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#2 Miami stops Ohio State

Light the Lantern!

On the strength of six goals from six different players, the #2 Miami RedHawks defeated Ohio State 6-2 in a non-conference game in Columbus, Ohio on Friday night.

In a nutshell, this game came down to penalties and special teams.

Ohio State committed four first period penalties and Miami converted those opportunities into a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes.

Junior captain Austin Czarnik opened the scoring for the 2013-14 season by converting a Riley Barber rebound off the back boards with a 5×3 advantage for a quick Miami lead at 7:47 of the first. And again, with Miami skating with a two-man advantage, sophomore Alex Wideman took a pass from Barber and notched his first of the year to give the RedHawks a 2-0 lead they would carry into the third period.

Sophomores Sean Kuraly and Riley Barber recorded assists on Miami’s first two goals. Kuraly would end the night with a career high three helpers and leads the squad in the early scoring race.

In the third, Ohio State would score two goals within the first three minutes of action coming off the mat to even the game with goals by Darik Angeli and someone named Chad Niddery. This was interesting because like last Saturday’s exhibition game against Windsor, Miami suffered two quick defensive lapses allowing for two quick scores.

During his weekly press conference, head coach Enrico Blasi said he felt his defensemen looked a little jittery at times and would need to catch up to the speed of the game. I wonder if it’s so much a speed thing and perhaps more of a consistency element. Playing to the whistle and understanding your opponent can hurt you until the game is over. Certainly there is enough returning experience from last year including sophomores Matthew Caito, Chris Joyaux and Taylor Richart to compensate, but really, Miami is incredibly green on the blueline. Last night, the RedHawks started two freshmen defensemen (Matt Joyaux and Trevor Hamilton), a junior (Ben Paulides) who’s played in only 35 career games,  the aforementioned three sophomore regulars, and started a sophomore goaltender (Jay Williams) who was making only his 20th career start.

Speaking of Williams, he recorded his 13th career victory in making 26 stops on the night. Overall, he was solid and gave the RedHawks what they needed. And, hey, I’ll take two goals allowed per night all year.

Junior Jimmy Mullin recorded assists on two of Miami’s six goals. (photo: Rachel Lewis)

Last thought regarding the defense…all I’m saying is that if there is a part of the game that will take a little time, it’s the defense. And, they only surrendered two goals but duhOSU isn’t exactly a scoring juggernaut averaging only a smidge more than two goals per game last season. I know we’ll see daily improvement here throughout the year as the newbies work their way into the regular grind of college hockey.

Back to the game.

After Ohio State tied the game at two, it was as if a bell sounded for the offense.

Miami would go on to score four unanswered goals in the third including Cody Murphy’s game-winner just 29 seconds after the Buckeyes tied the score. Junior Jimmy Mullin carried the puck into the zone drawing the defense close before dropping a pass to the trailing Murphy who beat Ohio State sophomore goaltender Collin Olson. Following Murphy’s goal, junior Blake Coleman, freshman Anthony Louis and Paulides also found the net as Miami pulled away in style. For Louis and Paulides, it was their first career goals. While Louis’ came in his first collegiate game, it was game 35 for Paulides, the junior defenseman from San Jose, California.

Tonight, Miami and Ohio State will hook up for the final time this season as the RedHawks will open the home schedule at Steve Cady Arena. Faceoff time is 7:05 PM EST and the game can be viewed (hopefully) via Miami All-Access.

Notes

  • Junior Blake Coleman scored only nine goals last season. Getting him going early is a great sign.
  • Miami debuted their new red/away Bauer sweaters (above) adorned with chrome highlights. It’s still early, but I’m not sure I’m loving them. Give me these bad boys any day.
  • Miami was 3-for-3 on the penalty kill and 3-for-8 on the powerplay.
  • Freshman defenseman, Trevor Hamilton, recorded his first collegiate point, an assist, on Murphy’s game-winner.
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#2 Miami v. Ohio State

The #2 RedHawks start the season against in-state rival Ohio State

Dozens of fans pack duhOSU’s Cheap Furniture Arena. (photo: OSU/Schottenstein Center)

Ah, that unmistakable scent that can only be caused by the expulsion of gaseous by product waste from the inefficient internal combustion engine of a Zamboni machine is in the air! And, that means the Miami RedHawks are back on the ice for real beginning tonight in Columbus as #2 Miami faces Ohio State at Cheap Furniture Arena where fans dress as empty seats except when the Miami faithful show up in droves.

So, let’s get to it.

 

The Buckeyes

Though the coach is new (former associate head coach Steve Rohlik takes over for the departed Mark Osiecki), the Buckeyes return their top eight scorers from a year ago including junior forwards Ryan Dzingel (16-22-38),  Tanner Fritz (11-26-37) and Max McCormick (15-16-31). On defense, duhOSU by sophomore Craig Dalrymple (3-14-17) and senior captain Curtis Gedig (3-12-15).

Speaking of Rohlik, at his weekly press conference, he mentioned that his team will be tested right off the bat by Miami but referenced their confidence level and depth as two big assets entering the season. He believes that by rolling lines they’ll be able to wear down teams and rely on their returning scoring talent to separate them from opponents. Only time will tell.

The biggest question mark coming into the season, however, is how the Buckeyes will replace their graduated All-America goaltender, Brady Hjelle, who had a career year for the Red and Silver by going 14-14-6 with an outstanding 2.00 GAA and .935 save percentage.

My guess? I think we’ll see highly regarded sophomore Collin Olson take over for duhOSU. Last season, Olson saw action in nine games posting a record of 2-3-1 with a 3.09 GAA and .901 save percentage. He’ll have huge skates to fill and while this Buckeye team seems deep on paper, this is a team that scored only 95 goals last year (they allowed 96) good for an average of just 2.37 per game. The Buckeyes finished below .500 last year with an all-world goaltender. They’ll have to prove they can score more to pick up the slack in net after the departure of Hjelle unless Olson can come close to matching those numbers from a year ago.

Austin Czarnik and the RedHawks defeated Windsor 8-2 in their only exhibition match of the season. (photo: Rachel Lewis)

The RedHawks

For Miami, the RedHawks opened their season last Saturday night in an exhibition match at Steve Cady Arena where they dominated the Lancers from the University of Windsor by an 8-2 count. Sophomore Riley Barber and freshman Justin Greenberg both netted two goals while sophomore goaltenders Jay Williams and Ryan McKay both saw action in net. Overall, the RedHawks played a decent game though they benefitted from outclassing and outskating the Lancers on pure speed and talent alone leading to several breakaway situations for Miami. Rest assured, the Hawks will not see such lax play anytime soon and will have to prove they can set up goals the old fashioned way if they are to beat the NCHC’s best.

At his weekly press conference, head coach Enrico Blasi made mention that the team would have to play better than they did against Windsor to compete at a high level. Specifically, he mentioned his defense corps looked a little jittery at times and will have to catch up to the speed of the game. Frankly, that will be true for the freshmen especially as Miami jumps right into some tough games out of the gate.

 Blasi was excited about opening the season against duhOSU saying that he couldn’t think of a better way to get the season started than to play your in-state rival. He feels that both sides understand the importance of playing each other every year and that it makes both teams better. He said he’s looking forward to the weekend and expects a fun atmosphere in both buildings. There’s nothing better than a rivalry to get the season going.

With Miami returning twenty players from last season’s NCAA regional finalist squad including both goaltenders, CCHA Rookie of the Year Riley Barber, junior All-American and this year’s captain, Austin Czarnik, the RedHawks look primed for a huge season. And, with the additions of highly regarded freshmen (F) Anthony Louis and (D) Trevor Hamilton along with (F) Justin Greenberg, (D) Johnny Wingels – yes, that Wingels – and Matt Joyaux (D), this freshman class has an opportunity to make an immediate impact and help Miami live up to its lofty #2 preseason ranking.

So, expect to see Miami lean on Czarnik and Barber but I also expect bounce-back seasons from both Jimmy Mullin and Blake Coleman who were inconsistent at times last year. Assuming we get quality play on defense in front of McKay and Williams, and I think we will, we have a chance to have a special year.

At a glance, you look at this roster and you don’t see a lot of size. What I do see, however, is a ton of speed. Mullin, Barber, Murphy, Gacek, Greenberg, Louis, Czarnik, Kuraly, Wideman…they all have outstanding legs. The defense, led by sophomore Matt Caito, is smooth, mobile and can join the play. But, are they physical enough to withstand the pounding they’ll receive from the likes of North Dakota, Denver and UNO? This team will be defined by its speed and skill. I just hope there is enough grit to go around. They’ll have a nice test this weekend as Ohio State has always favored the body and I do not see that changing over the course of one weekend.

The Prediction

Anyway, in summary, I think we’ll see Miami come out looking to prove a point but will likely settle for a split with each team winning in its own building.

The Deets

Who?

#2 Miami (2012-13: 25-12-5, 1st CCHA) vs. Ohio State (2012-13: 16-17-7, 4th CCHA)

Where and when?

Tonight at Value City Arena, Columbus, Ohio 7:05 PM EST

Saturday at Steve Cady Arena, Oxford, Ohio, 7:05 PM EST

Prediction

Split

Miami v. duhOSU and Bob Morris/PSU

Miami returns to action this weekend in the Three Rivers Classic at CONSOL Energy Center

Despite two of Miami’s heralded freshmen (Riley Barber and Sean Kuraly) playing in the World Junior Championship in Russia this week, the #5 Miami RedHawks (11-3-4, 8-3-3-3 T1st CCHA) return to action to face a familiar foe, the Ohio State Buckeyes (7-6-5, 6-3-3-1 4th CCHA) Friday at 7:30pm in the second game of the Three Rivers Classic in Pittsburgh. Miami tied and defeated the Buckeyes in the final two games before the two-week winter break at Cheap Furniture Arena in Columbus on December 14 and 15. Friday’s game will be the RedHawks third consecutive game against their in-state rivals who will meet at least five times this year. This game will not count in the overall CCHA standings as this will be considered a non-conference affair.

Read the rest of this entry

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.

Friday Highlights vs. duhOSU

In case you missed the game, here are the highlights from Friday’s 3-0 victory over duhOSU.

Miami finishes sweep of Ohio State 5-1

Connor Knapp made 22 saves and Austin Czarnik recorded the first two-goal game of his career as Miami completed the weekend sweep of duhOSU winning 5-1.

Jimmy Mullin (9th goal), Blake Coleman (11th) and, who else, Reilly Smith (26th) also notched goals for Miami who outshot the Buckeyes 33-23 on the night.

It was yet another stellar defensive performance by Miami, and by all accounts, similar to last weekend against Notre Dame when at no point did you really think duhOSU could challenge Miami. In fact, the RedHawks probably allowed no more than 5-8 minutes of offensive zone time against during the final two periods of play. I’ll be curious to hear the duhOSU head coach’s excuses after this weekend that saw Miami outscore the Buckeyes 8-1.

duhOSU did their best to maintain the chippy play they started on Friday in Oxford, and Miami definitely took the bait ending up down two men twice during the game. And, the Buckeyes capitalized on their early 5×3 chance when someone named Al McLean scored in the first period to knot the game at one after Jimmy Mullin opened the scoring just 43 seconds into the game.

Miami’s top line of freshmen Austin Czarnik and Mullin plus junior Reilly Smith was far too much for duhOSU.

After freshman Blake Coleman broke a 1-1 tie with his 11th goal of the season, Smith would add a third first period goal at 16:09, roughly 30 seconds after Coleman’s eventual game-winner on the powerplay.

And, in the second period, it was all Miami as Austin Czarnik (2-1-3) tallied twice, assisted both times by Smith who had a line of 1-3-4 on the evening while Mullin went 1-2-3 as the top line was a combined 4-6-10 on the night.

For senior netminder Connor Knapp, it was business as usual.

Knapp stopped 22 of 23 duhOSU shots, the only goal coming on a 5×3 powerplay as he is now 13-6 on the season with a 1.53 goals against average with .939 save percentage. Knapp and Reilly Smith (26-12-38) have each played themselves into CCHA player of the year contention, and perhaps, into the Hobey Baker discussion as Smith is now second nationally in goals and Knapp is in the top 5 in almost every major goaltending category, except maybe victories.

With the weekend sweep and Michigan State’s split with Notre Dame, Miami will finish in fourth place in the CCHA and host the Spartans in Oxford for the second round of the CCHA playoffs which will be a best-of-three series. The winner will advance to the CCHA semifinals in Detroit with an opportunity to play for the Mason Cup. The Michigan State series will be March 9-11 at Steve Cady Arena. Miami swept the Spartans in East Lansing January 6-7 so this should be an outstanding series to watch.

Currently, Miami is tied for 8th in the PairWise rankings. We’ll see if that changes as other games go final.

duhOSU coach Mark Osiecki continued his pattern of whining after losses with yet another classic.

“In the second period we had a puck hit the post and it bounced out. It could’ve been a 3-2 game but we haven’t been able to get those bounces to go our way all season when they matter.”

Sure, Mark. Those bounces were probably all you needed against a superior opponent.

Check back tomorrow for the Redskin Warrior #SixPack as we breakdown the key facts and figures for the RedHawks.

‘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.

RedHawks finish Regular Season with Home/Home against Ohio State

It has been a wild week for the Miami Hockey “family” this week.  From the end of the Swoop’s Stoop jersey auctions, to Carter Camper getting the call up to the NHL’s Boston Bruins, everywhere you turned this week, the RedHawks were making headlines.  Connor Knapp took home the CCHA Goaltender of the Week award, as well as the INCH National Player of the Week award, solidifying his spot as Miami’s go-to goalie right now. And finally, add into the mix Tommy Wingels badgering the bigger and taller R.J. Umberger in on Wednesday (while playing on the Shark’s top line) in Columbus.

I’m guessing that Tommy didn’t have Miami’s upcoming series against Ohio State on his mind as he dropped gloves against the former Ohio State Captain and current Columbus Blue Jacket, but it was definitely a preview of what is sure to be a heated series this weekend in Oxford and Columbus. Of late, the series has been of the intense variety, with the Red and White holding the advantage in the overall series. Bolstered by the addition of the no-defunct Ohio Hockey Classic as well as a few CCHA playoff series, the RedHawks have faced Ohio State more than any other team in school history.  Earlier this season, each team won on the road in the first home and home series, and the all-time mark is now 64-60-12. Surprisingly, Ohio State holds the edge in Columbus with a 21-33-7 mark, despite the raucous crowds empty cavern of an arena they now play in.

Miami's 10 seniors will be honored following Friday's game, which has an early start time of 6:05 p.m.photo courtesy of muredhawks.com

Friday night’s contest will be at 6:05pm in the Goggin, with the puck drop moved up to accomodate the CBS Sports Network telecast.  It wil be senior night for the ‘Hawks, and the 10 Miami Seniors will be honored AFTER the game due to the early start. The RedHawks look to finish of the regular season on Saturday night in Value City Arena in Columbus on Ohio State’s Senior night.  Puck drop is set for 7:05pm and the game will be only be streamed online at BTN.com. The first 5,000 fans will receive rally towels on Saturday night, as well as thundersticks from Big Money U Ohio State, so get there early (yawn…).  You can take a quick glance at the weekend’s tale of the tape from College Hockey News by clicking here.

To say that 2012 has been dismal for Ohio State would be an understatement. After shooting out of the gate with a 14-4-1 record to start the year, including a 11 game unbeaten streak (ended by Miami), Ohio State has since gone 1-7-4. To make matters worse, all 4 of those ties were shootout losses, with 2 of them coming at the hands of last place BGSU. That’s a measly 7 points in CCHA conference play since we rang in 2012. The only thing that could make this half of the season worse for Ohio State is another ugly sweater contest. Here are a few of the glorious entries of recent memory:

Along with Ohio State’s free fall over the course of 2012, they’ve also slid down the PairWise rankings and CCHA standings. After hitting the top spot on the PairWise, where they stayed for a long period largely due to their strength of schedule, Ohio State now sits in 13th, just 1 spot behind Miami and Michigan State. In the CCHA standings, Ohio State has fallen from the top spot all the way to 7th, and even with only 3 points this weekend would still likely not get a first round bye in the CCHA playoffs. Ohio State can finish as high as 3rd or as low as 9th in the CCHA standings.

Miami, on the other hand, bottomed out at 9th early in the year, and will finish somewhere between 2nd and 7th. Many RedHawks fans will likely be watching the scoreboards this weekend, and rightfully so. Currently, Miami’s Magic Number to clinch a first round bye in the CCHA Playoffs stands at just 3 points. Just one win will put Miami far enough ahead of Lake Superior State and Ohio State who sit in 6th and 7th respectively, that those two teams will not be able to catch up on this final weekend of the CCHA regular season. Miami currently sits in 5th place, and keep in mind that 1st through 5th get byes in the current CCHA playoff format.

In addition to cheering for Northern Michigan as they host Lake Superior State in the lower half of the standings, Miami will also be looking up the standings, as they are currently tied with Michigan State in the PairWise at 11th. MSU will be playing in South Bend against a Notre Dame team that hasn’t won since February 3rd against Bowling Green, and have lost 5 straight. Western Michigan, currently 3rd in the CCHA is within striking distance, especially considering the Broncos have a home/home series with Ferris State this weekend (FSN Detroit, 7:05pm Friday).

For those keeping score at home, outside of beating Ohio State, cheer for Ferris State to win the CCHA and sweep Western Michigan, and follow that up with a 5 points from Notre Dame over MSU (CBS Sports, 8:35pm Friday; Comcast Sports, 7:35 Saturday). And finally, root on Northern Michigan over Lake State.

Hopefully you’re one of the 400+ that purchased tickets through miamibeef and the Columbus Chapter of the Alumni Association, nearly 100 who will be joining RedAlert or the Miami Blue Line Club’s bus trips, and will be joining Beef for the game in Columbus.

Enjoy the games and GO REDHAWKS!

duhOSU Coach: “That darn travel!”

It is approximately 140 miles (that’s a two-hour drive, folks) between Crappy Furniture Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio and Progressive Field in Cleveland where duhOSU faced Michigan on Sunday. Yet, for Ohio State head coach, Mark Osiecki, it was much more than that. In fact it was so draining the Buckeyes required “time off for physical and mental reasons.” And, he has supplied us with another classic excuse after yet another duhOSU loss.

As you may recall, Osiecki said that classwork was the reason for the Buckeyes’ poor preparation leading to a loss to Miami back on December 9. Um, it’s college hockey, pal. Well now, he’s given us these reasons for last night’s 4-3 loss to Ferris State — in Columbus.

“We are just disappointed. We tried to be smart after last weekend with the travel and playing outdoors. We gave some time off for physical and mental reasons. We didn’t do a good enough job with the preparation.”

So, I guess the Buckeyes were simply unable to rebound from the “physical and mental stress” of a 280-mile roundtrip to Cleveland and still manage to play a home game the following weekend. If Osiecki is continually struggling with “preparation,” shouldn’t someone tell him college hockey games are played weekly and that you actually have quite a bit of time to prepare? In fact, Western Michigan head coach Andy Murray told USCHO beat writer Paula C. Weston just this week that he felt college teams are “well prepared.”

“You see how well prepared the teams are for each game because the coaches have a full week to prepare them,” said Murray. “The work of the coaches at this level is extraordinary.”

At some point you just have to stop making excuses — especially laughable ones. If Osiecki can’t get his team prepared, well, that speaks volumes about where that program is headed. The fact of the matter is that Ohio State is crashing back to the earth with a gigantic thud and all is becoming right in the world once more.

Only duhOSU folks.