Category Archives: 2012-13 Preseason

BB hired as the next AD at BC

The most hated school in the land Boston College Eagles announced today that Brad Bates will be their next Athletic Director after 10 years in the same position at Miami. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Miami doesn’t exactly like Boston College because of recent hockey defeats at the hands of the Eagles.

As the Miami Athletic department scrambles to find a new Athletic Director and faculty member (he taught undergrad and graduate courses in sports administration), let’s take a look back at a few highlights in Brad Bates’ 10 years in Oxford.

  • November 2002 – hired on as Miami’s Athletic Director
  • Football:
    • Back-to-back football bowl game appearances in nearly 30 years (2003-04)
    • MAC Championships in Football in 2003 and 2010
    • Hiring and firing of Shane Montgomery after a couple years we’d like to forget
    • Hiring of Mike Heywood and later the hiring of the current regime at Yager Stadium including Don Treadwell
  • Ice Hockey:
    • Our beloved hockey team won a Central Collegiate Hockey Association regular season championship and Miami’s first Mason Cup as CCHA tournament champions.
    • Appeared in two consecutive NCAA Frozen Fours, including the national championship game in 2009.
  • On the hardwood, Bates was highly criticized for allowing Charlie Coles to stay in Oxford until his retirement last year, and has recently hired John Cooper as Coles’ replacement.
  • 14 of Miami’s 18 teams won at least one conference championship: baseball, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, women’s cross-country, football, field hockey, ice hockey, women’s soccer, softball, men’s swimming, women’s swimming, synchronized skating, women’s tennis and volleyball
  • Bates also helped raise student-athlete graduation rates. His overall Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 89 percent in 2011 was near the top in the nation.
  • October 9, 2012 – hired as Boston College’s Athletic Director

With Miami’s search will also come some uncertainty from Oxford. Of course, there’s the issue of replacing Bates with new blood, but several other questions are also raised.

  • Will Miami’s commitment to the hockey program continue? Will funding be pulled because Miami Hockey is roughly a break-even sport?
  • How will this impact our commitment to the NCHC?
  • Will the new man on campus put a renewed focus on basketball and football where it is sorely needed?
  • With a new AD, the possibility exists that existing coaches will be less than pleased with the new leadership. Is this the push Coach Blasi needs to jump to another hockey program, or perhaps the NHL?

And one final note…

Does anyone else think that Brad is awfully excited to get out of Oxford? Before his press conference today, Brad had already created his new twitter handle (@BCBradBates), he met the hockey team before their practice today, and then spoke to their 1-4 football team after their practice. I’m not saying good riddance, but good riddance.

Let the search begin. We suspect Steve Cady may be a leading candidate, and some have suggested that Jason Lener may be near the top of the list as well.  Lener is a former RedHawk Deputy Athletic Director and current Illinois Executive Senior Associate Athletic Director. In any event, we hope that the next guy for the job is a hockey fan!

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2012-13 Preview: Here goes nothin’

After last year’s up and down season, followed by an unbelievable momentum swing and an unceremonious exit to the NCAA tournament, the RedHawks lost a group of 10 seniors, and endured early departures by leading scorer Reilly Smith and an underachieving, but promising freshman in Tyler Biggs. With a revamped team that includes 11 freshmen and 13 new faces, Miami enters the season this weekend with a home exhibition against Western Ontario. Today, we look ahead to the season with our 2012-13 Preview.

The Schedule:

  • First off, you can find the schedule here and we take a quick look at the TV schedule here.
  • As mentioned above, the RedHawks take the ice on Sunday afternoon with an exhibition against Western Ontario. We all know how these usually go, and this should be a great way to start things off for a group of skaters that is extremely young (18 underclassmen!), but extremely talented. Western Ontario will cross the border to take on Western Michigan on Saturday, and will then head to Oxford on Sunday. I would expect Coach Blasi to test out each of Miami’s new netminders (all 3 are rookies!) in the contest, as Freshmen Jay Williams and Ryan McKay will likely split much of the playing time this season. More info on the situation in net in our upcoming season preview articles.
  • The first 4 weeks of the season will be an interesting set of games, and should test the young ‘Hawks early. After the exhibition game, Miami welcomes both Colgate and Providence to Goggin Ice Arena and then opens CCHA play at Michigan in week 3 – a place where Miami historically has been AWFUL sub par. Follow that up with a trip for an always entertaining series in Big Rapids, MI against Ferris State, and you have a recipe for a .500 start if I’ve ever seen one. Ferris State has 18 returning letter-winners compared to Miami’s 18 underclassmen, and the Bulldogs are coming off of their first ever Frozen Four berth and National Runner-Up finish.
  • Miami finishes out November with home series against Northern Michigan and Michigan State, and then makes the long trek to Alaska.
  • December opens with a home series against Lake Superior State. The ‘Hawks then have a road series in Columbus against Ohio State before Winter Break.
  • Miami’s first “special appearance” comes in between Christmas and New Year’s, as the ‘Hawks travel to the Pittsburgh College Hockey Invitational, hosted by Robert Morris. Miami will take on Ohio State on Friday night – likely to be the premier game of the weekend. Depending on the outcomes, Saturday’s opponent could be Robert Morris or Penn State, who will be playing their first season of Division I Hockey in 2012-13. Yes, if you’re counting, that will mark 3 consecutive games against Ohio State during this stretch in December. Get an early jump on your hatred of the Suckeyes now by taking a look at their awful uniform selections from recent years (scroll down to view pictures).
  • As the new year opens, Miami will head to Northern Michigan, and then has perhaps their toughest road trip of the year to Wisconsin in mid-January. Wisconsin comes in with high expectations on the season, being ranked 18th in the USCHO preseason poll – a ranking that is rather high for the traditional powerhouse.
  • Bowling Green and Alaska come to Oxford, followed by a road trip to Western Michigan before the biggest series of the season for the RedHawks.
  • Miami will play Notre Dame on Friday February 15th in the confines of The Goggin, and then the same teams will face off in Chicago’s Soldier Field in the Hockey City Classic on Sunday the 17th. Wisconsin and Minnesota will play in the late game in Chicago. We’ll have full coverage of the event from every angle, including what we hope to be an on-ice picture inside Soldier Field for the Warriors. Tickets are on sale now for the games. Contact the Miami ticket office for seats in the Miami section, or head to Ticketmaster.com for other accommodations. We’ll see you in Chicago!
  • The season ends with a road series at Lake Superior State and a home series against Ohio State before the CCHA tournament commences for the final time.
  • Overall, Miami’s schedule includes just 4 teams who made the tournament last year (Ferris State, Michigan, Michigan State and Western Michigan) and will play 2 games against each of these teams.

Preseason Polls:

  • Preseason voting has taken place, and Miami is 4th in the CCHA Coaches’ Poll and 5th in the CCHA Media Poll swapping places with Ferris State in the two. You can get the scoop on the full CCHA polls here.
  • Michigan took the top spot in the Media poll (must be a bunch of Michigan homers in this voting group), and Notre Dame took the top spot in the Coaches’ Poll (blinded by the golden dome, perhaps?).
  • In this week’s Coaches Conference Call, Head Coach Rico Blasi had this to say:

We are excited to start the season and our expectations are no different any other year. We expect to improve every day and make sure that we’re playing our best hockey at the right time. But more importantly, more so than any other year, we have 12 new faces on our team and so our philosophy of just trying to be the best that we can be each and every day is really important going into the year.

We’ve got a really good senior captain in defenseman Steven Spinell that will lead the way, not only on the ice but off the ice as well. I think our schedule is one that is extremely challenging not only in our league from weekend to weekend but non-conference and obviously we’ve got a big game in February at Soldier Field with our league rival, Notre Dame. With so many alums in the Chicago area, both hockey alums and Miami alums, it will be a special event for our university and everybody associated with it.

  • The full audio of Coach Blasi’s 8.5 minutes on the call can be heard here. Coach Blasi certainly has a lot to say about the leadership capabilities of Captain Steven Spinell, and I for one am looking forward to seeing him lead the way for the RedHawks this year.
  • As you may have heard, the 2012 preseason polls are out, and Miami is ranked 9thin each of the official polls. Miami is not listed in the Inside College Hockey “10 for 13” which ranks their top 10 teams for the upcoming season. The USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll and USCHO.com Poll are linked here.
  • Austin Czarnik  was named to the preseason All-CCHA 2nd team: . USCHO also thinks highly of “Z” and has him in their 10 forwards to watch for 2012-13.
  • Full All-CCHA Team selections can be found here, with Notre Dame’s TJ Tynan leading the way as the favorite for CCHA Player of the Year. Western Michigan and Michigan lead the way with 3 players each spread among the top 2 teams.

We’ll have more for you across this weekend and into next week with team previews as well as a comprehensive preview of the entire Miami squad before next weekend’s season-opening series against Colgate.

Only 3 days until the puck drops, and we can’t wait to cover it all for you! Go ‘Hawks!

TV Schedule Posted

The Great State of Ohio lost it’s private news channel over the summer, as the Ohio News Network (ONN) was forced to close its doors due to lack of funding. Unfortunately, that means a lot less Miami RedHawks hockey on the teevee as well.

Yesterday, Miami released its 2012-13 TV Schedule. While the Hawks will be televised at least 10 times this season, it’s nowhere near the number of games normally shown by ONN and the national networks.

Here’s a breakdown of games that will be televised:

  • 10/26/12 – at Michigan – Comcast TV (Comcast subscribers in Michigan only)
  • 12/14/12 – at Ohio State – Big Ten Network
  • 1/25/13 – vs BGSU – Sports Time Ohio (STO) & Time Warner Cable Sports Channel (TWCSC – Time Warner customers in Ohio only)
  • 1/26/13 – vs BGSU – TWCSC
  • 2/1/13 – vs Alaska –  STO & TWCSC
  • 2/2/13 – vs Alaska – TWCSC
  • 2/15/13 – vs Notre Dame – CBS Sports Network
  • 2/17/13 – vs Notre Dame – Hockey City Classic, Chicago, IL – FOX Sports Detroit
  • 3/1/13 – vs Ohio State – STO & TWCSC
  • 3/2/13 – vs Ohio State – TWCSC

Games may be added down the road depending on other networks. For example, NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus) has not announced a full slate of games, and with the NHL lockout, could pick up a game or two across the country.  Of course all home games will be streamed live on http://www.muredhawks.com through Miami All Access.

We miss you and your awful white balance and fuzzy picture, ONN. Please come back?

2011-2012: The Season In Review

The last 12 months in the Miami Hockey universe have been quite a tumultuous time. Let’s take a look back as we prepare for the 2012-13 season.

Offseason 2011:

  • On July 9th, news broke of a new College Hockey structure including the formation of the Big Ten Hockey Conference and the National Collegiate Hockey Conference. Brad Bates, along with the other 6 initial institutions, “[were pleased] to announce that six top NCAA Division I ice hockey programs will become founding members of a newly formed hockey conference, which will begin competition for the 2013-14 season. The six institutions are Colorado College, University of Denver, Miami University, University of Minnesota Duluth, University of Nebraska Omaha and University of North Dakota.” (source: MURedHawks.com)
  • July 13th rolled around, and these 6 fine programs made it official and in September added St. Cloud State and Western Michigan to fill out it’s roster. 2012-13 will mark the final season for the CCHA as we look forward to the upcoming launch of the NCHC for the 2013-14 season.
  • Alden Hirschfeld and Will Weber were named the Captains for the season. Reilly Smith would later be added as a Captain after his stellar first half.
  • Miami was ranked as the #1 team in the INCH Power Rankings and the College Hockey News Preseason Rankings. In the official rankings, Miami took the top spot for the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Preseason Poll. The ‘Hawks were ranked a close #2 in the USCHO.com Poll and were also voted #2 in both the CCHA Coaches and CCHA Media voting.

October 2011:

  • Miami opened the season with a win over exhibition opponent Windsor, and then split the regular season opening series with a loss and then a win over Bemidji State.
  • The following weekend, Miami split at Colgate, with Reilly Smith establishing himself as a Hobey Baker candidate very early on in the season. Smith took home the first CCHA Offensive Player of the week award with 4 goals and an assist on the weekend trip, including a hattrick in the Friday night game, a 4-3 Miami victory.
  • Miami then travelled to Big Rapids and were swept by Ferris State, and swept again at home by Lake Superior State, running the losing streak to 5 consecutive games, which had us all drinking the drain-o by the end of October.
  • On a brighter note, Andy Miele, the 2011 Hobey Baker Award Winner, was called up to the Phoenix Coyotes during the month. He didn’t make too much of an impact, however, and was brought back down to the AHL shortly thereafter.

November 2011:

  • November had a chance to make things even more miserable in Oxford, as Miami started the month with the long trek to Alaska, and then hosted #4/5 Michigan in Oxford. However, a big sweep in Alaska seemed to right the ship for the ‘Hawks, and they went on to take a Friday night victory over Michigan as well.
  • You may remember the shootout from Saturday night against Michigan, but if you didn’t remember Bryon Paulazzo’s highlight reel goal, you can re-live the shootout-winning spin-o-rama here. I love seeing the baby goalie cry.
  • After the big series against Michigan, Miami continued their unbeaten streak with a win and tie (SOL) against BGSU, and won their first ever Denver Cup by beating Providence and Denver over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
  • The RedHawks swept the November CCHA Player of the Month awards, as Austin Czarnik emerged as Miami’s next big star. He won the Gongshow Rookie of the Month Award, while Cody Reichard took home the Gongshow Goaltender of the Month and Reilly Smith was named RBC Player of the Month.

December 2011:

  • After a stretch where Miami went 7-0-1 and streaked to the top of the CCHA Standings, December was quite a let down for the Hawks. Miami was swept by Northern Michigan in Marquette and managed a split against the suckeyes Ohio State to close out 2012.
  • Jarod Palmer made his first appearance in the NHL with the Minnesota Wild, and made quite an impression with the injury-riddled club. Look for Jarod to play a lot more in upcoming years (when the NHL isn’t locked out). He recorded 1 assist in 6 games for the Wild in his December call-up.
  • Austin Czarnik also made a big splash in December, as he was named to the US Junior National team and played at the 2012 World Junior Championships in Edmonton and Calgary for Team USA.

January 2012:

  • Miami opened up the new year with a complete performance and sweep in East Lansing against Michigan State, injecting hope into the team that started the season as the #1 ranked team in many polls. Miami then travelled to Lake Superior State and earned a road split.
  • Upon returning home, Miami swept Western Michigan – a team that was ranked #8 in the country at the time.
  • Reilly Smith Earned the CCHA Player of the Month for the second time on the year.

February 2012:

  • After a split at home vs Northern Michigan to close out January, Miami travelled to Ann Arbor and got trampled by the Wolverines. It was an ugly weekend for the RedHawks, going down 4-1 and 3-0. But it was just the wake up call they needed. To be a better team, they were going to have to focus and regroup for a stretch run.
  • And regroup they did. Miami rolled off 8 straight victories to earn the 4 seed and a first round bye in the CCHA tournament. Over the last 3 weeks of February, they steamrolled Alabama-Huntsville, Notre Dame and Ohio State by a combined score 22-4.
  • Connor Knapp earned the CCHA Goaltender of the Month award for February, going 5-1-0 in the month, blocking 161 of 168 shots. He allowed just 7 goals and had 2 shutouts. In his last 5 games – all wins – Knapper did not give up an even strength goal, allowed just 3 goals total and tied the Miami record for shutouts at 12 (a record which he did break the very next series in March).

March 2012 and Post season:

  • After finishing the regular season with a flurry, Miami got a bye in the first round of the CCHA Tournament, and was slated to face Michigan State in the second round in Oxford. Miami continued its hot streak and swept the Spartans out of the CCHA tournament.
  • At the CCHA tournament at The Joe in Detroit, Western Michigan came ready for business, and took down the RedHawks in the Semifinal 6-2. Miami beat the last place BGSU Falcons in the 3rd place game and headed into the NCAA tournament with high hopes.
  • Before the NCAA tournament brackets were announced, Reilly Smith had landed one of the 10 Hobey Baker Finalist spots, and Miami’s dynamic duo in net earned CCHA year-end awards. Cody Reichard won the Ilitch Humanitarian Award for his work on Swoop’s Stoop in the Butler County area. Connor Knapp took home the CCHA’s Goaltender of the Year award for his stellar on-ice play (an award Reichard won in 2010). In addition to his Hobey Baker Finalist nomination, Reilly Smith also won the CCHA’s Perani Cup by collecting the most “Perani Cup Three Stars” points.
  • Rounding out the year-end awards, Smith earned First-Team All-CCHA honors, Austin Czarnik was named to the  CCHA All-Rookie Team, and senior captain Alden Hirschfeld was acknowledged for being Miami’s CCHA Scholar-Athlete of the Year nominee.
  • After a few weeks time, Reilly Smith was also named to the First team All-America squad. Reilly led the way all season with 30 goals, 18 assists for a total of 48 points.
  • Miami earned a #2 seed in the Bridgeport, CT regional, and would face off against the UMass Lowell River Hawks, who was making their first ever NCAA tournament appearance. For all of the talk of unfavorable NCAA draws in recent years, Miami finally had their dream bracket, and it appeared as though a walk to the Frozen 4 for the 3rd time would be in store. However, in the words of Coach Lee Corso, “not so fast, my friend.”
  • The RedHawks were down 3-0 to the River Hawks entering the third period, and things were looking very bleak. In the first 10 minutes of the third period, Miami scored three times and evened the score, stealing all the momentum from UMass Lowell. Hope was restored, and fans even started to look forward to another favorable matchup (on paper, anyway) against Union, who had avanced earlier in the day. However, that momentum swing was neutralized by UM-L and the Hawks couldn’t get the game winner. UM-L won in overtime 4-3, and the RedHawks season was cut short.

Offseason 2012:

  • Former RedHawk Alec Martinez got the better of another Miami star Andy Greene in the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals, as Martinez and the LA Kings hoisted the Cup.
  • Professional signings:
    • In a move RedHawks fans saw from the get go of the 2011-12 season, Reilly Smith signed with the club that drafted him shortly after the season was over. Dallas scooped up Smith and put him to work immediately on just 5 days after Miami had been bounced from the NCAA tournament. Smith was the 4th RedHawk to make his NHL debut on the season (Miele, Palmer and Carter Camper – Boston Bruins). Reilly forgoes his senior year of eligibility with this signing.
    • Cameron Schilling was plucked for professional duty after the season as well, signing an entry level contract with the Washington Capitals and their AHL affiliate the Hershey Bears.
    • Chris Wideman signed a 2-year entry-level deal with the Ottawa Senators as well, and joined the Binghampton Senators to finish out their season
    • Patrick Tiesling and Matt Tomassoni each signed pro contracts with the ECHLs Chicago Express.
    • Alden Hirschfeld signed an amateur try out deal with the Portland Pirates of the AHL, reuniting with Andy Miele and the Coyotes.
    • Trent Vogelhuber also signed an ATO with the Springfield Falcons – AHL affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
    • Cody Reichard signed with the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL, an affiliate of the San Jose Sharks and Edmonton Oilers.
    • Connor Knapp signed a deal with the Buffalo Sabres which will start in 2012-13 if the NHL ends its lockout.
    • Will Weber signed on with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
  • With these 9 Senior signings, only graduating senior Ben Saksa was left without a pro contract. Ben was able to see game action against Alabama-Huntsville as he played the last 3:27 on that Saturday night. He recorded his first and only career save in the game on a two-on-one break. We salute Ben for his hard work for 4 years in Oxford!
  • Early Departures:
    • In addition to losing one of the largest and most prolific classes in Miami’s history, Freshman Tyler Biggs departed for the pro ranks as well, as he had floundered a bit in Oxford in his short time with the ‘Hawks. This was both surprising and shocking at the same time, and we recapped the Biggs departure back in August.
    • Recruits Ryan Hartman and Pat Sieloff announced that they would be bypassing any NCAA eligibility by signing pro deals with the Canadian Hockey League (CHL). Both signings were expected to appear in Oxford this season, so Coach Blasi was forced to make some late recruiting efforts.

There you have it…the 2011-2012 season in 2000 words or less. We’ve endured conference realignment, a 5 game losing streak, an 8 game winning streak, a 3-goal defecit and furious comeback in the NCAA tournament, only to be heartbroken again, and we’re all itching for more.

We start the new season in just 6 more days, RedHawks fans!  Stay tuned for more this week, including previews of the 2012-13 season!

Go ‘Hawks!

The Puck Drops…in 9 Days!

Time to get things started!

 

Miami’s Freshmen Rank #5

The gang over at The Hockey Guys has released their top 10 recruiting classes for the 2012-13 season and Miami and head coach Enrico Blasi have landed the fifth ranked class in the nation. Their analysis confirms our belief that Ryan McKay will enter the season as the “starter” in net and that Sean Kuraly continues to rocket up the list of American-born players to watch over the coming years.

The CCHA is also represented in the top 10 by Notre Dame (#1), Michigan (#3) and duhOSU (#10) while future NCHC conference mates Nebraska-Omaha (#2) and North Dakota (#8) also made the list.

Here’s the complete article.