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Miami v. Michigan – CCHA Semifinal #2

The RedHawks face streaking Michigan at Joe Louis Arena

On the strength of series’ victories over Michigan State and Western Michigan, respectively, the Miami RedHawks and Michigan Wolverines will meet once again at Joe Louis Arena for the right to advance to tomorrow night’s last-ever CCHA championship game.

Today’s semi-final matchup smells precisely like the one the teams played in 2010 when the regular season champion RedHawks faced seventh seeded Michigan who had gotten hot late in the year needing to win the conference tournament to earn a bid to the NCAA tournament. Of course, Michigan would go on to win the Mason Cup but Miami would have another chance to face the Wolverines in the Midwest regional final in Fort Wayne where the RedHawks would gain revenge by earning their second consecutive trip to the Frozen Four.

Read the rest of this entry


Tuesday Newsbrief…and Such…

No recap this weekend? No problem!

With the seemingly endless stream of awful coming from new Miami All-Access partner NeuLion, and the lack of a video stream of last weekend’s games, the point of doing a recap of each game was moot. None of the Warriors really got a chance to even listen to Miami’s radio voice, Greg Waddell, call the games because the damn feed was in and out of service every few minutes. And, for much of the time, it was out for several minutes at a time.

That said, you may have heard that then #3 Miami split its two-game set at then #6 Michigan losing 4-2 Friday and winning 4-3 Saturday.

Miami freshman netminder Jay Williams was the hero of the weekend as he stopped 30 shots in a losing effort Friday after coming in cold off the bench as starter Ryan McKay was forced to leave the game early after apparently injuring his leg or groin muscle. And, on Saturday, Williams’ 37 save effort propelled Miami to a 4-3 victory as the RedHawks scored three times in the third period to overcome a 2-1 deficit.

Both games were played at breakneck speed with Miami and Michigan registering in excess of 65 shots on goal each night and were tightly contested.

On Friday, the teams were tied 2-2 after two periods as the Wolverines capitalized on two quick goals in the third to register the 4-2 victory. And, on Saturday, Michigan led 2-1 after two, but saw the RedHawks score three goals in just 2:41 as they held on to earn the split, 4-3.

Offensively, Miami was led by the tandem of Austin Czarnik and Riley Barber as they combined for six points on the weekend while Williams ran his collegiate record to 3-1.

Following their stellar effort, Miami finds themselves ranked fourth in the nation in both major polls and in a six-way tie for third place in the CCHA, just a point back of second place duhOSU and three points behind Notre Dame.

This week, Miami is on the road again at national runners-up and #19th ranked Ferris State in Big Rapids, Mich.

Last weekend, the Bulldogs split a home series with Alaska winning 6-3 on Friday before dropping the Saturday finale 3-2. Sophomore goaltender C.J. Motte was in net for both games making 76 saves on the weekend, the most for a Bulldog goaltender in a two-game weekend set since 1992. If that means anything, it could indicate the Bulldogs defense-first, trapping system isn’t properly functioning yet with the defensive departures of team captain Chad Billins, Brett Wysopal and Aaron Schmit. The Bulldogs are breaking in three freshmen defensemen, Simon Denis, Jason Binkley and Travis White, and you’d like to think the RedHawks can take advantage of their youth as teams have tried to do to Miami over the season’s first month.

We’ll have a full preview later this week, but the teams square off at 7:05pm both night. Hopefully, Miami All-Access and Greg Waddell have the call if NeuLion can get its act together.

RedHawks start 4-game roadtrip at Michigan

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.

Go RedHawks!!!

Saturday CCHA Playoff recap and #SixPack

What a night for College Hockey. It was like Christmas all over again and we haven’t even scratched the surface outside the CCHA!

Bowling Green takes 1-0 lead at Ferris State

Last night’s victory by BGSU marks the first time the last place CCHA team has won a game in the second round of the tournament. Last year,  the Falcons also took down Northern Michigan in 3 games in round 1 (winning in 2OT in game 3), but they failed to take a win in round 2, going down 5-1 and 4-1 at Michigan. This year, things get VERY interesting as former Miami assistant Chris Bergeron has his Falcons playing inspired hockey. They’ve won 4 of their last 6, including once against Michigan, and now 3 in a row against NMU (2) and Ferris State.

Cam Wojtala had 2 goals in regulation, and freshman Ryan Carpenter scored the game winner in overtime. But perhaps the player of the game was Goalie Andrew Hammond, who stopped an incredible 54 shots on the night.  Check out the complete recap including interviews after the game. Here’s the highlights as well!

For free streaming audio of the game tonight, here is the link for the BGSU Feed. Pregame coverage starts at 6:35 and puck drop for game 2 is set for 7:05pm.

Western Michigan beats Lake State 4-2

Ian Slater scored twice for Western Michigan, and Mike Leone scored the 2nd period game winner. Leone only has 8 goals for his in his 3 seasons, but 4 of those have come in the CCHA Playoffs. Frank Slubowski was only called on to make 20 saves on the night as the Broncos took a 1-0 series lead in come back fashion. After going down just 3:13 in to the game, the Broncos scored 3 times before Lake State would answer again in a relatively calm CCHA game that only had 3 power play opportunities.

You can catch the full recap from here, and stay tuned to the CCHA Productions YouTube channel to catch the highlights later today.

Michigan survives in 2OT against Notre Dame

Michigan’s Chris Brown scored the game winner 3:11 into the second overtime period to give Michigan a 1-0 lead in their first round playoff series against Notre Dame. Shawn Hunwick stopped 37 saves, and Michigan is now just 1 win away from their 24th consecutive trip to Detroit for the CCHA Final Four tournament.

It’s no Jimmy Mullin, but Michigan scored just 1:08 into the game to take a 1-0 lead, and the game stayed that way until the 11:23 mark of the third when Notre Dame’s Anders Lee scored to tie it up. ND’s goalie Steven Summerhays stopped 40 shots on the night (14 in the first OT), many of them of highlight-reel worthy, but couldn’t stop the last one. Catch the full recap here, and then jump over to the highlights!

Tonight’s game 2 is set for a 7:35pm puck drop, and you can listen for free at the ND All-Access site by clicking here. You can also view the game on Comcast Sports on the teevee machines.


Here is the Saturday SixPack of tweets. Be sure to follow us on twitter by hitting or follow @redskinwarriors to make sure you don’t miss out on these juicy tidbits!

  • Jimmy Mullin’s goal 12 seconds into the game is tied for the fastest goal in #MiamiU history, tying Tim Huettl, who scored 12 seconds into a game 1/3/1986 vs Mich-Dearborn.
  • Jimmy Mullin had 2 G and 2 A for a career high 4 points and was a +3. Had 3 points against OSU 2/25. He’s proving he’s good at hockey too. 10 pts during 4gm pt streak. #stud
  • Curtis McKenzie scores his first goal since December 10th. Reilly Smith now has 7-gm scoring streak. #MiamiU has scored first in 5 straight, 25 of 37 overall. #firingrange
  • Connor Knapp is on fire. 5 shutouts in calendar 2012. 3 in last 5 gms. 13 for career is the new Miami record. #MiamiU’s CCHA-leading 7th shutout of season. #bulletproo
  • When trailing after 40 minutes of regulation, Lake State is now 0-14-3. #WesternMichigan takes a 1-0 lead in their #CCHAPlayoffs series.
  • Notre Dame is 16-3-0 when scoring three or more goals. Last night, they scored 1 and are now 1-14-1 when scoring less than three. #putthepuckinthegoal #CCHAPlayoffs

The highlights from last night’s game can be found on the CCHA Productions YouTube page, or by clicking here.

Puck Drop is set for 7:05 in Oxford. Don’t forget to tune in to the All-Access feed tonight, as the game will not be televised otherwise.


Weekend Preview: Miami at Michigan

As the RedHawks head to Ann Arbor this weekend, they’ll have memories of recent series against Michigan in their minds.  5 of 6 points in November.  A 4-2, 3-0 sweep to honor Brendan Burke this same weekend 1 year ago in Oxford.  A double overtime victory in Fort Wayne, Indiana to head to the 2010 Frozen Four.  Another epic sweep with 3-1 and 5-1 wins in Michigan in November 2009 – Miami’s first ever in Yost Ice Arena.

That’s right folks. Miami hasn’t lost to Michigan since the CCHA Semifinal game against Michigan on March 19, 2009 in Detroit. 6-0-1 in the last 2+ seasons with the one tie being a shootout win earlier this season after a longstanding series of losses for the Red and White. With the all-time series tilted heavily in Michigan’s favor 69-26-4, the recent swing for Miami is a welcome change.  Don’t miss HappyGirl2525’s thoughts about the hated Wolverines and the ongoing rivalry.This week should be another fantastic measuring stick for the recently hot RedHawks, as they head to Ann Arbor to face the equally hot #7/8 Michigan squad that has only lost twice since the start of December. Michigan split an intense series last weekend losing 3-1 at Notre Dame before coming back for a 2-1 win last Saturday.

In addition to a stellar 8-1-2 record since December 3rd, Michigan goalie Shawn Hunwick was named Gongshow CCHA Goalie of the month for January and Freshman Alex Guptil won the Gongshow Rookie of the Month as well.

Perhaps someone can explain to us why Hunwick won the monthly honor instead of Connor Knapp?  Hunwick posted a 4-1-0 record, with one shutout, a 1.08 goals-against average (9 total goals allowed) and a .971 save percentage as he played in 5 of 6 games for the Wolverines in January.  On the other hand, Knapper went 5-1 in January, allowed just 5 goals in 6 games, was named the INCH National Player of the Week for the first weekend of the year, won 2 of the 4 CCHA Weekly awards for goaltenders, had a minuscule 0.83 goals-against average and equally impressive .964 save percentage in his 6 contests.

Guptill recorded five goals and five assists in six games for a team-best 10 points in January. According to “the Newmarket, Ont., native leads Michigan in scoring and his 14 goals place him in a tie for second in the CCHA and his 26 points are good for a tie for fifth in the league. Nationally, Guptill ranks first in goals and third in points among freshmen.”

Stopping the Wolverines will require Miami to slow down Guptill, as well as Senior captain David Wohlberg who is second on the team in points with a line of 11-14-25 but is currently nursing an injury and his playing status is unknown. Even if Wohlberg does play, how effective will he be?  Michigan’s style has them constantly looking for an odd man rush with long passes through the zone. Miami will need to limit these chances and will rely on great goaltending all weekend long.

In addition, don’t be surprised if the ‘Hawks try to get in Hunwick’s head early. Perhaps an accidental run into the crease? Ring a shot off the facemask? Anything to get Hunwick off of his game, and perhaps get him to pull a Hacksaw Jim Duggan clothesline like he did here:

If you’re like us and like to keep a close eye on the nightly scoreboards and CCHA standings, you’d be interested to know that currently 7 teams stand within a weekend sweep of the CCHA lead.  Any of the 7 teams other than Lake State could find themselves in first after this weekend if the dust settles correctly.

  • Ferris State (20 games played) – 37 points – at Northern Michigan
  • Miami (22), Western Michigan (20), OSU (20) – 36 – MU at Michigan, WMU vs. Alaska, OSU vs. MSU
  • Lake Superior State (22) – 35 – vs USNTDP (no CCHA games)
  • Notre Dame (20) – 33 – vs. BGSU
  • Michigan (20) – 32 – vs. Miami

In addition, the CCHA has 7 teams in the USCHO Top 20 rankings (the above 7, minus LSSU, plus NMU). Michigan State and Lake State are in the “others receiving votes” section at #21 and 22 respectively.  Ferris State even picked up a #1 vote in this weeks poll.  While we’re at it, take a gander at this week’s CCHA Now show.

Both games this weekend are at 7:30 and both will be televised. If you get the “sports pack,” look for Fox Sports Detroit Plus on Friday, and CBS College Sports on Saturday.

You won’t want to miss action like this from Miami’s latest victory over Michigan, so if you’re anywhere near Ann Arbor, join miamibeef04 at Yost – tickets are still available for both games.

Go RedHawks!

Miami and Michigan Skate to 3-3 Tie

Reilly Smith scored a pair of goals and Cody Reichard made 25 saves as Miami settled for a 3-3 tie with Michigan on Saturday night.

After spotting then #4 Michigan (7-3-2, 3-3-2-1 CCHA) a 2-0 first period lead, Miami (5-6-1, 3-4-1-1 CCHA) stormed back to salvage a 3-3 tie earning the extra point in the league standings with a 1-0 shootout win. More on that in a moment.

Overall, Miami dominated the Wolverines for a second consecutive night winning the battles along the boards and controlling play while outshooting Michigan 41-28. The 41 shots marked a season’s best number for the Red and White. Further, Miami was so dominant, they erased the 2-0 deficit when junior Reilly Smith scored his second goal of the night on the power play with just over 12 left in regulation to take a 3-2 lead. Arguably, this should have been a regulation win for Miami if not for two disallowed goals, one of which was incredibly controversial, and a fluke goal from Michigan freshman Zach Hyman that tied the game at 3 late in the third period.

Perhaps this game should be our 2010 West Regional Final since Michigan fans can’t seem to let that one go and Miami had one stolen away last night. One thing’s certain, Miami looked nothing like the team we’d seen through the season’s first ten games this weekend as Miami had all facets of their game working. The only really negative thing I took away from the weekend is the RedHawks are still guilty of being too aggressive at times. Last night we saw several overplays from nearly every group on the squad that led to Michigan goals. Nothing wrong with working hard, but Miami needs to find that line of aggressiveness that doesn’t result in pucks in their net.

The real highlight of the night might not have been the nice redirection by Reilly Smith that gave Miami a brief lead, but rather, the winning shootout goal from sophomore Bryon Paulazzo.

Paulazzo, shooting fourth for Miami, started to his right and skated toward the Baby Goalie. Knowing that BG had just poke-checked Reilly Smith from close range, Paulazzo kept his distance and at the last moment spun with the puck on his backhand and roofed a shot above the fallen Baby. Here’s video courtesy of Miami All-Access and ONN.

After Paulazzo’s goal, Miami senior netminder Cody Reichard stopped Michigan’s leading scorer, Lindsay Sparks, to give the RedHawks the additional point in CCHA play. Reichard stopped all four Michigan shooters while Baby Goalie stopped three of four RedHawks including Smith, Austin Czarnik and Jimmy Mullin before surrendering Paulazzo’s highlight reel goal.

Next weekend, the RedHawks look to extend their four-game unbeaten streak (3-0-1) as they remain home to face Chris Bergeron’s Bowling Green Falcons in a two-game CCHA series.


– Miami is now 8-3-1 against the Wolverines in their last 12 meetings and is unbeaten in the last five (4-0-1).

– Cody Reichard has been in net for the previous four Miami games as Connor Knapp recovers from injury. Reichard is 3-0-1 in those four games.

– Reilly Smith now has seven goals on the year in just 10 games as he picked up his second multi-goal game of the year. He had 28 goals last year for Miami.

– The two teams will meet again in the regular season in Ann Arbor on February 3-4.

– Miami freshman Austin Czarnik set a career high with 3 points on the evening (1G, 2A).

– Miami has moved to 19th in the Pairwise and 16th in KRACH. They have played the 5th most difficult schedule in the nation thus far.

Miami defeats #4 Michigan 2-1

In their most complete game of the season, the Miami RedHawks (5-6, 3-4 CCHA) received goals from freshmen Jimmy Mullin and Tyler Biggs and senior goaltender Cody Reichard made 20 saves as the RedHawks knocked off #4 Michigan (7-3-1, 3-3-1-1 CCHA) 2-1 at Steve Cady Arena.

It was an all-around effort for Miami as not only did the defense deny the Wolverines time and space, but chipped in with three of the four assists on the two Miami goals. Sophomore Garrett Kennedy and junior Joe Hartman assisted on the Mullin goal while senior co-captain Will Weber and junior forward Curtis McKenzie offered helpers on Biggs’ game winner. And, when the defense did breakdown, Cody Reichard was there to make key saves with none bigger than a lunging stop on Wolverine senior David Wohlberg, who found a loose puck on his stick in front of the Miami net with just over a minute left in regulation.

If last night is to be a harbinger of what’s to come, things are looking up for this team. Miami played with the sort of intensity that toed the line between out of control and physical. Unlike many of the season’s first 11 games that have been a parade to the penalty box, Miami managed to physically dominate the Wolverines but took only three minor penalties for six minutes before a few unpleasantries were exchanged between Michigan’s Alex Guptill and Miami’s Curtis McKenzie at the game’s final buzzer. If Miami can limit their time shorthanded and play their brand of tough, physical hockey, that will help them as the young forwards continue to find their game.

Tonight, Miami goes for their fourth straight win as they conclude this early season matchup with #4 Michigan. With three league points already secured, the RedHawks have an opportunity to play their game and improve upon their 8-3 record against the Wolverines over the past several years. In order to do so, they’ll need to play a game very similar to last night — tough defense, timely scoring and good goaltending. If they can, they’ll erase their early 2-6 start and climb back to .500 overall.


– Senior Trent Vogelhuber was assessed a 10 minute misconduct for leaving the bench to get involved in the scuffle at the final buzzer. It’s unclear if Vogelhuber was assessed a DQ or if it was just a misconduct. If he received the DQ, he’ll miss tonight’s finale against the Wolverines.

– Miami’s freshman forward Austin Czarnik will return to the lineup tonight after serving his mandatory one-game suspension for receiving a DQ in last Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Alaska.

– After a slow start, senior netminder Cody Reichard is on a roll. His overall record is now 4-3 and he has been in net for the past three Miami victories allowing just three goals while watching his season stats improve dramatically. Reichard now sports a 2.27 goals-against average and .908 save percentage as he begins to round into form. In fact, as of October 30, Reichard’s numbers were an un-Cody-like 3.11 and .870 after the weekend sweep at the hands of Lake Superior State.

– In addition to having a chance to even its overall record at 6-6, a win tonight would even the RedHawks record at home as well as in the CCHA as Miami has moved into 7th place in the league, just two points behind Michigan. A regulation or OT victory would catapult the RedHawks past the Wolverines in the CCHA.

RedHawks Sweep Nanooks, face Michigan this Weekend

After finishing a sweep over the Alaska Nanooks in Fairbanks on Saturday night, the Miami RedHawks (4-6 overall, 2-4 CCHA) come home to face their fiercest rival, the #4 Michigan Wolverines, in a two-game CCHA series at Steve Cady Arena on Friday and Saturday night.

In earning their first two CCHA victories, the RedHawks used a familiar formula of stout defense, solid goaltending and timely scoring. Though this Miami team is still spending way too much time in the penalty box, at least they began to showcase the sort of mettle that’s going to be necessary for this team to win. In short, they aren’t going to win too many pretty games.

On Saturday, junior forward Curtis McKenzie got Miami off and running with a power play goal at 6:25 of the first period, senior Cody Reichard made 24 saves and sophomore forward Max Cook scored the game-winner at 8:32 of the third period as Miami held on to sweep the weekend series. For his weekend efforts, freshman forward Tyler Biggs was named the Gongshow CCHA Rookie of the Week on the merits of his two helpers, +1 rating on the weekend with one blocked shot against the Nanooks. Hopefully, this is but the first of many such awards for the highly regarded first round draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs. For the season, Biggs is 1-4-5 with a -3 rating, good enough for a tie for third in scoring for the RedHawks. And, the aforementioned Reichard played both nights in allowing just two goals all weekend.

Looking ahead to this weekend, the RedHawks have no time to recover, nor revel in the sweep of the Nanooks as Miami will welcome the Michigan Wolverines to Steve Cady Arena. The Wolverines (7-2-1 overall, 3-2-1-1 CCHA) split a two-game series in Ann Arbor with Western Michigan last weekend delivering the first loss of the season to the Broncos on Saturday night. Unlike Miami, the Wolverines have found immediate replacements for lost scorers including Carl “That Miele Guy” Hagelin and Louie Caporusso, and have received major contributions from rather unknown upperclassmen such as Lindsay Sparks (13 points) and A.J. Treais (10 points) who lead the team in scoring. In fact, Michigan is averaging 4.6 goals per game, good enough for third in the nation while Miami is averaging just 2.3 goals per night.

Back in net is the “Baby Goalie” himself, senior Shawn Hunwick. Hunwick is off to another strong start with one shutout, a 1.62 goals-against average and sterling .941 save percentage. But, as we know, the Baby Goalie uses a rattle can be rattled. We need the Miami student section to get all over him and hope he loses his cool and “goes Caruso” like he’s done in the past. This season he’s already punched a player (above) earning a 5 minute major and a game misconduct in a loss against Northern Michigan in Marquette. Let’s be loud and get the Baby Goalie off his game this weekend. Rattles in the crowd would be outstanding!

Unfortunately, this is not a good matchup for Miami. Our undisciplined play this season could really hurt us against another talented Michigan squad that’s playing good hockey. While their power play is only converting at a .196 click, they already have seven skaters with at least 9 points meaning they’re getting contributions from everyone. By contrast, Miami does not have a single scorer with more than 7 points (Alden Hirschfeld) and cannot get into an up and down game with the talented Wolverines. To steal a game, we’ll need to clog the neutral zone, play stout defense and get great goaltending from our two senior leaders in net. If last weekend’s performance against Alaska is a sign of things to come, this series could be close. But, in the end, Miami doesn’t seem to have enough right now to build on it’s 7-3 record against the Wolverines over the last 10 games.

As much as I’d like to see Miami improve it’s 1-3 home record this season, I think Michigan sweeps.

Michigan’s Merrill Suspended

USCHO is reporting Michigan sophomore defenseman Jon Merrill has been suspended 12 games including exhibition contests for violating team rules.

Merrill was expected to contribute at a high level and carry the Wolverines on the blueline as they work to replace the potent scoring they lost with the departures of seniors Carl “That Miele Guy” Hagelin and Louis Caporusso.

The suspension must have been for something grave because 12 games is roughly a third of the regular season and Merrill is expected to have a big sophomore campaign. He’s already been named to the CCHA preseason team and a leader on head coach Red Berenson’s 2011-12 squad.

Merrill will be eligible to return from his suspension on Friday, November 11 against, wait for it, Miami in Oxford. Figures.