No. 1/1 Miami RedHawks (2-0-0; 0-0-0 NCHC) vs.
No. 6/8 North Dakota (1-0-1; 0-0-0 NCHC)
Television (Friday only): CBS Sports Network: Ben Holden (PxP), Dave Starman (Analyst) and Shireen Saski (rinkside)
Miami All-Access on Saturday
Radio: All Contests Are Streamed at MURedHawks.com
• Miami enters Friday’s contest as the No. 1 team in the nation in both major polls. The last time Miami was ranked atop either poll was the start of the 2011-12 campaign. That year they began with two contests with Bemiji State. The RedHawks won the first game (3-2) but lost 5-3 the following night.
• Riley Barber currently leads the nation in scoring after one week of action with seven points. The sophomore had a pair of assists in Friday’s win, but exploded for five points on Saturday night, including four goals in the 6-3 win.
• Austin Czarnik is third in the nation in scoring with five points. Czarnik, who is a linemate of Barber’s, had one goal on Friday, but added four points (1g, 3a) in Saturday’s win versus OSU.
• Miami leads the nation in scoring (6.00) and is third in power play percentage (40.0).
• Speaking of the power play ... after one week it looks like Miami may have figured out the man advantage. Last season the RedHawks ranked 37th in the country on the power play at 15.9 percent. In 176 opportunities Miami scored just 28 power play goals. Following the contest with Ohio State, the RedHawks converted on four of 10 attempts (40.0 percent).
Coming off a weekend sweep of in-state rival Ohio State, the Miami University hockey team will play host to #6/8 North Dakota this weekend inside Steve Cady Arena. The contests will be the first two in the history of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference for both schools. In fact, Friday’s contest will be the first-ever NCHC game played in league history.
Miami opened the season with a bang, capturing a pair of victories versus Ohio State. On Friday, the RedHawks won 6-2 in Columbus, Ohio. The following night the Red and White improved to 2-0-0 on the young season with a 6-3 win inside Steve Cady Arena in front of a sold-out crowd (3,642). For the weekend Riley Barber recorded seven points, including four goals on Saturday night. Line mate Austin Czarnik had five points, while goalies Jay Williams (26 saves) and Ryan McKay (38 saves) each picked up wins.
Enrico Blasi (Miami ’94) begins his 15th season behind the RedHawk bench. He is a five-time CCHA Coach of the Year and was named National Coach of the Year in 2005-06. He stands 313-196-53 in 14-plus seasons at his alma mater, where he has led Miami to nine NCAA Tournaments, including two Frozen Four berths, a National Championship game appearance, a trio of CCHA regular-season titles and the school’s first ever Mason Cup in 2011. Blasi is the winningest coach in school history.
Dave Hakstol (North Dakota ‘96) is in his 10th season at the helm of the UND hockey program. In nine of his 10 seasons North Dakota has either advanced to the Frozen Four, won a regular season conference championship or a conference playoff title. Hakstol is 236-119-38 behind the bench at UND.
REDHAWKS TO OPEN FIRST SEASON IN NCHC
Miami hockey embarks on a new era as the RedHawks open the inaugural season of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, of which Miami is a founding member. The NCHC is an eight-team hockey-only league consisting of Colorado College, Denver, Minnesota Duluth, Nebraska Omaha, North Dakota, St. Cloud State and Western Michigan, along with Miami. The conference boasts a combined 17 NCAA Championships, 50 Frozen Four berths, 12 Hobey Baker Award winners, including SCSU’s Drew LeBlanc this past year, and 266 All-Americans. The teams have also produced 295 players that went on to play in the NHL. The new league will reward fans every weekend with fast, exciting, action-packed hockey that pits several of the top teams in the country against each other. The NCHC also has agreed to a television deal with CBS Sports Network, assuring at least 18 league games will be broadcast to a national audience this coming season. Miami kicks off its new conference with the first ever NCHC game on Friday, Oct. 18 against North Dakota at Steve Cady Arena.
REDHAWKS PICKED TO FINISH FIRST IN NCHC POLL
In the inaugural National Collegiate Hockey Conference preseason poll, Miami University was picked to win the conference. The poll was voted on by a total of 16 media members who regularly cover NCHC teams, two from each institution’s market. The RedHawks finished the preseason poll with 115 points, followed by North Dakota (109), St. Cloud State (99), Denver (66), Western Michigan (61), Minnesota-Duluth (43), Colorado College (42) and Nebraska-Omaha (41). Miami also led the preseason poll with seven first-place votes.
ABOUT THE REDHAWKS
Overall, Miami returns 20 players from last season, including 17 letter-winners. The RedHawks boasted a record of 25-12-5 last season on its way to an eighth straight NCAA Tournament appearance, including a first-round win over Minnesota State. They also captured the final CCHA regular-season championship last year. Miami returns the strong freshman class (now sophomores) from last season, led by goaltenders Ryan McKay and Jay Williams and CCHA Rookie of the Year/First Team All-CCHA selection Riley Barber. McKay set Miami single-season records for goals-against average (1.39), which was second nationally, and save percentage (.946), while Williams ranked sixth all-time at Miami in both categories. Barber led all rookies in the NCAA last year with 39 points, including a team-best 15 goals. The RedHawks also return junior All-American Austin Czarnik, who was the CCHA Player of the Year and a Hobey Baker finalist last season after leading the league with 40 points.
Miami’s Riley Barber and Austin Czarnik are the nation’s leading duo entering week two of college hockey. Barber’s seven points, combined with Czarnik’s five, lead other duos belonging to Northeastern and North Dakota.
For the second consecutive season Miami has opened the year with a pair of wins. Last season Miami posted 3-0 and 5-1 wins at Colgate. The last time Miami opened a year 3-0 was back in 2009-10 with wins over St Cloud (3-2, 2-0) and New Hampshire (6-3). The last time Miami opened a year 4-0 was in 2007-08. That year Miami began the season 8-0.
North Dakota leads the all-time series 2-0-1. The last time these two teams played was back on Nov. 28, 2009 at North Dakota. The game finished in a 5-5 tie. This weekend will be the first time UND has competed in Oxford, Ohio.
BARBER AND HAMILTON CAMPTURE FIRST NCHC AWARD
The National Collegiate Hockey Conference announced that both Riley Barber and Trevor Hamilton would be part of the first class of NCHC Player of the Week winners. Barber totaled seven points on four goals and three assists on the weekend to help the RedHawks sweep Ohio State to be named NCHC Offensive Player of the Week. On Friday night, the sophomore winger dished out two assists, collecting the primary helper on Miami’s first two goals. Saturday, he notched a career-high five points in a 6-3 victory, scoring four goals, including the game-winner, while adding an assist. Barber posted a plus-4 rating in Saturday’s win, while he became the first RedHawk to score four goals in a game since December 11, 2009.
Hamilton was strong in his first collegiate action, registering three assists from the blueline and blocking three shots to aid in Miami’s sweep of Ohio State to earn NCHC Rookie of the Week honors. On Friday, he assisted on the game-winning goal on the road while blocking a shot and posting a +1 rating. The next night, he handed out a pair of helpers, again assisting on the game-winner, while blocking two shots. Hamilton also had a +3 rating in the contest Saturday and finished plus-4 on the weekend.