Monthly Archives: December 2009
It may indeed be the elephant in the room, but with the second half of the season upon us, it’s a subject that is sure to be on the mind’s of the Miami faithful- the “Rico Swoon.”
For those who may be new to “The Brotherhood,” the Rico Swoon is a term used to refer to the historically dismal beginning to the second half of the hockey season. With the exception of just a few seasons, the team has had a middling to poor record at best.
A Look at the “Rico Swoon“ (through the first ten games, post-holiday break)
2003-2004: 7-2-1 (NCAA Participant)
2005-2006: 6-3-1 (CCHA Champions, NCAA Participant)
2006-2007: 3-4-3 (NCAA Participant)
2007-2008: 7-2-1 (NCAA Participant)
2008-2009: 4-5-1 (NCAA Championship Game)
Take note of the early latter half record last season, after a first half start of 12-3-3. All five losses came in a row, two of which saw the RedHawks get swept in the Ohio Hockey Classic by Clarkson and Army, games that for a team of Miami’s caliber, should have been “locks.” The following weekend wasn’t much better, either. A trip to Ann Arbor left the Hawks reeling once more…another weekend sweep that found the Red & White outscored 9-1. The only bright spot to the early second half? A 6-1 Saturday night win that earned the team a weekend split with Michigan State in Oxford on January 17.
Which poses the age old question: What exactly is the cause of the slump? What say you?
Andy Miele scored two goals during a four-goal third period lifting Miami to a 4-2 win over Ohio State. Miele’s first goal, a powerplay marker at 11:43 of the period forged a 2-2 tie. His second goal at 17:41 proved to be the game-winner as Miami rallied for the win.
The victory enabled the RedHawks to maintain their five-point cushion over second place Michigan State who finished off a two-game sweep of Bowling Green by winning 4-1. And, Miami retained their six-point lead over red hot Ferris State who also notched a weekend sweep downing Western Michigan 4-3.
Miami (13-2-5 overall, 10-1-3-1 CCHA) is now off until 2010 when they open the second half of the season with a non-conference home-and-home series against Robert Morris. The first game will be held in Pittsburgh’s Mellon Arena on Friday, January 8 as part of the Pittsburgh College Hockey Showcase. The Miami-RMU game will be the third of the day that will also see the Robert Morris women’s team take on UConn (2pm) and the RMU club team against Penn State (5pm). Miami and RMU will conclude the series in Oxford on Sunday, January 10 before the RedHawks hit the road for a difficult, and lengthy, four-game trip to Big Rapids, Mich. and Fairbanks, Alaska. The Big Rapids trip looks to be one of the season’s most important as Miami and Ferris State are separated by just six points in the standings. If Miami could sweep the Bulldogs, they will be in great position as the season winds down to finish among the top two in the CCHA. The following weekend, Miami travels to the great white north where they will face the University of Alaska in a grueling series against a Nanook team that always seems to play Miami tough.
For Ohio State (7-12-1, 5-8-1-1 CCHA), they have to put the first half of the season behind them and use the time over the holidays to regroup. With wins against top ten teams Denver and Bemidji State, the Buckeyes have shown an ability to play with the nation’s elite. However, Saturday’s loss after playing some of their best hockey for two periods has to be disappointing.
Unlike Friday, on Saturday night, the teams skated a fairly even, uneventful first period with both starting goaltenders seeing action – their first of the weekend as both coaches chose to start their alternate goalie. Buckeye starter, junior Dustin Carlson, was the busier of the two as he made 13 first period stops while Miami starter, sophomore Connor Knapp, made 8 saves in the scoreless first period.
However, the Buckeyes would breakthrough in the second period on junior Hunter Bishop’s fifth goal of the season that ended the RedHawks school record scoreless streak at 239:13. It was the first goal Miami had surrendered since the third period of a 5-5 tie at North Dakota on November 28. A new scoreless streak would not last long as Ohio State got a powerplay goal just over three minutes later. Sophomore Zac Dalpe took a long feed from defenseman Matt Bartkowski and skated in alone on Knapp making a nice left-to-right deke and as the Miami goaltender went down far too early, Dalpe patiently waited and easily fired the puck into the top corner for his team-leading 10th goal of the year.
As the second period came to a close, the teams came together resulting in six minor penalties, but the scrum seemed to wake the RedHawks who came out flying in the third.
Miami got within one goal when freshman defenseman Steve Spinell picked off an errant clearing attempt and displayed some nice hands skating from the left point between the circles firing a wrister that Carlson stopped. But, Spinell stayed with his shot and picked up the rebound backhanding it through traffic just inside the far post for his first collegiate goal. Miele would then score twice to put the RedHawks up for good and senior Jarod Palmer added his 7th goal, an empty net tally at 19:33 to finish it.
In scoring four times in the third period, the RedHawks outshot the Buckeyes 17-9 in the stanza and 40-27 on the night. During the third periods of both games, the RedHawks outscored Ohio State 8-0. If nothing else, last year’s title game loss to Boston University has taught the RedHawks that no game is EVER over.
Ohio State head coach John Markell tried to find a silver lining to describe the performance.
“I thought we played well, but it was a race to three and they beat us there,” said Markell. “We had a couple of chances to make it three and that would have secured the game. I saw a lot of good things tonight from our team, and I like the way we responded to Friday night’s game.” (USCHO)
The Buckeyes resume play on January 8 when they host Bowling Green in a CCHA series at Value City Arena. They finish the first half of the season in 9th place, but just one point out of sixth where there is a three-way tie between Notre Dame, Nebraska-Omaha and Northern Michigan.
- Miami’s Alden Hirschfeld posted a two-point game with assists on Spinell’s goal and Miele’s game-winner.
- Here is a link to the official box score. (USCHO)
- Miami goaltender Connor Knapp made 22 saves to improve his record to 3-1-3 with a solid 2.18 GAA and 91.3 save percentage.
- Miele’s two goals enabled him to regain the top point spot on Miami’s roster. He now leads the team with 19 points on 7 goals.
- Jarod Palmer had a three-point night with assists on both Miele goals and his empty-net goal that iced it.
- OSU’s Dustin Carlson made his first start in five games and is now just 1-8 on the season with a 2.94 GAA and 91.0 save percentage.
Columbus, Ohio (Dec. 11, 2009) – With all due respect to Red Bull, maybe their tagline should be revised. Junior captain Tommy Wingels netted #1 Miami’s first four goals including three on the powerplay as the RedHawks cruised past Ohio State 6-0.
Wingels, who entered the game with six goals on the season, also added an assist for a final line of 4-1-5 enabling him to assume the team lead in goals (10) and forge a tie with junior forward Carter Camper for team points supremacy (18). It was Wingels first four-goal game of his college career and he couldn’t remember a time in recent history that he’d had a similar performance.
“It hasn’t happened in a while, maybe not since the squirt leagues,” Wingels said. “We’re all happy to come out with the win, no matter who scores. Our goal was just to finish with three more (CCHA) points for the team tonight.” (Ohio State Buckeyes)
Three other RedHawks enjoyed three point evenings as Camper (0-3-3), junior forward Pat Cannone (1-2-3) and freshman forward Curtis McKenzie (0-3-3) helped set up Wingels and senior Jarod Palmer who scored the sixth and final goal of the night for Miami at 15:49 of the third period.
Lost among the offensive fireworks was the solid defensive job Miami was doing in holding the Buckeyes to just 17 shots on goal. The team effort enabled sophomore goaltender Cody Reichard to notch his second consecutive shutout and lower his nation’s best goals-against average to 1.34 as he improved to 10-1-2 on the season. Miami has not allowed a goal since November 28 as they have recorded shutout victories in their last three games. In fact, the scoreless streak has now reached 202:14 minutes which is a school record.
For the Buckeyes, the loss had to be disheartening as head coach John Markell thought he was settling in on a starting goaltender in sophomore Cal Heeter that he could ride during the second half of the season. Heeter came into Friday’s game with a 2.75 GAA and 91.4 save percentage. However, the native of St. Louis, Missouri was average at best surrendering all six Miami goals and perhaps had a case of the jitters. With the performance, Heeter earned himself a spot on the bench for tonight’s series finale in Oxford. Junior goaltender Dustin Carlson will apparently return to the Buckeye crease to face the always creative Miami student section in Steve Cady Arena.
“(Heeter) is not too happy with himself,” Markell said. “I thought he had some freshman moments there… He made some saves in the second period just couldn’t sustain it.” (USCHO)
With the win, Miami improved to 12-2-5 on the season and 9-1-3-1 (31 points) in the CCHA. Miami will need to continue to win as both Michigan State (26 points) and red hot Ferris State (25 points, two games in-hand) continued to post league W’s and are in the RedHawks rear view mirror for the top spot in the conference.
Ohio State will be looking for a better effort in tonight’s rematch in Oxford as they saw their record drop to 7-11-1 overall and 5-7-1-1 in the league. The Buckeyes’ 17 points is good enough for 8th place and the final home ice slot if the CCHA playoffs began today.
- Reichard’s shutout was his third on the season which is a new career high. Last year, Reichard posted two shutouts during a stellar freshman season.
- Given the winter break begins after tonight’s game, it will be interesting to see if Miami coach Enrico Blasi goes with his typical Saturday goaltender (sophomore Connor Knapp) or if he goes with the red-hot Cody Reichard as this is the final league game for about a month, and as such, is very important for Miami.
- Wingels is just five goals behind his career high of 15 that was established during his freshman season with more than 18 games to play. He has responded both on and off the ice in his new role as RedHawk captain.
- Camper recorded the 100th point of his career with his assist on Wingels’ second goal.
- The Buckeyes have been shutout three times this season and are averaging just 2.31 goals per game.
- Miami was 4 for 6 on the powerplay while Ohio State was 0 for 6.
- Miami has now successfully killed 23 consecutive opponent powerplays and Ohio State has not converted in their last 24 man advantage situations.
- Heeter made 27 stops as the RedHawks outshot the Buckeyes 33-17.
- A pro-Miami crowd of 4,496 was in attendance at Value City Arena.
- Tonight’s game will be televised live across the great state of Ohio on ONN at 7pm.
Miami and Ohio State will tangle in a weekend home-and-home with the opener in Columbus on Friday at 7pm. The Big Ten Network will stream this game live on its website. Saturday’s rematch will be held in Oxford also at 7pm and will be televised live around the great state of Ohio on ONN.
- Miami leads the all-time series 58-56-11 but is 8-1-1 in the last ten meetings vs. Ohio State.
- This series will close the first half of the season with both teams off until the weekend of January 8.
- Miami is 11-2-5 overall and 8-1-3-1 in the CCHA (1st). The RedHawks have been #1 for 10 consecutive weeks which equals the school record set in 2007-08.
- Ohio State is 7-10-1 overall and 5-6-1-1 in the CCHA (7th).
- Ohio State freshman, Devin Krogh was named the CCHA Rookie of the Week for his efforts vs. Michigan. Krogh was a +6 in the two games with a goal in Friday’s 5-3 victory and added an assist in Saturday’s 2-1 loss.
Miami and Ohio State went a combined 3-1 last weekend with Miami getting the home weekend sweep (and shutout) of then #14 Notre Dame 1-0 and 4-0. Ohio State split a home series with Michigan winning 5-3 on Friday and dropping the finale 2-1 on Saturday night.
- Scoring leaders for each team -
- Miami: Juniors Andy Miele 5-11-16 and Carter Camper 8-7-15 lead the team in scoring. The top scoring defenseman is sophomore Cameron Schilling with 1-7-8. Freshman Joe Hartman leads all Miami defensemen with 4 goals.
- Ohio State: Sophomore Zac Dalpe 9-9-18 and junior Peter Boyd 5-11-16 pace the Buckeyes while junior Shane Sims leads the defense in scoring with 2-5-7.
- Miami’s Cody Reichard leads the nation in goals-against average at 1.45 and also sports a 93.4 save percentage (4th in the nation) with two shutouts. Needless to say he has shaken off the devastating loss to BU in the national title game quite well.
- Sophomore goaltender Cal Heeter looks to have taken over the position of starting netminder for the Buckeyes. Heeter, who had been starting on Saturdays in head coach John Markell’s rotation system was between the pipes for both games last weekend against Michigan. Overall, Heeter is 6-3-1 with a 2.75 goals-against average and stellar 91.4 save percentage.
- Miami’s other goaltender, sophomore Connor Knapp (2-1-3, 2.21 GAA, .911), is the brother of Ohio State freshman goaltender Chelsea Knapp who skates for the Buckeyes’ women’s ice hockey team. I suspect we’ll see Cody Reichard on Friday night in Columbus and Knapp on Saturday at Steve Cady Arena.
- Overall, Miami is averaging just a shade under 3 goals per game but is giving up only 1.78 goals per contest which is good enough for 3rd in the country.
- OSU is averaging 2.4 goals per game and surrendering 2.9 goals per game meaning the Buckeyes will need to find a way to put the puck in the net against an incredibly stingy defense and be mindful in their own end.
- After this weekend’s series, the Buckeyes will have faced the #1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7th ranked teams in this week’s Pairwise rankings that determine the field for the 16-team NCAA tournament. That, my friends, is a difficult schedule.
- Miami killed all 15 Notre Dame powerplays last weekend in their sweep of the Irish. The RedHawk penalty kill is ranked 6th nationally at 88.7%. On the other hand, the Buckeyes powerplay unit has not connected in the past four games and has not converted its last 18 attempts.
Keys to the Weekend
These two teams do not have a lot of love for each other. For Ohio State to have an opportunity to steal a game this weekend, they need to play physical without taking dumb penalties. To date, they have been unable to do that. They also need John Albert and Kyle Reed to do what they do best against Miami and that is to score goals. Reed has 4-6-10 and Albert 3-6-9 against Miami with Reed netting his only career hat trick in a game last February in Oxford. Ohio State also needs much better defensive zone coverage and goaltending than they have gotten this season. With Cal Heeter now, apparently, assuming the starting goaltending role, this could be an area of improvement for Ohio State. For Miami, well, they simply need to do what they have been doing for the past nine months. Play sound, structured defense and use their size and speed to create mismatches and opportunities to put the puck in the net. Miami looked like a legitimate national title contender last weekend against Notre Dame. They were all over the Irish for the better part of both games and surrendered just 42 shots against over the two games. With scoring coming from all four lines and the defense, Miami is incredibly difficult to defend. If they maintain their balance and poise this weekend, they should emerge with two victories.
Friday – Miami 3-0
Saturday – Miami 3-1
Last night was a big night for former Miamians in the pros.
- Former MU captain and current New Jersey Devil Andy Greene posted his first career two-goal game. Greene now has 5 goals and 12 assists on the season.
“We’re not an overpowering team offensively, so we need goals from our defensemen,” (head coach Jacques) Lemaire said. “I always have a feeling that Andy is going to slow down, but he never does. He plays well every night. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing against. He’s very good. He controls the puck and makes plays. I never thought he could be this good, but right now he’s playing like an All-Star.”
- Current San Jose Shark assistant captain Dan Boyle netted his 99th career goal.
- And, a senior on last season’s national runner-up, Justin Mercier made his NHL debut last night with the youthful Colorado Avalanche. The former Miami sniper was credited with 7:55 of ice time and was -1.