Coming off its first CCHA sweep of the year and first road sweep since Jan. 6-7, 2012, No. 3 Miami returns home to host Lake Superior State Friday and Saturday, Dec. 7-8 at Steve Cady Arena in its final home games until late January. Puck drop Friday is set for 7:35 p.m. while Saturday's game is at 7:05 p.m. Saturday will also be Autograph Night as fans can get their Miami gear signed by the players after the game. The RedHawks and Lakers will meet again in Sault Ste. Marie on Feb. 22-23.
Miami (9-2-3, 6-2-2-2 CCHA), which sits in first place in the CCHA, enters the weekend riding a seven-game unbeaten streak (5-0-2), outscoring the opposition, 24-10, during that stretch. Miami is also on a season-long three-game winning streak after knocking off Alaska last weekend in Fairbanks. On Friday, Nov. 30, the 'Hawks jumped out to a 4-0 lead behind a pair of goals by sophomore Cody Murphy and earned the 5-2 victory. The next night, freshman goaltender Ryan McKay made his first appearance since being injured Oct. 26 and pitched his second shutout of the year in just four games, backstopping Miami to a 4-0 victory. Redshirt senior transfer Marc Hagel scored his first two goals as a RedHawk in the win. Fellow freshman goaltender Jay Williams, who had started eight straight games, earned the win in net Friday. Sophomore Austin Czarnik totaled five points (one goal, four assists) on the weekend and earned CCHA Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts. He leads the CCHA with 19 points and 12 assists while freshman Riley Barber is second in the league with 18 points and also has 12 helpers. Defensively, Miami ranks fourth nationally, allowing just 1.79 goals per game.
Lake Superior (7-9-0, 4-6-0-0 CCHA) is in eighth place in the CCHA entering the weekend after having been swept on the road by Notre Dame a combined, 9-3, falling 3-2 Friday and 6-1 on Saturday. Prior to the series with Notre Dame, LSSU had split each of its first seven series' on the year. Senior Domenic Monardo leads the Lakers with 12 points, including a team-high-tying seven assists. Classmate Nick McParland has 11 points and seven assists while sophomore Chris Ciotti has a team-best six goals. Junior goaltender Kevin Murdock (4-6-0) has seen the majority of time in net, including all but 20 minutes against Notre Dame, playing in 11 games while boasting a 2.23 GAA and .931 save percentage.
The RedHawks are just 38-57-11 all-time against Lake Superior beginning in 1979, including 25-20-7 in Oxford. Last year, LSSU won three of four against Miami, including sweeping the RedHawks at home, something that hadn't been done by any team since 2007. However, Miami has had recent success overall against LSSU, going 10-3-1 vs. the Lakers since the 2007-08 season.
Enrico Blasi (Miami '94) is in his 14th season at Miami. He is a four-time CCHA Coach of the Year and was named National Coach of the Year in 2005-06. He stands 295-186-51 in 14 seasons at his alma mater, where he has led Miami to eight NCAA Tournaments, including two Frozen Four berths, a National Championship game appearance, a pair of CCHA regular-season titles and the school's first ever Mason Cup in 2011. Blasi is the the winningest coach in school history.
Jim Roque (Lake Superior '87) is in his eighth season at the helm of the Lakers where he has compiled a 110-134-44 record. He was twice previously an assistant coach at his alma mater from 1988-91 and during the 1994-95 season before returning in 2001 as an assistant where he stayed until becoming the head coach. He led the Lakers to their first winning season in seven years in his first year in charge and helped LSSU earn a berth in the CCHA Tournament semifinals in 2006-07.
- Freshman forward Riley Barber, who was named CCHA Gongshow® Rookie of the Month for the second straight month in November, leads all rookies nationally, averaging 1.29 points per game.
- Miami has scored first in 10 of 14 games this year, going 8-1-1 when doing so. The RedHawks are also 8-0-0 this year when scoring at least three goals, but just 1-2-3 when scoring less than three.
- Miami is 5-0-3 at home on the season, outscoring the opposition, 24-11, at Steve Cady Arena.
- Sophomores have accounted for 22 of Miami's 43 goals on the season (51.2 percent). The second years have also recorded 50 of the team's 109 points on the year (45.9 percent).
- Miami went a perfect 15-for-15 on the penalty kill last weekend at Alaska and has now killed 17 straight penalties overall dating back to Nov. 17 vs. Michigan State.
Miami closes out the first half of its season with a two-game CCHA series at in-state rival Ohio State Friday and Saturday, Dec. 14-15. Puck drop is 7:05 p.m. Friday and 8:05 p.m. Saturday at Value City Arena.
Both games this weekend will be televised locally and throughout Ohio on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel (channel 311/1311) with Dave Allen handling play-by-play and Josh Fenton providing color commentary. Both contests will also be on radio on WKBV-AM 1490 out of Richmond, Ind. with the "Voice of Miami Hockey" Greg Waddell calling the action. As always, the games will also be streamed live on MURedHawks.com in HD through the Miami All-Access subscription package.
RED AND WHITE (AND BLUE): Two RedHawks will be trading in their Miami jerseys for Team USA ones in late December as freshmen forwards Riley Barber and Sean Kuraly were both selected to the U.S. National Junior Team preliminary roster, which was announced Dec. 4. The two will take part in two training camps in New York and Finland, where the final roster will be announced Dec. 23. The duo is two of just 27 players named to the under-20 roster and two of only four CCHA players to be selected. Should Barber and/or Kuraly make the final Team USA roster, they would compete in the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships, which will be held from Dec. 26, 2012 to Jan. 5, 2013 in Ufa, Russia.
TOP TRIO: Miami's top forward line of senior Curtis McKenzie, sophomore Austin Czarnik and freshman Riley Barber have been on fire of late with all three recording at least three points at Alaska Nov. 30-Dec. 1. The trio has combined for 17 of Miami's 43 goals on the year (39.5 percent) and 46 of the team's 109 points (42.2 percent). Czarnik (7 goals, 19 points) and Barber (6 goals, 18 points) are Miami's top two point- and goal-scorers this year while McKenzie's nine points tie for third on the team.
CAITO HONORED: Freshman defenseman Matthew Caito has played a big role for the RedHawks early in the season, playing on Miami's top D pair and top power play unit while also playing on the penalty kill. He was recognized for his efforts on Dec. 3 when he was named CCHA Gladiator® Defensive Player of the Week, the first RedHawk to earn the honor this year. In two games against Alaska Nov. 30-Dec. 1, he dished out a pair of assists, posted a +2 rating and helped Miami go 15-for-15 on the penalty kill. He also blocked six shots and aided in Miami's 4-0 shutout Saturday. For the year, Caito has six points, which is tops among Miami defensemen, and a team-high 29 blocked shots.
GETTING DEFENSIVE: Miami has been strong on defense as of late, pitching shutouts in two of its last three games, doing so Nov. 17 against Michigan State and Dec. 1 at Alaska. In their last seven games, the RedHawks have not allowed more than two goals in any game. Miami ranks fourth in the country and second in the CCHA, giving up just 1.79 goals per game on the year. The 'Hawks have three shutouts on the season, also blanking Colgate Oct. 12 to open the season, while Miami has limited the opposition to two goals or less in 10 of 14 games this year. Freshmen goaltender Jay Williams earned his first shutout against MSU while classmate Ryan McKay blanked Alaska in his first game back from injury and also pitched the shutout against Colgate for his first career shutout.
THE BARBER SHOP: Freshman forward Riley Barber has had a stellar start to his collegiate career, already picking up a national award and four awards from the CCHA.
- On Dec. 4, Barber was named CCHA Gongshow® Rookie of the Month for November, his second straight month winning the award. He tallied nine points, including seven assists, in seven games during November. He notched his first career game-winning goal Nov. 30 at Alaska, as well.
- Barber's 18 points are second in the CCHA and are first nationally among rookies while his 1.29 ppg are tied for 16th nationally. His 12 assists tie for both the team and CCHA lead.
- He has a point in 11 of 14 games this year and had a five-game point streak from Oct. 13 to Oct. 27. He has five multi-point games this year as well.
- Barber was named CCHA Rookie of the Week for the second time this year on Nov. 12 after a four-point weekend against Northern Michigan Nov. 9-10 with a goal and three assists.
- He was named Hockey Commissioners' Association (HCA) National Rookie of the Month and CCHA Rookie of the Month for October after posting a 4-4-8 line in six games during the month.
- On Oct. 20 Barber recorded a career-high three points, his first multi-point game, including his first two career assists. He tallied another three-point game Nov. 9 vs. NMU (one goal, two assists).
- Barber earned his first CCHA honor Oct. 22 as he was named CCHA Rookie of the Week after a four-point weekend against Providence Oct. 19-20 with two goals and two assists.
- In his first game back in net after being injured Oct. 26 at Michigan, McKay showed no signs of rust, stopping all 26 shots against the Nanooks for his second career shutout in just four games.
- McKay has allowed just one goal all year in four games (190 minutes) and boasts a 0.32 goals-against average and a .989 save percentage, both of which would be first in the NCAA if he had played enough games to be eligible for NCAA statistics.
- McKay got the nod on opening night vs. Colgate Oct. 12 and pitched his first shutout, making 24 saves to become the first Miami goalie to record a whitewash in his first career game.
- The shutout was Miami's first season-opening shutout in program history.
- McKay made a career-high 37 saves Oct. 19 in a tie vs. Providence, matching Miami's season high for saves from last year.
- Williams was named CCHA Rookie of the Week following the Michigan State series Nov. 16-17. He allowed just two goals all weekend, pitching his first career shutout in the 2-0 win Nov. 17. He also stopped both shootout attempts by MSU Nov. 16 as Miami won the shootout. Williams stopped 32 of 34 shots for a .941 save percentage and 0.96 GAA.
- Williams had played in 10 straight games after he was forced into action Oct. 26 when McKay was injured early in the game before giving way to McKay's return Dec. 1. Williams made a career-high 37 saves in a 4-3 win at Michigan Oct. 27, matching Miami's season high for saves from last year.
- Williams boasts a 7-2-2 record, going unbeaten in his last six decisions, with his .727 win percentage ranking 10th nationally while his 2.16 GAA and .918 save percentage are both sixth in the CCHA.
- Williams made his first start Oct. 13 vs. Colgate and earned his first career win, giving up just one goal while making 20 saves.
UNDERCLASSMAN ON TOP: After a stellar freshman campaign, sophomore forward Austin Czarnik has picked up where he left off. He was named to the Preseason All-CCHA Second Team and has certainly played up to that billing thus far.
- Czarnik was named CCHA Postgame® Offensive Player of the Week Dec. 3 after totaling five points on a goal and four assists in a sweep of Alaska Nov. 30-Dec. 1. It was his first time winning the award.
- Czarnik's 19 points lead the CCHA while his 12 assists are tied for the CCHA lead. His seven goals are also tops on the team and tie for fourth in the CCHA.
- Czarnik, who had a four-game point streak from Oct. 19-27, has a point in 10 of 14 games this year, including six multi-point games. He already has two multi-goal games this year after recording just one last year as a freshman.
- He earned CCHA Player of the Month for October on Nov. 1 after posting a 3-5-8 scoring line in six games. It was his first such honor though he was named CCHA Rookie of the Month last year in November.
SUPER SOPHOMORES: Miami's sophomore class has picked up where they left off as freshmen, as the six second years have accounted for 22 of Miami's 43 goals (51.2 percent) and 50 of the squad's 109 points (45.9 percent) this year. Austin Czarnik has a team-high seven goals and 12 assists while Alex Wideman has five goals and eight points and Cody Murphy has five assists, including a career-high three assists Oct. 13, and four goals. Blake Coleman has four goals and seven points on the year, Jimmy Mullin has two goals and four assists and Ben Paulides has one helper. Last year as freshmen they scored 40.2 percent of the team's goals (49 of 122) while at least one freshman scored a goal in 27 of Miami's 41 games in 2011-12. A sophomore has scored in 12 of 14 games this year. Last year's newcomers also accounted for 122 of Miami's 323 points, or 37.8 percent. The entire class returns except for forward Tyler Biggs, who had nine goals and 17 points before deciding to turn pro. The seven returners on the team who aren't sophomores combined for just 15 goals and 52 points in 2011-12.
POLLING AROUND: Coming off a weekend sweep, the RedHawks continued to move up in the polls to No. 3 in both the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll and the USCHO.com Poll for week nine after ranking fourth last week. Miami has now been in the top five each of the last eight weeks. The RedHawks started the year No. 9 in both the USCHO and USA Today Preseason Polls. The RedHawks were also ranked No. 3 in the Oct. 22 poll, which was Miami's highest ranking since being preseason No. 1 in the USA Today Poll to start last year and its highest ranking during the season since being No. 1 Nov. 1, 2010.
CLASSY SENIORS: Miami's senior class has compiled 85 career wins, which already ranks eighth in program history. The class has been a part of a Frozen Four team as freshmen when they also won a CCHA regular-season title and helped the RedHawks win their first ever Mason Cup (CCHA Tournament title) as sophomores. The class of Joe Hartman, Garrett Kennedy, Steve Mason, Curtis McKenzie and Steven Spinell has been to the NCAA Tournament all three years, as well.
Winningest Classes in Program History
1. 2009-10, 109
2. 2010-11, 108
3. 2008-09, 106
4. 2011-12, 99
5. 1997-08, 98
6. 2006-07, 88
8. 2012-13, 85
CZARNIK IS SHORT-HANDED: Sophomore forward Austin Czarnik has three short-handed goals this year, which is tied for first in the country, with all of them coming in a five-game stretch from Oct. 26 to Nov. 9. Three of Czarnik's seven goals this year have come a man down. He now already has five career short-handed goals, which ties him for fifth in school history. As a team, Miami has five short-handed goals as sophomore Cody Murphy and redshirt senior Marc Hagel each scored one against Alaska Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. The five short-handed goals tie Union for the most in the country.
SPINELL IS ALL CLASS: On Nov. 14 senior defenseman and captain Steven Spinell was named one of 20 candidates for the ice hockey Senior CLASS Award. The award is given annually to one senior student-athlete in several NCAA-sponsored sports and recognizes someone who has had notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition. Spinell was one of five CCHA players named a candidate for the award. Miami has had a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award each of the last two years with goalie Cody Reichard being named a finalist in 2011-12 and forward Carter Camper earning the distinction in 2010-11. The candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season with the winner being announced April 12 at the Frozen Four.
LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON: Freshman forward Sean Kuraly scored his first career goal Nov. 3 at Ferris State on the power play. After not scoring his first seven games, he then scored for the second time in three games Nov. 10 vs. NMU with both of his goals coming on the power play. Kuraly needs only 99 more goals to catch his father, Rick Kuraly, who is Miami's all-time leading goal scorer with 101 goals from 1979-83 and ranks third in career points (179). Sean is the first son of a former Miami player to suit up for the RedHawks. The younger Kuraly was taken in the fifth round (133rd overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft by the San Jose Sharks.
FRESH FACES: Of the 11 freshmen on Miami's 2012-13 roster, nine of them saw their first collegiate action Oct. 12-13 against Colgate (forwards Riley Barber, Alex Gacek, Sean Kuraly and Kevin Morris and defensemen Matthew Caito, Chris Joyaux and Taylor Richart) while defenseman Michael Mooney made his debut Oct. 20 vs. Providence and John Doherty played his first game Nov. 16 vs. Michigan State. Goaltenders Ryan McKay and Jay Williams have split time this year and each earned their first win against Colgate. Eight newcomers have notched their first point at Miami so far:
- Senior Marc Hagel, a transfer from Princeton, notched his first point as a RedHawk with an assist on Miami's first goal of the season Oct. 12 vs. Colgate. He scored his first two goals as a RedHawk in a Dec. 1 win at Alaska, which was also his first multi-point game at Miami.
- Richart tallied his first point on an assist Nov. 17 vs. Michigan State and added another one in his next game at Alaska.
- Caito scored his first career goal Nov. 9 vs. NMU and added an assist for his first multi-point game. He picked up his first career point on an assist Oct. 20 vs. Providence.
- Kuraly logged his first point on a goal Nov. 3 at Ferris State on the power play and notched his first assist Nov. 30 at Alaska, also a man up.
- Gacek recorded his first career point on the game-tying goal in a 4-3 win at Michigan Oct. 27.
- Morris dished out his first assist on Gacek's goal and scored his first point on a goal Oct. 13 vs. Colgate in the second period, which turned out to be the game-winner.
- Barber also scored a goal Oct. 13 vs. Colgate on the power play in the third period for his first point. He totaled three points Oct. 20 vs. Providence, including his first two assists, and has five multi-point games this year.
- Joyaux had an assist on Miami's final goal Oct. 13 for his first career point.