June 15, 2012
OXFORD, Ohio - Seventeen home games, the final season of Central Collegiate Hockey Association play and non-conference match-ups with an opponent from each of the other four conferences highlight the 2012-13 Miami University hockey schedule, which was released Friday. As part of the RedHawks' slate, Miami will face four NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago, all of which are CCHA foes.
One day after holding its first official practice, the RedHawks open the season with their lone exhibition game Oct. 7 against Western Ontario at Steve Cady Arena. For the fourth straight season, Miami begins regular-season play at home as well, hosting Colgate out of the ECAC Oct. 12-13. The RedHawks split at Colgate last year and are 2-2 all-time against the Raiders but have never faced them on home ice. Miami remains at home the following weekend, welcoming Hockey East member Providence Oct. 19-20. The `Hawks downed the Friars, 6-2, on neutral ice in Denver a year ago and are 3-3 all-time against Providence, but just 1-2 in Oxford. The Friars last visited Southwest Ohio during the 1999-2000 season, the first of head coach Enrico Blasi's tenure behind the bench.
"We face a tough non-conference schedule this year, one that I think will help our young team grow and mature," Blasi said. "The teams we play are well coached and play extremely hard."
After four non-conference games, Miami begins its 32nd and final season of CCHA competition at rival and 2012 NCAA Tournament participant Michigan Oct. 26-27, in the teams' lone meetings of the regular season. The RedHawks remain on the road in the state of Michigan the following weekend as they battle last year's national runner-up and CCHA regular-season champion, Ferris State, Nov. 2-3, also the teams' only regular-season meetings.
"It's hard to believe," Blasi said of the final year of CCHA play. "It will be an emotional year. Everyone associated with the league past and present has done an amazing job. Our program has had the opportunity to grow and develop because of the CCHA and we are extremely grateful for that."
Four more home games await Miami after returning from Big Rapids, starting with Northern Michigan Nov. 9-10. The RedHawks have to return the favor, however, traveling to Marquette Jan. 11-12 to face the Wildcats again. Following NMU's visit, 2012 NCAA Tournament participant Michigan State makes its first trek to Oxford during the regular season since the 2009-10 campaign. Miami bounced MSU in the CCHA Quarterfinals during last year's conference tournament at Steve Cady Arena.
A long trip to Alaska wraps up November and begins December with Miami facing the Nanooks Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. Lake Superior State then comes calling the following weekend Dec. 7-8, which are Miami's final home games until late January.
Following the LSSU series, Miami begins an eight-game road trip over the next five weeks, starting with a two-game series at Ohio State Dec. 14-15. After an off week for finals, the RedHawks will participate in the Pittsburgh College Hockey Invitational Dec. 28-29 at CONSOL Energy Center, home of the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins. Along with Miami, host Robert Morris of Atlantic Hockey, Division I newcomer Penn State and the Buckeyes will take part in the showcase tournament. Opponents for the invitational will be determined at a later date.
After another off week, the RedHawks begin 2013 by returning to league play with their return trip to NMU. Miami then heads to Madison, Wis. for a two-game non-conference series with WCHA power Wisconsin Jan. 18-19. The `Hawks are 0-2 all-time against the Badgers but the teams haven't met since Wisconsin defeated Miami in the 1993 NCAA Tournament, which was Miami's first ever appearance in the tournament. The RedHawks played in Madison to start the 1979-80 season.
With non-conference play in its rear-view mirror, Miami closes with six CCHA series', including four at home. On Jan. 25-26, the `Hawks host Bowling Green, led by former Miami great and former Miami associate head coach Chris Bergeron, who both played with and coached under Blasi. Alaska then makes its return trip to Oxford the following weekend (Feb. 1-2).
The RedHawks' final 2012 NCAA Tournament foe is Western Michigan, as Miami travels to Kalamazoo to battle the defending Mason Cup Champions Feb. 8-9 in the teams' lone series with each other in the regular season. On Friday, Feb. 15, the `Hawks host rival Notre Dame at Steve Cady Arena and will face the Fighting Irish again Sunday, Feb. 17 in the second game of the series at a location to be determined. Details regarding the Feb. 17 game will be released at a later date.
Miami makes a second trip to the Upper Peninsula for a return series with Lake Superior Feb. 22-23 in its final CCHA road games ever. The RedHawks then wrap up the regular season March 1-2 by hosting Ohio State in Miami's last regular-season CCHA games before moving on to the National Collegiate Hockey Conference in 2013-14.
Individual game tickets for hockey will go on sale Sept. 12. More details regarding single-game tickets will be available in early September on MURedHawks.com. Any fans interested in becoming a season ticket holder should contact the Miami Athletic Ticket Office at 513-529-HAWK (4295) or 1-866-MUHAWKS (684-2957) to be added to the waiting list.
The first and second rounds of the CCHA Playoffs will be held at campus sites with the higher seeds hosting. The first round is March 8-10 while the second round is March 15-17. The final CCHA Championship then takes place at Joe Louis Arena one last time March 22-23. The NCAA regionals are set for March 29-31 and will be in Providence, R.I., Manchester, N.H., Toledo, Ohio and Grand Rapids, Mich. The Frozen Four will take place in Pittsburgh, Pa. April 11-13.
Miami is coming off a 24-15-2 season, including a 15-11-2 showing in the CCHA, which earned the RedHawks fourth place. Miami also made its third straight trip to Joe Louis Arena last year for the CCHA Championship and made its seventh straight NCAA Tournament appearance, which is the third-longest active streak in the country. Miami returns 10 letterwinners from last year's squad while adding 13 newcomers.
All game times for the 2012-13 schedule will be announced at a later date.