FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. - Coming off a sweep at Alaska, two members of the Miami hockey team were recognized for their efforts as sophomore forward Austin Czarnik was named CCHA Postgame® Offensive Player of the Week while freshman defenseman Matthew Caito garnered CCHA Gladiator® Defensive Player of the Week, the Central Collegiate Hockey Association announced Monday. Five different RedHawks have now earned CCHA weekly honors on the year.
Czarnik (Washington, Mich.) totaled five points on a goal and four assists at Alaska. In Friday's 5-2 win, he tied a career high with three points, scoring Miami's first goal and adding two assists, including one on the game-winner. It was his third three-point game this year and seventh of his career. He was also +3 in the game. In Saturday's 4-0 shutout, he dished out two more assists for his sixth multi-point game of the year. Once more he had the primary assist on the game-winning goal, while his other assist came on a long outlet pass after he grabbed a loose puck in front of Miami's net and found a teammate alone at mid-ice for a breakaway goal. Czarnik finished with a +4 rating on the weekend and earned the game's second star Friday and third star on Saturday.
On the year, Czarnik leads the CCHA with 19 points while his 12 assists tie for first in the CCHA. He also has a team-best seven goals on the year and a +14 rating, which is fifth nationally.
The award is Czarnik's first weekly award of the year, however he was named CCHA Player of the Month for October. It was also his first time winning CCHA Postgame® Offensive Player of the Week in his career, though he was tabbed CCHA Rookie of the Week three times last year as a freshman.
Caito (Coto de Caza, Calif.) played on Miami's top D pair against the Nanooks and stepped up to help fill in for senior captain and defenseman Steven Spinell, who missed the weekend series with an injury. Caito helped limit Alaska to just two goals all weekend while anchoring a penalty kill unit that went 15-for-15 in the two games. He dished out a pair of assists on the weekend as well, with one in each game. Caito blocked a total of six shots, including four in Friday's win, and posted a +2 rating in the series with UAF. Saturday, he helped the RedHawks pitch their third shutout of the year in a 4-0 victory.
The honor is the first of Caito's career while he is also the first RedHawk to win CCHA Gladiator® Defensive Player of the Week this season.
Czarnik is the second RedHawk to win CCHA Postgame® Offensive Player of the Week this season as classmate Blake Coleman earned the honor after the first weekend of the year. Miami has received CCHA weekly honors six times in all as freshman forward Riley Barber has twice earned CCHA Gongshow® Rookie of the Week this year while freshman goaltender Jay Williams was tabbed CCHA Rookie of the Week on Nov. 19.
Caito, Czarnik and the rest of the No. 3 RedHawks are back in action this weekend hosting Lake Superior State Friday and Saturday at Steve Cady Arena. Puck drop is 7:35 p.m. Friday and 7:05 p.m. Saturday.