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Miami splits in Florida, heads to Troy

After blowing a two-goal third period lead and losing 3-2 in overtime to a down Notre Dame team (9-9-2), Miami (12-6-0) rebounded yesterday with a convincing 3-0 win over Cornell in the consolation game of the Florida College Hockey Classic. That Miami did not handily win the Florida tournament is disappointing in that none of the other three teams have a winning record. In fact, Notre Dame has dropped contests to duhOSU (5-9-1), Lake Superior (4-17-1), and Rensselaer (6-13-1), the team Miami will face this weekend in non-conference action.

Now, there has been talk of whether there was or was not video review of the tying goal late in the third period which Miami contested was directed in off a glove. Frankly, it was almost impossible to follow the audio call on Sunday because it was so bad so we aren’t making a claim that Miami was robbed. The fact is, regardless of how it happened, Miami let another late lead evaporate, something that has plagued this team for years.

It has to stop.

Heading to Troy, N.Y. this weekend, Miami will face a two-game road series against ECAC foe, Rensselaer, who I saw in person here in Denver earlier this season.

RPI is not a good team. I said so then and the Engineers have done nothing evidenced by their record to disprove my take from a few months back. Miami should sweep this team, and frankly, can’t afford another loss against a team outside the top 30 of the PWR.

What I recall about RPI was that they had good size, decent speed but are offensively inept and defensively suspect. I guess that’s about what you’d expect from a team that’s 6-13-1.

Miami will once again be without the services of sophomore winger Anthony Louis who has looked good representing Team USA in the WJC this week. The RedHawks need to play their game, get out with two wins and prepare to reenter conference play next week when they travel to St. Cloud, Minn. to face the Huskies on January 9-10.

Notes

– Ryan McKay was in net in the 3-2 OT loss to Notre Dame. His first start since November 15 at North Dakota.

– Jay Williams got the shutout on Monday, his 3rd of the season. He is now 3rd nationally in GAA (1.66) and tied for 6th in shutouts.

– Conor Lemirande and Taylor Richart scored their first collegiate goals in the two games.

– Miami is currently 6th in the PairWise rankings that typically determine the NCAA tournament field.

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#10 Miami vs. St. Lawrence

St. Lawrence freshman netminder Kyle Hayton is coming off a weekend that saw him stop 76 of 79 shots. (photo: Tara Freeman)

Fresh off last weekend’s sweep of then #17 Ohio State, Miami (3-1) returns to action this evening in the first of a weekend non-conference series with the Saints of St. Lawrence University.

The Saints (2-2) hail from the state of New York along with other members of the ECAC including RPI, whom Miami will face in January, and Cornell whom Miami could face in the Florida College Hockey Classic at the end of December. So, this is the first of a possible five games against ECAC competition that should help Miami prepare for a return to the NCAA tournament at the completion of the regular season.

The Series

All-time, Miami has faced St. Lawrence just 12 times and holds a slim 6-5-1 advantage in the series. However, the last meeting came in November of 2006 so really the all-time series numbers mean next to nothing except to note that Miami head coach Enrico Blasi has had success behind the bench piloting the RedHawks to a 4-3 road victory eight years ago.

The Coach

St. Lawrence head man Greg Carvel is an upstate New York native and played four seasons for the Saints in the early ‘90s. Carvel is in his third season behind the bench and has seen his share of tough times since replacing long time St. Lawrence coach, Joe Marsh, in the spring of 2012. The Saints finished a disappointing 8th in the competitive ECAC despite featuring a high-scoring offense led by “Hobey Baker Hat Tricker” Greg Carey who led the Saints with 18-39-57. Overall, Carvel is 35-37-8 at his alma mater and is desperately trying to jumpstart a program that has fallen behind the likes of Union, Colgate, Cornell and Quinnipiac as the lions of the ECAC.

The Team

The Saints enter the 2014-15 season with nine freshmen, including goaltender Kyle Hayton who recorded his first collegiate shutout last weekend as St. Lawrence split a series with then #4 Ferris State in Canton, N.Y. Hayton sports an impressive 2.49 GAA and .925 save percentage playing in the first four games for the Saints authoring two consecutive series splits.

Miami head coach Enrico Blasi says the Saints are an aggressive speedy team with a mobile defense corps that likes to apply constant pressure. He made a point in this week’s press conference to stress that Miami must have their heads right and be ready to compete in all three zones avoiding turnovers that could lead to transition chances for St. Lawrence.

Up front, the Saints lost four of their top five scorers including brothers Greg and Matt Carey (18-19-37) who tied atop the goal scoring list for St. Lawrence. In fact, the top returning scorer is sophomore defenseman Gavin Bayreuther (9-27-36) who has started fast leading the team in shots on goal (14) and already having contributed 2-2-4 in the first four matches of the year. Currently, sophomore forward Drew Smolcynski leads the Saints with 1-7-8 and another defenseman, Ben Masella is tied for second on the team in scoring having exactly matched Bayreuther’s.

Though the Saints are currently averaging four goals per game, they really are struggling to score because 10 of the season’s 16 goals came in a blowout win over lowly Niagara two weeks ago. In the three other games this year, the Saints are averaging just two goals per game potting only four in last weekend’s home split with Ferris State. Conversely, the Saints are allowing 3.3 goals per game and lost three starters along the blueline from last year’s squad that was one of the worst defensive clubs in the ECAC.

Newcomers to watch include Minnesota transfer Christian Horn who played in the USHL last season after seeing no game action with the Gophers in the 2012-13 season. Also keep an eye on Ryan Lough, who head coach Greg Carvel calls a “quick two-way player.”

The Saints were predicted to finish 11th in the 12 team ECAC.

The Prediction

If the Miami team that played last weekend shows up again, I think it will be a very good weekend for the RedHawks. I just don’t see St. Lawrence being able to score enough to keep up with Miami, and defensively, I expect the Saints to struggle against Miami’s size, tenacity and speed. I’ll pick a Miami sweep.

Both games will be streamed live on NCHC.tv and you can also catch Greg Waddell’s call at Miami All-Access. Tonight’s game gets underway at 7:35 PM and Saturday’s series finale will get things started at 8:05 PM.

#8 Miami Completes Weekend Sweep of Colgate

Light the Lantern! Miami opens 2012-13 season with impressive non-conference sweep of Colgate.

Behind another stellar goaltending performance by one of their freshman and five goals from five different players, #8 Miami completed an opening weekend sweep with a 5-1 victory over the Colgate Raiders.

As in Friday’s game, one of Miami’s heralded freshman goaltenders stymied the Raiders as Jay Williams made 2o saves while surrendering just one first period goal as Miami rallied from an early 1-0 deficit to score five unanswered goals.

Sophomore Cody Murphy notched three assists for a career high, and Kevin Morris and Riley Barber collected their first collegiate goals. Miami’s other tallies came from junior Bryon Paulazzo, his second of the year, sophomore Blake Coleman (3rd) and sophomore Alex Wideman (1st). Coleman had a weekend line of 3-1-4 in a bid to earn the conference’s weekly offensive player award while the Miami penalty killers were a perfect 13-for-13 in the two game sweep.

Next weekend, Miami remains in non-conference action at home as the Providence Friars from Hockey East travel to Oxford to take on the RedHawks. Last season, Miami defeated Providence 6-2 in the first game of the Denver Cup at Magness Arena en route to capturing the tournament title. Blake Coleman notched two goals in the game and Jimmy Mullin tallied to lead Miami to the win.

Notes
Curtis McKenzie was again absent from the Miami lineup.

MURedHawks.com has a full recap HERE.

USCHO.com has a full recap HERE.

Read Colgate’s official recap HERE.

Weekend Preview: Colgate v. #8 Miami

The Colgate Raiders and their cool logo invade Steve Cady Arena as #8 Miami kicks off 2012-13 Season

Finally!

Yes, tonight the #8 Miami RedHawks kick off their 2012-13 season hosting the Colgate Raiders of the ECAC in non-conference action. And, boy will we see some unfamiliar faces suiting up for the red and white as 11 freshmen don the opening night roster for Miami along with senior transfer Marc Hagel (Princeton). Most notably, will be the difference in net where for the first time since the 2007-08, someone other than Cody Reichard or Connor Knapp will man the Miami goal as freshmen Ryan McKay and Jay Williams inherit the crease from the highly decorated outgoing pair.

Up front, Miami moves on after the graduation of grinding leaders like Trent Vogelhuber and Alden Hirschfeld and the early departures of Reilly Smith and Tyler Biggs. However, the RedHawks welcome highly skilled forwards Riley Barber and Sean Kuraly to a lineup featuring returning stars Jimmy Mullin, Blake Coleman and Austin Czarnik.

If there was another team in the nation that can relate to the changes that Miami is enduring to its roster, it is Colgate.

The Raiders watched as Hobey Baker Finalist Austin Smith left campus after four outstanding years in Hamilton, N.Y. where he led the nation last season in goals (36) and finished with 57 points. In addition, linemate and sophomore Chris Wagner (17-34-51) also left early for the pros meaning that overall, Colgate loses 78 of 121 goals scored (65%) from just a year ago. However, the Raiders are particularly strong defensively and return junior netminder Eric Mihalik (Avon Lake, Ohio) who was 14-12-2 with a 2.88 GAA and .898 save percentage. Twenty-year veteran head coach, Don Vaughan, said of Mihalik, “Our strength is going to be on the back end. We have a lot of experience and a goalie [junior Eric Mihalik] who has proven he can win the big games. I’m excited, looking forward to get going.” source: USCHO.com

So, the real question for Colgate is, who will score?

Well, they began to craft an answer as the Raiders thoroughly thrashed Niagara 10-2 on Tuesday night. In doing so, the Raiders scored the most goals in a game in 14 years as seniors Kurtis Bartliff, Billy Rivellini and Robbie Bourdon scored two goals apiece and Mihalik made 18 saves en route to the blowout victory in front of 735 strong at Starr Hockey Rink in Hamilton.

This season Colgate is expected to be led by sophomore forward Joe Wilson (10-13-23) who played alongside Smith and Wagner and senior defenseman Jeremy Price. But, if others like Bartliff, Rivellini and Bourdon can contribute and Mihalik is solid in net, the Raiders could have a surprising year as they have been picked to finish in the bottom half of the surprisingly competitive ECAC standings.

In terms of this weekend, I’m calling a split here with Colgate winning tonight 2-1 and Miami returning the favor 4-2 tomorrow night in Oxford. Last season the teams split a pair of games in Hamilton after Miami blew a lead and lost the game in overtime on Saturday night or they would have swept the Raiders on their home ice.

For Miami, it will be interesting to see how quickly all the new names and faces mesh. There is a ton of talent on this team, but they are young and inexperienced. This will be a good non-conference test against another young, fast team. Overall, this should be a fun and exciting season of Miami hockey.