Category Archives: Enrico Blasi
Miami welcomes the Northern Michigan Wildcats this weekend
Coming off of a 4 game roadtrip against two other ranked Michigan teams, the RedHawks return to Oxford for a two-game set with the Northern Michigan Wildcats this weekend. Miami got out of Michigan with hard earned splits the last 2 weekends, and come in to the weekend second in the logjammed CCHA standings. 5 teams are 2-2-0 in the CCHA standings, and Northern Michigan is in a tie for 9th (1-2-1, 5 points and 1 shootout loss) in the early going of the CCHA schedule.
Northern Michigan will be led by Senior forward Matt Thurber, who leads the league in scoring with a goal and 10 assists. Miami’s sophomore forward Austin Czarnik and freshman forward Riley Barber are both at 10 points on the season, just 1 point behind the CCHA leader. This week’s CCHA Now production features the National Rookie of the Month (in case you’ve been living under a rock, that’s Barber), who is also the nation’s leader in points by a rookie.
Walt Kyle leads the Wildcats from behind the bench, and is in his 11th year in Marquette, where he stands 198-170-46. NMU comes to Oxford having blown a 4-1 3rd period lead on Friday night against Michigan (where they lost the shootout), but did pick up a 4-3 win on Saturday night – both games being played in Marquette. The Wildcats have had a truly impressive start to the season, having won twice against Wisconsin (in a non-conference neutral-site series in Green Bay), and splitting a series at Nebraska-Omaha. They were, however, swept at home by Notre Dame before last week’s tilts with the Wolverines.
Miami is just 20-34-3 all-time against Northern Michigan, including going 1-3-0 last year. Kyle has a chance to reach 200 wins at the helm of NMU this weekend, but the RedHawks will certainly have something to say about that. Coach Blasi may return to the goalie rotation this weekend after starting Jay Williams for both games in Big Rapids. Ryan McKay has yet to see action since being injured with a leg or groin injury in the Friday night game at Michigan, and Williams has played all 235 minutes since McKay went down. McKay was still dressed on the bench last weekend as the backup, however, but did not see any game action.
Look for another weekend of play similar to what Ferris State showed us last weekend. NMU likes to pack in a bunch of players in the defensive zone to block as many shots as possible. Their defensive style constantly frustrates the ‘Hawks, as evidenced by Miami’s 1-3 record against them last year. Miami’s talented group of freshmen will have to be smart and stay out of the penalty box – something they have done quite a bit this season. 17 of Miami’s 51 penalties (33%) have come from the freshmen group that has seen ice time. Miami has also been called for 2 misconducts and one more 5 minute major on the season. While Blasi’s Miami teams have always been physical and have always taken a lot of penalties, some that we have seen this season have been a tad on the cheap side, and have often come at just the wrong time.
This weekend, keep an eye on our twitter feed, as we’ll have a Miami-themed trivia contest during Saturday night’s game. The first response to our question, only asked on our twitter feed, will receive a Miami game puck, signed by Coach Blasi.
I’ll take another split this weekend and we’ll stay in touch with the other teams in the league, and will hope that we’re pleasantly surprised if we sweep the Wildcats out of Oxford. Both games will be available for viewing on the Miami All-Access feed (good luck logging in), and on AM 1490 in the Oxford/Hamilton/Cincinnati area.
Other weekend notes:
Alex Wideman returned to practice this week. After a couple weeks off due to being sick with mono, we could see Alex return to the ice this weekend.
On this date 34 years ago:
November 10, 1978: Miami hockey notches its first-ever victory against an NCAA opponent. Miami beat the University of Illinois-Chicago 7-4 at the old Goggin Ice Arena.
In Miami’s “In the Crease” feature, the 11 freshmen will be featured. Meet Matthew Caito this week on the Miami Athletics home page.
The RedHawks open the final season of CCHA play this weekend
with a 2-game set at Michigan.
Miami will open CCHA play this weekend, and it marks the last time we’ll be able to say those words. We start our “celebration of the legacy” by travelling to Ann Arbor to face Red Berenson and his band of misfits the Michigan Wolverines. (Oops… I did it again.)
Head coach Rico Blasi has had recent success against Michigan, but is still just 12-23-2 in his 14 years in Oxford. Overall, Michigan leads the series 71-26-4, but Miami is making a smidge of progress, as they are 8-5-1 since 2008-09. With a renovated Yost Ice Arena welcoming in their first CCHA opponent, expect the Michigan students to be in full voice this weekend. And let me tell you…it’s not a fun place to be an opposing team.
On the ice, the Wolverines have a similar goalie situation as Miami does, and have yet to finalize who will be their number one guy, if anyone. It may be becoming apparent on who that might be however, as Red Berenson will start Freshman Steve Racine in net on Friday night. Racine is 2-0-0 on the season and has allowed 5 goals in those two games. Another freshman, Jared Rutledge has also seen time in net, but allowed 5 goals in just one game against RIT in Michigan’s 5-4 OT loss to open the season – and he hasn’t been on the ice since. Michigan held a 4-1 advantage in that game, so nothing is outside the realm of possibility this weekend if the Michigan netminders cannot hold their own against Miami’s high-flying attack.
However, in order to get even one tie or win, Miami will get out to a fast start, and they have to be staunch in net and on defense. Michigan has played 4 games so far this season: an exhibition against Windsor, 2 against RIT and one against Bentley last weekend. It’s safe to say they haven’t seen the likes of Miami’s speed and skill and will need to step it up a notch or three to take the series. On the other hand, Michigan has done what they needed to against these teams, and have not scored less than 4 goals in any of the games, including the 4 goals in the OT loss to RIT.
As expected, Senior Captain A.J. Treais leads Michigan on the young season, with 3 goals and 2 assists. Highly touted freshman Jacob Trouba has also started the season strong with 2 goals and 2 assists thus far. The Wolverines’ best defenseman, Jon Merrill has been injured to start the season and likely won’t play. Another D-man Kevin Clare sustained an injury in the win over RIT in the second game of the season, and could return to action this weekend. Both blue-liners are Juniors and are sorely needed for this Michigan team to succeed this season.
On the Miami side of things, Riley Barber (4G-1A—5 Total Points) comes in with a 3 game goal scoring streak, and looks to continue his hot start after earning CCHA Rookie of the week last weekend against Providence. Barber, Blake Coleman (3-2—5) and Austin Czarnik (2-3—5) lead the offensive attack for The Brotherhood. Keep an eye on surprising freshman Taylor Richart on the blue line. Richart has blocked 18 shots in 4 games this season.
Expect Blasi to rotate goalies again this weekend, and I’d expect to see McKay first and Williams second again. So far, the rotation has been magical for Blasi…wait… can we say “so far” any more? For the last 6-8 years, the rotation has worked magically for Blasi. McKay is the big presence we thought he would be in net, and despite only being on the ice for half of Miami’s game time this season, Jay Williams is the firecracker on the bench. The guy never sits still and is quite a presence for the Hawks.
Michigan has 7 freshmen on the squad at the moment, compared to Miami’s 11, and they will look to push the pace as Red Berenson’s teams always do. Miami will need to keep its composure and due to Michigan’s inexperience could skate away with up a bucket of points this weekend. I’ll take Miami 4-2 tonight and Michigan 4-1 on Saturday.
The Miami Athletic Department has selected 17 individuals to find a new Athletic Director, the University announced today. You can click here to read the full release.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what we see with this committee as it relates to the RedHawks Ice Hockey Program:
- First of all, Enrico Blasi is a member of the search committee. Phew. Doesn’t look like he’ll be pulling a Jerry York and taking on the AD role as well as the head coaching position. Not that we thought he would, but this will ensure he’s involved with the decision, and we will likely get someone that is, at least partly, committed to the hockey program.
- Excluded from the committee is Steve Cady. Currently, Coach Cady is labeled as Senior Associate Athletic Director, which in our books, means he was the Number 2 guy behind Bates. I’m reading through the lines here, but this likely means Coach Cady has applied for the position and/or is a (leading?) candidate.
- Also excluded from the committee is Head Football Coach Don Treadwell and Head Men’s Basketball Coach John Cooper. I wouldn’t go as far as saying this will be a bad thing for these 2 sports when it comes to the new AD, but it is interesting that neither of them are on the committee. With these as the 2 main revenue sports at Miami, a renewed focus on them will be sorely needed to bring the programs back to the top of the MAC, and back into the NCAA spotlight. Senior Defensive Lineman Austin Brown is a studen-athlete representative of the football program, as is Rick Amos, a football Alumnus from the class of 1987. Senior Defensive Lineman and Captain Austin Brown is one of 2 student-athlete representatives on the committee, as is Rick Amos, a class of 1987 Football Alumnus.
- Frankly, I’m shocked we don’t see Head Women’s Basketball Coach Maria Fantanarosa on the committee. Maria has been in Oxford as the head coach of the Lady RedHawks since the 1998-99 season (starting her 15th season), and graduated from Miami with a degree in speech communication in 1990. She has been a RedHawk for life and it surprises me that she is not a part of this group appointed by University President David Hodge.
We’ll see what the committee comes up with in the coming weeks and months as the RedHawks hockey program roars into their CCHA schedule.
Is it Friday yet?
>For those who haven’t heard the latest tidbit, Miami University announced on Friday afternoon that Enrico Blasi has signed a “reworked” contract. Terms were not disclosed, but the new deal is simply a raise for the 1994 Miami alum, as he signed a 10-year contract in 2007 that will keep him behind the RedHawks’ bench until the 2016-2017 season.
>Some good news today as RedHawks Head Coach Enrico Blasi has been named a finalist for the Spencer Penrose Award, which is awarded each year to the best coach in Division I hockey. You may remember that Rico is a past winner of the award, taking the honors in 2006. Other notable finalists include Dallas Ferguson (Alaska), Tom Serratore (Bemidji State), Jack Parker (Boston University), and Kevin Sneddon (Vermont).
– INCH has been having a bit of fun lately with Haiku poetry. As they do each year, they’ve written a Haiku for each team selected fot the NCAA tourney. Here’s what they’ve come up with for Miami:
is nation’s best, lets teammates
feel shame and get free
They also have past tourney Hawk Haiku’s:
Now more than ever,
“Talent” in Oxford is found
on ice and in stands.
Hope co-eds will follow
RedHawk fans will make Worcester
easy on the eyes
Can’t spell Oxford without “O”
Zero tourney wins
Certainly the program has come a long way since 2004. Here’s hoping next year’s Haiku reads a little something like…
Music to their ears
The RedHawks look to repeat
– Finally tonight, a HUGE thank you to a few blog readers out there. With their help, I’ll be on my way to Washington, D.C. next week to the Frozen Four. I couldn’t have done it with out them. Thank you for reading. I’m forever grateful.
>Today’s Miami Memory profiles the career of head coach Enrico Blasi. You can check it out by clicking here.
It’s important to note that the next RedHawk victory will be Rico’s 200th career win at Miami.
The Miami Icers begin the second half of the 2008-2009 season with the Ohio Hockey Classic, this weekend, in Columbus, on the campus of The Ohio State University. The RedHawks won the tournament last season.
Other Ohio Hockey Classic Notes:
– The RedHawks have only lost one game in the Ohio Hockey Classic since the first OHC. In the first OHC Miami was held winless.
– The RedHawks hold a record of 3-1 in first round games of the Ohio Hockey Classic and have won their last three consecutive OHC openers.
– Miami opens the tournament on Friday afternoon at 5:05pm against Clarkson. Ohio State will take on Army in the late game of The Classic, at 8:05pm.
>This article, from the Dayton Daily News, has some interesting qyotes from Miami players and coaching staff. I’ll provide the lines…head on over to the DDN web site to read the rest of the article:
“I can tell you one thing, we’ll probably be a lot better in January than we are right now.”
“It’s a work in progress, but we feel we have a very talented group.
“It’s going to be a tough year, I can feel it. We’re going to have a bit of a learning curve. We may get off on a bumpy road, but we have an exceptional coaching staff.”
– Jarod Palmer
Discuss: Is anyone worried/concerned about our inexperience this season? I especially like the line from Rico about “being better in January than we are now,” as I think this team still has a lot of “gelling” to do. Let’s just hope we play well enough in the fall, to play well enough in March and April.
>MURedhawks.com has a nice video of Coach Blasi speaking to the Red & White Club about all things Miami Hockey. It’s very interesting and you can check it out at this link.
A few things from the video:
– We already know that Miami will play teams like New Hampshire, St. Cloud State, and North Dakota in the coming years as Rico addressed this in my interview with him in August. There are a few more specific details about next years schedule though. In 2009-2010 Miami will enter into a two year agreement with UNH, SCSU, and UND. Next season, Miami will go to New Hampshire and per the agreement, New Hampshire will come to Oxford in 2010-2011. St. Cloud State will come to Oxford next season, with the RedHawks making the trip to St. Cloud in 2010-2011. North Dakota will work the same way as New Hampshire…Miami will go to Grand Forks in 2009-2010, and the Fighting Sioux will come here in 2010-2011.
– All Miami home games, with the exception of the exhibition tomorrow night against Ryerson, that aren’t televisied nationally will be broadcast on ONN. This includes games that Miami would play at home as a part of the CCHA playoffs in March. Blasi also mentioned that some of the games on ONN MAY be picked up by NHL Network.