No. 12/13 Miami RedHawks (7-6-1; 2-4-0-0 NCHC) at Bemidji State Beavers (5-7-2; 5-4-1 WCHA)
Radio: All Contests Are Streamed at MURedHawks.com
The Miami University RedHawks play their final road games of the 2013 calendar year when they wrap up the non-conference portion of the schedule at Bemidji State this weekend. Friday’s contest begins at 8:37 p.m. ET while Saturday’s finale is slated to begin at 8:07 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. Both games air live on WMOH (1450-AM) and WKBV (1490-AM).
Miami struggled in its road NCHC series at Omaha last weekend. The RedHawks scored first in both contests, but a Maverick scoring run proved too much to overcome both nights. Bryon Paulazzo got MU off to a good start with a power play goal that put it up 1-0 after the first period. UNO countered with five-unanswered goals in the second period to go up 5-1. Goals by Sean Kuraly and Kevin Morris 19-seconds apart cut the deficit to 5-3 after intermission, but the RedHawks got no closer in a 6-3 loss. Matthew Caito netted his first goal of the year on Saturday and Ryan McKay stopped a season-high 40 shots, but the Mavs scored two power play goals and a short-handed goal to top the RedHawks 3-1 and finish the sweep.
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 318-202-54 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.
Tom Serratore has guided Bemidji State for the past 12 years, encompassing the vast majority of the program’s tenure as an NCAA Division I program (the 1999-2000 season to present day). The Beavers are 206-193-51 with four NCAA Tournament appearances under Serratore.
IN THE POLLS
Miami enters this weekend ranked 12th nationally in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll and 13th in the USCHO.com poll. Bemidji State is not ranked in any major poll.
• Miami is wrapping up the non-conference portion of its schedule this weekend. The RedHawks have a 5-2-1 mark in non-league games.
• Kevin Morris recorded a goal and an assist in Omaha last weekend after totaling one point (an assist) in MU’s first 12 games.
• Miami is looking to turn its fate around on the road, where it is 2-4-1 overall and has won once in its last six tries.
THE SERIES: This weekend will be the seventh and eighth meetings between Miami and Bemidji State. The RedHawks are 4-2 in the all-time series, with the most recent meetings coming during the 2011-12 season, a split in Oxford.
FUN FACT: These teams met during the 2009 Frozen Four, with Miami posting a 4-1 win to advance to its first National Championship Game in program history.
ABOUT BEMIDJI STATE: The Beavers are off to a 5-7-2 start (5-4-1 in conference play). BSU’s offense is fairly balanced with Markus Gerbrandt and Cory Ward scoring eight goals apiece. Gerbrandt, Danny Mattson and Matt Prapavessis are tied for the team lead with 10 points each. Andrew Walsh has started all 14 games in goal and has a 2.82 goals against average and a .907 save percentage.
1. Johnny Gaudreau and Kevin Hayes/Bill Arnold (Boston College) 42 points
2. Greg Carey and Matt Carey (St. Lawrence) 41 points
3. Riley Barber and Austin Czarnik (Miami) 38 points
Ryan Berlin and Kellen Jones (Quinnipiac) 38 points
CENTURY CLUB WATCH: Junior forward Austin Czarnik is creeping close to a career milestone at Miami. The RedHawk captain enters the weekend with 96 career points, needing four more to become the program’s 48th player with 100-career points. Czarnik is tied for the team lead with 19 points and five multi-point games this season.
MCKAY SAVES: Sophomore Ryan McKay has started five of Miami’s last six games and has been particularly impressive the past three weeks. Here are a few notable achievements McKay has pulled off in the past four weeks (six starts).
• 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).
• Stopped 114 of 116 shots in a four-start span that included three shutouts.
• Moved into a tie for the national lead in shutouts (3).
• Improved his save percentage to .934 (10th nationally).
GOOD TO BE KING: During his recent run, McKay has now played enough minutes to qualify for the school’s career record book (minimum 1,500 minutes played) in goals against average and save percentage. He is the school record holder in both categories (1.48 GAA, .945 save%).
GRIND LIFT: Sophomore forward Kevin Morris contributed offensively out of the RedHawks’ fourth line over the weekend. After notching one assist over his first 12 games, Morris recorded a point in both games at Omaha last weekend. The sophomore scored his first goal of the year late in the second period to bring Miami back into the contest by trimming its deficit to 5-3. The next day, Morris got the RedHawks off to a good start by assisting on Matthew Caito’s goal that put them up 1-0 midway through the first period.
RARE SLUMP: Miami had a difficult weekend in its road series against Omaha on Nov. 22-23, getting swept to put the team on its first losing streak of the season (3 games). You have to go back over two calendar years to find the last time the Red and White lost more than two games in a row. MU’s last losing streak of three or more games came early in the 2011-12 season, when the team lost five-straight from Oct. 15-28.
ROAD STRUGGLES: Miami has had a fairly wide discrepency in all of its results at home versus on the road. In home games, the RedHawks are 5-2 and averaging 3.7 goals per game while allowing only 2.0 goals per contest. In seven road contests, MU is 2-4-1 and scoring 2.7 goals per game while allowing 2.9. The past six road games have been especially tough, with MU going 1-4-1 and scoring just 2.2 goals per game and yielding 3.0.
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 Austin Czarnik and Riley Barber each posting five multi-point games. MU has a total of 22 multi-point performances in 14 games.
STAYING IN THE LANE: Last season, Miami blocked 630 shots compared to 609 for its opponents. Through 14 games this season Miami holds a 230-175 advantage in the blocked shot category. Leading the team in blocks this season are Matthew Caito (27), Taylor Richart (27), Chris Joyaux (18), Matt Joyaux (17) and captain Austin Czarnik (17). The Red and White have been particularly effective blocking shooting lanes over the last three weeks. MU has 109 blocks in its past six games (18.2 per game), reaching 20 blocks as a team twice in that span, something it did just once in its first eight contests.