OXFORD, Ohio - After stepping away from Miami Hockey to represent their country and helping the U.S. capture a gold medal, freshman forwards Riley Barber and Sean Kuraly are Miami's Male Athletes of the Week connected by Frontier Communications. Senior forward Kirsten Olowinski is the Miami Female Athlete of the Week connected by Frontier Communications after leading the women's basketball team to a big road win.
Barber (Livonia, Mich.) and Kuraly (Dublin, Ohio) were selected to the U.S. National Junior Team, just the sixth and seventh Miami players ever to do so, and helped the Stars and Stripes win the gold medal at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia. The gold-medal finish was just the third in U.S. history at the nearly 40-year old tournament while the freshman duo became the first RedHawks to capture gold at the World Junior Championship, which started Dec. 26, 2012 and ended Jan. 5, 2013, when Barber and Kuraly helped the U.S. top Sweden, 3-1, in the gold-medal game.
For the tournament, Barber totaled six points in seven games, scoring three goals, which tied for third on the team, while adding three assists. He posted a +1 rating while putting 24 shots on goal, second on the team. Barber notched two of his three goals in the quarterfinal win over the Czech Republic Jan. 2 and had a three-point game in the opener against Germany.
Kuraly recorded three points in seven games at the World Junior Championship on a goal and two assists. He finished with a +4 rating while taking 18 shots on goal. Kuraly scored Team USA's first goal of the tournament, finding the back of the net just 19 seconds into the first game against Germany Dec. 27. His goal was the game-winner in the 8-0 defeat of the Germans, as he finished with two points in the contest.
The Miami Male Athlete of the Week honor is the third for Barber this year, all coming in the last five weeks, while Kuraly claimed the accolade for the first time in his career.
Olowinski (Erie, Pa.) recorded another double-double on the road against a talented Duquesne team that was receiving votes in the AP Poll, as she led the RedHawks to a 54-49 win over the Dukes on Saturday. She finished with a team-high-tying 16 points to go along with 11 rebounds, including four on the offensive glass, for her 34th career double-double. It puts her only one short of Miami's all-time record of 35 double-doubles set by Hall-of-Famer Monica Niemann (1991-95). Olowinski also was a distributor throughout the game, leading the 'Hawks with four assists. She also had a block, nailed a 3-pointer, and was 5-for-6 from the free throw line, hitting two key free throws in the last couple of minutes after the Dukes had pulled the score to within one.
Olowinski has now earned Miami Female Athlete of the Week three times this year, also all in the last five weeks, and four times in her career, also winning once as a junior.
Barber and Kuraly rejoin the RedHawks this weekend as the hockey team heads north to take on CCHA foe Northern Michigan Friday and Saturday, Jan. 11-12. Olowinski leads the women's basketball team back on the court Thursday, Jan. 10 as Miami opens Mid-American Conference (MAC) play at Ball State before heading to Western Michigan on Sunday, Jan. 13.
The next Miami Athletes of the Week connected by Frontier Communications will be announced Tuesday, Jan. 15. For a list of previous winners, click here.
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