It’s time for a new identity!
(photo courtesy neonsigninc.com)
Since Alex started “RedHawkey” on June 11, 2008, we’ve had 3 names around these parts. It started with “RedHawkey” and after the addition of Mike to the staff, the guys changed it up to Redskin Warriors – a name that we owe a lot of our success and followers to. There was some discomfort at the name of the blog from the get go, along with some praise, but after a few years as “the warriors” we decided it was time for a new direction.
Wait what? 3 games against Ohio State?
Well, let’s lump them all in together. Miami plays this weekend at Ohio State in what could be the last games in Columbus in a good while, and follows that up with a game in between Christmas and New Years in the Three Rivers Classic in Pittsburgh against the same team. That makes 3 in a row. And I want to throw up now.
In the effort of having our lunches remain inside of us for now, I’ll spare you the gruesome pictures of Ohio State’s uniform choices in the past, but remind you that they are hideous. We’ll see enough of that on the ice in the next 35 hours or so. Let’s jump in with some comparisons, shall we?
Brady Hjelle will be in net for Ohio State, most likely for both games this weekend. He is 5-3-3 on the season with a 1.46 GAA. Not to shabby until you look at Miami’s Fab Freshmen Ryan McKay and Jay Williams. McKay has still only allowed 2 goals in his 4 starts (2-1-1) and Williams is a stellar 8-2-2 on the season, having filled in for McKay for a stretch. On the other hand, Hjelle has started 40 games already in his career, while Miami’s duo is still at only 16 combined games. There will be rubber flying around the rink the next 2 nights, but it may not tickle the twine too often for either side.
Where Miami MUST be strong this weekend is on special teams. Last weekend against Lake Superior State, all three goals the Lakers scored were on the power play, and LSSU was 3 for 7 overall. On the season, Miami’s scoring pretty well on their own power play at 15%, but are operating at just 86.2% efficience on the kill. That’s quite the low number compared to years past from the RedHawks under Head Coach Enrico Blasi. On paper, Miami shouldn’t have to deal with too much on the Ohio State side of special teams. OSU is scoring just 11.4% of the time on the power play and is a paltry 85.7% on the kill. Austin Czarnik will look to cheat the penalty kill and get another SHG – he currently leads the NCAA with 3 shorties so far this season.
Ohio State is also in the midst of possibly playing the same team three times in a short span. They had a home and home series against Robert Morris last weekend, and came away 0-1-1.
Everyone A team like Ohio State should be able to roll over RMU easily. Instead, OSU lost at home to them 3-2, and then tied them 2-2 in Pittsburgh.
As we know, Miami’s young core of talent leads the way, and only 2 returning upperclassmen are in the team’s top 10 in scoring (Curtis McKenzie is 4-6–10 and Bryon Paulazzo is 2-2–4, Senior Marc Hagel has 2-3–5 in his first season in Oxford). Ohio State is led by Ryan Dzingel
berry, who has 6 goals and 8 assists on the season. He is undoubtedly the Ohio State leader and is often seen skating all out and hustling on every play. Stopping him will be another key to the extended series.
Tonight’s game will will be televised nationally on the Big Ten Network. They are also the first games of the Ohio Cup series for Miami among the 3 Ohio teams (Ohio State won and BGSU won a shootout in their series earlier this year). Wouldn’t it be nice to deal a crushing blow to Ohio State on their network? I think so too. Hawks tonight. Other guys tomorrow for the split.
If you are travelling to Columbus or are attending with the Miami group, be sure to say hi and drive safely! Enjoy the games, and Happy Holidays everyone!
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.
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.
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.