the first 2 goals of the night. That makes 25 goals on the season – best in the CCHA, and second in the country. He also leads the country in game winning goals with 8 and is now averaging more than a point per game.

On the night, Ohio State’s Cal Heeter really stood on his head for much of the game. After the opening goal with 3:16 left in the first, the crowd was sitting on their hands for a good portion of the evening. Heeter stopped 15 shots in the second period, coming up with some highlight-reel saves on Seniors Trent Vogelhuber and Patrick Tiesling, as both had breakaway chances.

After nearly 40 minutes of scoreless hockey, however, the seive returned, and Reilly had his second of the night on an wrister from the right faceoff dot to give Miami an insurance goal. Freshman forward Blake Coleman finshed off the night with a goal that hit off of Heeter’s stick, pad and shoulder, and popped up over his head and into the net.

Special teams stayed strong for the ‘Hawks as well, as they went 5 for 5 on the penalty kill. Ohio State managed to stay out of the penalty box except for 2 penalties, but there were several blatant no-calls from the night’s officiating crew. I’ll keep my comments to myself on the interference calls that Miami kept getting called for but were not called the other way.

After last night, Miami is now 17-5-1 when scoring first, and a staggering 16-1-0 when holding a lead going into the third period. They have now shut out their opponents 6 times. Despite the record-tying shutout, Connor Knapp is still focused on getting wins. After the game, he told muredhawks.com and the media “It’s a nice accomplishment for both of us (Reichard) but you’re not worried about shutouts. The biggest thing at this point in the season is the wins, so I’m just happy to get the win tonight.”

After the game, Miami’s 10 seniors were honored for their years of work in the Goggin. We’ll have more for you on each of the seniors as the season winds down, but I will say this: this may be a tougher group of seniors to lose than last year’s group of 5, even with a Hobey Baker Winner

Miami looks for the sweep tonight at 7:05 in Value City Arena in Columbus. You can catch the game for a fee on BTN.com if you won’t be joining 2 of the Redskin Warriors (Alex and Beef) tonight in person.

Weekend Preview: Northern Michigan

After a nice HUGE weekend sweep of Western Michigan, where 3 RedHawks made the CCHA Player of the Week roll, Miami welcomes the Northern Michigan Wildcats to Oxford. The ‘Cats swept Miami on December 2-3, 2011 with a 2-1 victory on Friday night and a dominating 5-1 victory the following night.

The standings look a little different for this week’s matchup than they did just 1 week ago, but let’s take a look back where things stood on December 2. On that date, Northern Michigan stood 2-5-1 plus an additional 2 shootout wins. NMU was reeling, having come off of a pair of 4-1 losses at Ohio State, as well as a split at home against Michigan State. The Wildcats were getting pushed around, and Walt Kyle’s team was heading towards the bottom of the league.

Rico Blasi’s squad was also having an interesting go of it. After the 2-6 start of the season, Miami had turned things around, having won 2  games with a score of 2-1 in Alaska, then took 5 of 6 possible points against #4 Michigan, 4 of 6 against BGSU (both in Oxford), and then went to Denver to win the Denver Cup over Providence (6-2) and #9 Denver (4-2). The ‘Hawks had just finished November 6-0-2 and had swept the CCHA Monthly Awards for November.  The first weekend in December was certainly one to forget for the Miami faithful, and after the holiday break, Miami sat in NMU’s position – 9th in the CCHA.

Flash forward almost 2 months, and you have the #17 ranked RedHawks on a tear.  Miami comes off of a sweep of then #8 Western Michigan, a team previously on fire, and is 5-1 in 2012.  Miami sits in a tie for 2nd, just 2 points behind Ohio State in the ever-crowded CCHA standings.  #19 ranked Northern Michigan comes to Oxford stuttering, having gone 2-1-2-0 in the new year, with both ties being shootout losses. Having won last weekend at Michigan Tech in a non-conference matchup, the Wildcats have some catching up to do in the conference standings. Currently 9th, the Cats are sitting with 25 CCHA points, putting them just 6 points out of a tie for 5th and a first-round CCHA Playoff bye.  Having played 2 less games than many of the top teams will help the Cats gain ground, but they will be need to be willing to throw all 9 lives out on the ice this weekend to gain those precious CCHA points.

With 16 underclassmen on the roster, NMU’s season has been successful thus far. Senior Captain Tyler Gron leads the way as expected with 11 goals and 16 assists on the year. He is the reigning RBC Player of the Month for the CCHA. The ‘Cats only current draft pick is Senior Justin Florek (Boston).  He leads the team with 13 goals on the season and 21 points overall, and also has 8 career points in 11 games against Miami. Stopping this duo will certainly be a focus point for Rico’s boys this week in practice.

NMU Head Coach Walt Kyle is is 187-161-43 all time in his current post.  Kyle has been doing his best Rico Blasi impersonation this season, rotating games between Senior Reid Ellingson and Sophomore Jared Coreau in between the pipes.  Both have played 14 games, with Ellingson going 4-5-3 and Coreau sporting a 7-3-2 record.  If ever there was a goaltending conundrum, this would be the game.

You’ve seen our take on the Miami goaltending situation, and Walt Kyle has a similar difficult choice ahead of him this weekend.  Ellingson has started most Friday nights for Kyle, and Coreau most Saturday nights including last Saturday’s 5-2 non-conference victory at Michigan Tech.  Ellingson last played on January 13th against Michigan State, where he allowed 4 goals before being pulled in favor of Coreau under 8 minutes into the second period.  Don’t be surprised if Kyle goes with a hot hand in Jared Coreau, December’s Gongshow CCHA Goaltender of the Month, to try and take a few points out of Oxford.

Fearless Predictions:
Will Miami come off of the WMU weekend and slip up and lose focus with another big weekend ahead? Will Northern Michigan be able to show they belong in the CCHA playoffs discussion?
I don’t think so. I look for Connor Knapp to start both games again, and Miami has a weekend similar to the last time the Cats came to Oxford. Last year, Miami swept NMU back to Marquette by a combined 13-1 score.

Miami 4-1 and 5-1 and pulls to an even 12-12-2 against NMU all-time in Oxford.

Notes

– Here is Pete Conrad’s take on the weekend’s series at the Dayton Daily News

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)

 

Notes

– 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.

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 Dominates in the D

>Detroit, Mich. – Well, my predictions were actually pretty good…for once.

CCHA Player of the Year Andy Miele had 2 goals and 2 assists and Hobey Baker finalist Carter Camper had 2 goals and 1 assist as the Miami RedHawks defeated Notre Dame 6-2.

If not for two fluke goals, Cody Reichard may have registered another shutout. As it was, Reichard was solid as Miami extended its unbeaten streak to a school best 12 games.

Both Camper and Miele were at their best as both scored highlight reel goals including one from Miele while he was prone on the ice after being crosschecked from behind.

The Crying Irish stuck to their routine of running Reichard as I counted at least four times the Miami netminder was knocked to the ice including once where his helmet was taken off his head. Unlike February’s 5-5 tie, however, Reichard would not be rattled and he maintained his stellar play of the past several weeks. On the other hand, Mike Johnson proved unworthy as Miami torched him for six goals before he was pulled midway through the third period.

Alden Hirschfeld and Bryon Paulazzo chipped in with goals and Reilly Smith added three assists to round out the bulk of the Miami scoring. It was the freshman Paulazzo’s second career goal.

The RedHawks await the winner of tonight’s WMU/Michigan game which starts at 8pm EST and can be seen on FS Detroit + in tomorrow’s championship game.

Notes

  • With another four point game, Andy Miele now has 23-46-69 on the year. Can you say Hobey Baker?
  • Carter Camper has a career best 19-36-54 good enough for third in the nation.
  • Alden Hirschfeld notched his career best 24th point of the year
  • With three assists, super sophomore Reilly Smith now has 26-25-51. Miami now has three players with more than 50 points on the season.

Hobey Miele Update

Oxford, Ohio – With two goals and two assists including a game-winner over the weekend, Hobey Baker Award candidate Andy Miele increased his nation’s best points and assists totals to 65 and 44 respectively. Miele’s line on the season is now 21-44-65 as he leads the national scoring race by 10 points over Niagara’s Paul Zanette and by 11 points over North Dakota’s Matt Frattin. Frattin once again picked up huge points against Michigan Tech, the nation’s 52nd ranked team by KRACH, with 4-1-5 on the weekend including an empty net goal.

Miele has now notched at least one point in 15 consecutive games, a career best. He has picked up his game and carried Miami into the postseason over the past two months. The RedHawks are 10-2-3 during Miele’s streak including an 11-game unbeaten streak heading into their semifinal matchup at Joe Louis Arena against Notre Dame.

For the season, Miele has been at his best when the score is close.

Of his 65 points, 25 (38%) have either given Miami the lead or tied the score during games this season. Clearly he is both shooting and distributing the puck appropriately right now and will be counted on over the final weeks of the season to carry Miami along with fellow seniors Carter Camper and Pat Cannone and sophomore Reilly Smith.

As a key cog in both Miami’s power play and penalty kill, Miele plays at both ends of the ice and is a major reason why both units rank in the top 10 in the nation. Miami’s power play ranks 5th nationally and their penalty kill ranks 2nd among all of Division I.

www.gotmiele.com