No. 8/8 Miami RedHawks (6-3-1; 2-2-0-0 NCHC) vs. No. 12/12 Wisconsin Badgers (3-2-1; 0-0-0 Big Ten)
Radio: All Contests Are Streamed at MURedHawks.com
Television: Friday's contest is televised on CBS Sports Network
The Miami University RedHawks are back at home this weekend to play host against Wisconsin. Friday’s contest is a 6:30 p.m. start and Saturday’s game begins at 7:05 p.m.
WAYS TO LISTEN/WATCH
Miami hockey can be heard live all weekend at MURedHawks.com. An All-Access broadcast will also be available for both contests. Friday night’s contest is televised nationally on CBS Sports Network. You can find the channel on DirecTV Channel 221, Dish Network Channel 152 or by checking your local cable listings.
Miami split a road series against No. 3/4 St. Cloud State in NCHC play. The RedHawks posted a 2-0 win behind 31 Ryan McKay saves on Friday night. Matt Joyaux’s first-collegiate goal proved to be the game-winner while Riley Barber added his team-leading ninth of the year to add a valuable insurance goal. Max Cook netted his first goal this season in Saturday’s finale while McKay stopped 33 of 35 SCSU shots, but the Huskies came back to top the RedHawks 2-1 to force a weekend split on Saturday.
Enrico Blasi (Miami ’94) is in 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 317-199-54 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.
Mike Eaves is in the midst of his 12th season at the helm of the Badgers. Eaves has guided Wisconsin to 20 or more wins seven times and was behind the bench for UW's 2006 national championship run. Wisconsin is 234-171-52 with Eaves on the bench.
IN THE POLLS
Miami will enter this weekend ranked No. 8 in both major polls. Wisconsin is also ranked in both polls, checking in at No. 12 in both the USCHO.com and USA Today/Hockey Magazine polls.
• Miami is playing its fourth weekend series (out of six total) against a team that is ranked in the top 12 at the time MU plays it. The RedHawks faced North Dakota (No. 6/8 at the time) on Oct. 18-19, traveled to Providence (No. 8/8) on Oct. 25-26 and flew to St. Cloud State (No. 3/4) Nov. 8-9.
• Ryan McKay started twice over the weekend, stopping 64 of 66 shots. McKay strung together a personal scoreless streak of 182:28, a stretch that spanned four games and included two shutouts.
• Matt Joyaux recorded the first point of his collegiate career when he scored the game-winning goal at No. 3/4 St. Cloud State last Friday.
THE SERIES: Miami and Wisconsin have only played four games head-to-head, with MU holding a 1-3 all-time record. The RedHawks and Badgers played as recently as last season when MU split a pair of games in Madison, Wis. The Badgers took the first contest, 1-0, but the RedHawks bounced back with a 2-1 win in the series finale. This weekend marks the first time that Wisconsin has traveled to Oxford.
FUN FACT: On March 26, 1993, Miami faced Wisconsin in its first NCAA Tournament game in school history. The Badgers downed the RedHawks 3-1 at Joe Louis Arena. Current MU head coach Enrico Blasi played in that game.
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.
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.
DYNAMIC DUO: Miami’s Riley Barber and Austin Czarnik are one of the top scoring duos in the nation with 30 combined points (15 apiece), making them the third-highest scoring duo in the country.
1. Greg Carey and Matt Carey (St. Lawrence) 32 points
Johnny Gaudreau and Kevin Hayes/Bill Arnold (Boston College) 32 points
3. Riley Barber and Austin Czarnik (Miami) 30 points
4. Mike Szmatula and Kevin Roy (Northeastern) 29 points
5. Ryan Haggerty and Brock Higgs (Rensselaer) 28 points
JUST KILLING TIME: Perhaps the most impressive part of Miami’s defensive performance at St. Cloud State was the penalty kill unit. The RedHawks killed off a period’s worth of power plays in two games (10-for-10) in allowing only two goals in the two games against the Huskies.
MCKAY STAYED: Sophomore Ryan McKay picked up the first consecutive starts by any MU goaltender during last weekend’s series at No. 3/4 St. Cloud State. McKay responded by stopping 64 of 66 shots, including a 31-save shutout in a 2-0 win last Friday. That shutout was his second in as many starts. He built a personal scoreless streak of 182:28 over a span of four starts, which fell 10:07 shy of the 25th-longest streak in NCAA history (Jamie Holden; Quinnipiac, 2004). This stretch lowered his goals against average to 1.82 (11th in the nation).
TRICKY, TRICKY: Through 10 games Miami has recorded a pair of hat tricks. Riley Barber scored four goals in a 6-3 win versus Ohio State on Oct. 12 and Blake Coleman snuck three past the goaltender in the second period versus North Dakota a week later in a 6-2 win on Oct. 19.
KURALY KID: Sean Kuraly dished out assists in both of MU’s games at No. 3/4 St. Cloud State over the weekend, which snapped a four-game drought without a point. The Dublin, Ohio sophomore began the year with a four-game point streak, including a three-assist performance in the season opener at Ohio State. In four NCHC games, Kuraly is the RedHawks’ leading scorer with four points (1g, 3a).
GOING WIDE-MAN: Junior Alex Wideman has come on recently, notching points in five of his last six games, including each game at No. 3/4 St. Cloud State last weekend. Wideman has six points (3g, 3a) during this stretch.
NICE WORK, ROOK: Freshman forward Anthony Louis has fit in nicely to the Miami lineup. The Winfield, Ill., native has six points (3g, 3a) in eight games thus far. Louis has put up at least one point in all but three games he’s dressed in and put up his first multi-point game with a goal and an assist against Canisius on Nov. 2.
BIG TIME BLAKE: Junior forward Blake Coleman had big games in different ways during his five-game point streak from Oct. 19-Nov. 2. He began that streak with a bang, netting a hat trick against North Dakota. After recording a point in each of the following three games, Coleman assisted on the first three MU goals in a 5-2 win over Canisius on Nov. 2.
DEEP TROUBLE: Through eight games, the RedHawks have dressed 23 skaters (not including goalies) who have lengthed their attack. A total of 21 players (including both goalies) have notched at least one point this season, 13 of whom have three points or more. All that has contributed to the fourth-best scoring offense (4.25 goals/game) in the nation.
BIG PERFORMANCES: Another strong showing of the RedHawks’ depth is the fact that 11 different players have recorded at least one multi-point game this season. Five of those players have done so two or more times with Riley Barber and Austin Czarnik posting four multi-point games. MU has a total of 20 multi-point performances in eight games.
CALMING CAITO: Sophomore Matthew Caito has been a calming presence on the RedHawks’ blue line thus far. Caito is contributing at both ends of the rink with seven assists and is a +5 on the ice. He also ranks second on MU with 16 blocked shots.
WHO NEEDS FULL STRENGTH: Riley Barber scored his second short-handed goal of the season in 4-4 tie at Providence on Oct. 26. His goal helped change the tide as the Friars built a 2-0 lead just 15 seconds before Barber’s tally. The sophomore forward is tied with five other players for the national lead in short-handed goals.
OUCH!: Last season Miami blocked 630 shots compared to 609 for its opponents. Through eight games this season Miami holds a 158-118 advantage in the blocked shot category. Leading the team in blocks this season are Taylor Richart (21), Matt Caito (16), Chris Joyaux (13), Kevin Morris (11) and captain Austin Czarnik (11). The Red and White were getting bodies into even more shooting lanes than usual at No. 3/4 St. Cloud State last weekend, blocking 37 shots in two games, including a season-high 20 in the series finale on Nov. 9.
BUY YOUR TICKETS EARLY: Miami has announced three-straight sell outs to begin the 2013-14 hockey season, the first time in school history that has been accomplished. Four of the team’s five home games have been listed as a sellout. Since Steve Cady Arena has opened Miami has had 67 sell outs.