THE GAME
Making its eighth straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament and 11th in program history, the No. 5/5 and second-seeded Miami hockey team battles No. 8/11 and third-seeded Minnesota State in the Midwest Regional semifinals (NCAA first round) on Saturday, March 30 at the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio. Puck drop is set for 5 p.m. ET while the game can be seen live in Ohio on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel (311/1311 HD) and online on ESPN3.com. No. 4/4 and top-seeded Notre Dame (25-12-3), which won the final CCHA Tournament, plays No. 11/9 and fourth-seeded St. Cloud State (23-15-1), which shared the WCHA regular-season title, in Saturday’s first regional semifinal at 1:30 p.m. The regional championship is set for Sunday at 4 p.m. with a Frozen Four berth on the line.

Miami (24-11-5), which won the final CCHA regular-season title, heads to Toledo having gone 3-3 in its last six games, including a 6-2 loss to No. 20 Michigan in the CCHA Semifinals last Saturday. The six goals allowed marked the most the RedHawks had given up all season, having given up just four twice previously. The Wolverines broke a scoreless first period with four goals in the second period, including three in a stretch of 2:11. Sophomore forward Austin Czarnik assisted on both Miami goals, which were scored by freshman forward Sean Kuraly and senior forward Curtis McKenzie. Czarnik and freshman forward Riley Barber share the CCHA lead with 38 points.

Minnesota State (24-13-3) tied for fourth in the WCHA during the regular season, posting a league record of 16-11-1. The Mavericks, who are making just their second trip to the NCAA Tournament, won their first-round series in the WCHA Tournament over Nebraska Omaha in three games, but fell to Wisconsin, 7-2, in the quarterfinals March 21. Like Miami, MSU is 3-3 in its last six games. The Mavericks other Division I NCAA Tournament berth came in 2003, a first-round loss to Cornell. Sophomore Matt Leitner has a team-best 30 assists and 47 points while senior Eriah Hayes has a team-best 20 goals. Freshman Stephon Williams has seen most of the time in net for MSU and carries a 1.96 GAA and .925 save percentage.

MEDIA COVERAGE
Saturday's NCAA Tournament game is broadcast by ESPNU but will only be shown on tape delay at 2 p.m. Sunday on ESPNU. The ESPN syndication has been picked up by Time Warner Cable SportsChannel (311/1311 HD) however, and will be shown live on that station. Sunday's regional final will be shown live on ESPNU. All three games in the Midwest Regional are also streamed live on ESPN3.com. Ben Holden will handle play-by-play for this weekend's games while Darren Eliot will add color commentary. Saturday's regional semifinal and Sunday's regional championship, should Miami make it, will both be on radio on WKBV-AM 1490  out of Richmond, Ind. and WMOH-AM 1450 out of Hamilton, Ohio with the "Voice of Miami Hockey" Greg Waddell calling the action. Live audio of the game(s) is also available on MURedHawks.com through the Miami All-Access subscription package.

THE SERIES
Miami is 1-0-1 all-time against Minnesota State, winning in Mankato Dec. 30, 1996, 4-2, while the teams last met Dec. 30, 2004, which ended in a 3-3 tie. That game was held on neutral ice in Columbus, Ohio in the Ohio Hockey Classic. The two sides have never met in the NCAA Tournament, however the ‘Hawks are 3-2 against current WCHA foes with all three wins coming in the 2009 NCAA Tournament.

THE COACHES
Enrico Blasi (Miami ’94) is in his 14th season at Miami. A five-time CCHA Coach of the Year, including this year, he was named National Coach of the Year in 2005-06. He stands 310-195-53 in 14 seasons at his alma mater, where he has led Miami to nine NCAA Tournaments, two Frozen Four berths, a National Championship game appearance, three CCHA regular-season titles, including this year, and the school’s first ever Mason Cup in 2011. Blasi is the the winningest coach in school history.

Mike Hastings (St. Cloud State ‘93) is in his first year at the helm of Minnesota State, where he has led the Mavericks to a 24-13-3 record and just the program’s second ever NCAA Division I Tournament berth. Prior to arriving at MSU, he was an associate head coach for three years at Nebraska Omaha. He has also been an assistant coach at Minnesota and coached the USHL’s Omaha Lancers for 14 years.

QUICK HITS
  • Miami is making its 11th NCAA Tournament appearance in program history. The RedHawks have now earned an NCAA Tournament berth eight straight years, which is the second-longest active streak in the country behind only North Dakota’s 11 straight years.
  • The RedHawks are a No. 2 seed for the second straight year and third time in program history, also earning it in 2006. The ‘Hawks are 0-2 all-time as a No. 2 seed, however. Miami dropped its first-round NCAA Tournament game last year to UMass Lowell in overtime, 4-3.
  • Miami is 7-10 all-time in the NCAA Tournament and last appeared in the Midwest Regional in 2010, when the RedHawks won the regional and advanced to the Frozen Four. That year was also Miami’s last NCAA Tournament win, which came over Michigan in double overtime in the regional final. The RedHawks have now made the NCAA Tournament nine times under head coach Enrico Blasi, who is 7-8 in the tournament as a coach and 0-1 as a player at Miami.
  • Miami’s defense ranks second nationally, allowing just 1.73 goals per game. The RedHawks have held their opponent to two goals or less in 31 of 40 games on the year and one goal or less in 20 contests. Freshman goaltender Ryan McKay leads the country with his 1.37 GAA and has started each of Miami’s last seven contests in net.
  • Sophomore forward Austin Czarnik, the CCHA Player of the Year, is riding a three-game point streak and has a team-best five points this postseason on three goals and two helpers.
  • Freshman forward Sean Kuraly has scored goals in his last two games, giving him back-to-back games with a goal for the first time in his career. He now has three goals in his last two games after totaling three goals in his first 36 games this season.
  • Miami is 19-0-1 when scoring three or more goals this year and 14-0-0 when topping the four-goal mark on the season. The RedHawks are also 20-2-1 this year when scoring first and 7-1-2 following a loss as Miami has dropped back-to-back games just once all season.

TOURNEY TIDBITS:

  • Miami is making its 11th NCAA Tournament appearance in program history. The RedHawks have now earned an NCAA Tournament berth eight straight years, which is the second-longest active streak in the country behind only North Dakota’s 11 straight years.
  • Miami is 7-10 all-time in the NCAA Tournament and last appeared in the Midwest Regional in 2010, when the RedHawks won the regional and advanced to the Frozen Four. The RedHawks have now made the NCAA Tournament nine times under head coach Enrico Blasi, who is 7-8 in the national tournament as a coach and 0-1 as a player at Miami. Miami’s other NCAA Tournament appearances came in 1993, when Blasi played, and 1997, and under Blasi in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, in addition to this year. Miami’s complete NCAA Tournament history is on page 6.
  • The RedHawks are a No. 2 seed for the second straight year and third time in program history, also earning it in 2006. The ‘Hawks are 0-2 all-time as a No. 2 seed, however. Miami dropped its first-round NCAA Tournament game last year to UMass Lowell in overtime, 4-3.
  • Miami and Minnesota State have never met in the NCAA Tournament, however the ‘Hawks are 3-2 against current WCHA foes with all three wins coming in the 2009 NCAA Tournament.
  • Miami last won an NCAA Tournament game in 2010, which came over Michigan in double overtime in the Midwest Regional final. The RedHawks also made the Frozen Four in 2009.

HOBEY CZARNIK: Sophomore forward Austin Czarnik was named one of just 10 finalists for the prestigious Hobey Baker Memorial Award on March 21. Czarnik is the lone representative from the CCHA among the finalists and Miami’s 12th Hobey Baker finalist in program history. The RedHawks have now had a Hobey Baker finalist each of the last four seasons, which is the longest active streak in the country. Miami has also had a finalist for college hockey’s top honor in eight of the last 10 years (since 2003-04), with nine RedHawks being named a finalist during that time, which is the most in the country over that period. Czarnik is one of just two sophomores named a Hobey Baker finalist along with Boston College forward Johnny Gaudreau. The Hobey Hat Trick (three finalists) will be announced on April 3, 2013 and the Hobey Baker Award winner will be announced Friday, April 12, 2013.

TAKING HOME THE HARDWARE: Miami captured three of the CCHA’s top individual honors at the CCHA Awards Show March 22. Head coach Enrico Blasi earned CCHA Coach of the Year, his fifth time winning it, which is second-most in league history. Sophomore forward Austin Czarnik won CCHA Player of the Year, the fifth Miamian to win it and third in the last four years. Freshman forward Riley Barber became the first RedHawk/Redskin to ever claim CCHA Rookie of the Year.

THE FINAL CHAMPIONS: Miami won the 2012-13 CCHA regular-season championship, totaling 59 points in the standings with a 17-7-4-4 league record, three points ahead of Notre Dame. It is the program’s fourth regular-season crown, also winning the title in 1992-93, 2005-06 and 2009-10, while the RedHawks have won one CCHA Tournament, as well (2011). Miami will forever be the final CCHA regular-season champions as the league is dissolving after the season. By winning the title, Miami has now finished in the top four in the CCHA standings each of the last eight years, something no other team in the league has done. During that stretch, the ‘Hawks have won the regular-season title three times, finished runner-up once and have three third-place finishes in addition to last year’s fourth-place finish.

ALL-CCHA, ALL THE TIME: Miami had three players named to the all-conference teams, which were announced March 13. Sophomore forward Austin Czarnik and freshman forward Riley Barber were both tabbed First-Team All-CCHA while freshman defenseman Matthew Caito garnered Honorable Mention All-CCHA. It is the first all-league honor for all three.

  • Barber becomes the first rookie to earn first-team honors since 2003-04 when Michigan’s T.J. Hensick and Michigan State’s A.J. Thelen both received First-Team All-CCHA nods.
  • The RedHawks were the only team to place more than one player on the 2013 All-CCHA First Team, the third time in the last four years Miami has put at least two players on the First Team. The RedHawks have also now had at least one first-teamer each of the last six seasons. Barber and Czarnik become the 17th and 18th Miami players to earn first-team distinction.
  • Czarnik was the top vote-getter on the team, totaling 46 points, including eight first-place votes.
  • In addition to their All-CCHA nods, Barber, Caito and goaltender Ryan McKay were all tabbed to the CCHA All-Rookie Team on March 11.
  • Miami placed three players on the seven-man All-Rookie Team for the first time in program history, last putting two on the team in 2008-09. The last CCHA team to have three players land on the All-Rookie Team was Notre Dame in 2006-07. Barber was the lone unanimous selection to the All-Rookie Team while no other team had more than one player on the squad.

ROARING 20s: Miami has 24 wins on the year, marking its eighth straight 20-win season. Prior to this stretch, Miami had never posted 20-win seasons in more than two straight years. The eight consecutive 20-win seasons is the third-longest active streak in the country behind only Denver (12) and North Dakota (11), which have each topped 20 wins this season. In 14 years under head coach Enrico Blasi, Miami has topped the 20-win plateau 11 times. Prior to Blasi, Miami reached 20 wins just five times in 21 seasons.

GETTING DEFENSIVE: Miami’s strength this year has been its defense, as the RedHawks rank second nationally and first in the CCHA, allowing just 1.73 goals per game. Miami has limited the opposition to two goals or less in 28 of its last 33 games, including four shutouts, but allowed a season-high six goals to Michigan in its last game March 23 after having given up just four goals twice this season. The RedHawks have held their opponent to two goals or less in 31 of 40 games on the year and one goal or less in 20 contests (50.0 percent of their games) on the season, including five shutouts.

CLASSY SENIORS: Miami’s senior class of Joe Hartman, Garrett Kennedy, Steve Mason, Curtis McKenzie and Steven Spinell has compiled 100 career wins, which ranks fourth in program history. The class is the first in Miami history to make it to the CCHA Championship at Joe Louis Arena all four years. They have also been a part of a Frozen Four team as freshmen while winning two CCHA regular-season titles (2009-10 and 2012-13) and they helped the RedHawks win their first ever Mason Cup (CCHA Tournament title) as sophomores. The class has been to the NCAA Tournament all four years, as well. Redshirt senior Marc Hagel joined the RedHawks this season after transferring from Princeton.
Winningest Classes in Program History
1. 2009-10, 109
2. 2010-11, 108
3. 2008-09, 106
4. 2012-13, 100

THE BARBER SHOP: Freshman forward Riley Barber has had a stellar rookie campaign, earning CCHA Rookie of the Year, unanimous CCHA All-Rookie Team honors and First-Team All-CCHA.

  • Barber’s 38 points tie for first in the CCHA and tie for first nationally among all rookies. He has 12 points in his last 13 games. His 23 assists are fourth in the CCHA and first among NCAA freshmen while his 15 goals lead the team and tie for eighth in the CCHA.
  • He has a point in 24 of his 38 games this year and had a five-game point streak from Oct. 13 to Oct. 27. He has a team-best-tying 12 multi-point games this year, including four multi-assist games and his first multi-goal game Feb. 2 vs. Alaska.
  • On Feb. 25, Barber was named CCHA Gongshow® Rookie of the Week for the fourth time this season after a two-goal, three-point outing in a sweep of Lake Superior State Feb. 22-23. No other CCHA player won the honor more than twice this season.
  • Barber earned his third CCHA Gongshow® Rookie of the Week honor Dec. 17 after tallying three points at Ohio State Dec. 14-15. He earned two primary assists, one each night, and added an empty-net goal Dec. 15 to seal the win.
  • 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 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.

AUSTIN’S ALL-IN: After a standout freshman campaign, sophomore forward Austin Czarnik has picked up where he left off. He followed up his CCHA All-Rookie Team campaign by earning First-Team All-CCHA and CCHA Player of the Year this year.

  • Czarnik’s 38 points tie for both the team lead and the CCHA lead, while his 24 assists are third in the league and tops on the team. His 14 goals are second on the team and 12th in the CCHA.
  • Czarnik, who had a four-game point streak from Oct. 19-27, has a point in 23 of 40 games this year, including 12 multi-point games, tying for the most on the team. He has four multi-goal games this year, including most recently March 16 in the quarterfinals vs. Michigan State, after recording just one last year as a freshman. He has five points in his last three games, as well.
  • 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.
  • 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.

NOT SO SHORT-HANDED: After scoring short-handed goals in back-to-back games March 16 and 17 vs. Michigan State, Miami has eight short-handed goals on the year, which ties for second nationally behind only Robert Morris’ nine. Sophomore forward Austin Czarnik, who has a total of 14 goals on the season, has tallied four of them short-handed, which leads the country by himself. His first three shorties came in a five-game stretch from Oct. 26 to Nov. 9 while he added another March 16. He now already has six career short-handed goals, which ties him for third in school history, while his four this year tie for second in Miami single-season history (seven is the record). Miami’s complete top-10 lists are on pages 14 and 15. Sophomore forward Cody Murphy, freshman forward Riley Barber, redshirt senior forward Marc Hagel, and freshman forward Kevin Morris each have one shorty this year, as well. Miami has allowed just two short-handed goals all year with one coming in its last game against Michigan, March 23.

BAGEL BONANZA: Miami has seen a lot of zeros on the scoreboard this season, having played in 12 games involving a shutout. The RedHawks have pitched five shutouts themselves, most recently blanking No. 6 Western Michigan, 4-0, in Kalamazoo Feb. 9. Three of the five shutouts have occurred in CCHA play while the five whitewashes are the second-most in the CCHA. Freshmen goaltenders Ryan McKay (three) and Jay Williams (two) have combined for them. On the flip side, Miami has been shut out seven times this season, including a 3-0 loss to Michigan State March 15 in game one of the CCHA Quarterfinals. The seven shutouts suffered on the season tie the Miami record for most times being blanked in a season first set by the 2001-02 RedHawks.

SPECIAL SPECIAL TEAMS: The RedHawks, who killed 26 straight opponent power plays at one point this year from Jan. 11 to Feb. 1, rank second in the CCHA and sixth nationally with an 88.1 percent penalty kill. Miami’s 163 kills (in 185 chances) are the most in the country. The RedHawks have been perfect on the penalty kill in 22 of 40 games this year but have allowed a power play goal in each of their last three games. Miami has scored a power play goal of its own in the third period in each of its last two games after having not scored a third-period power play goal prior to that since Dec. 14.

POLLING AROUND: Miami enters the NCAA Tournament No. 5 in both the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll and the USCHO.com Poll. Miami had been No. 3 in the polls each of the last eight weeks. The RedHawks started the year No. 9 in both the USCHO and USA Today Preseason Polls. The RedHawks’ No. 3 ranking was their season high, achieving it 10 times this year. It 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. The complete polls are on page 5.

MARATHON MEN: Senior defenseman Joe Hartman and senior forward Curtis McKenzie have each played in 156 career games as a RedHawk, which ties for ninth in school history. Assuming they play in Saturday’s game, they would move into a tie for eighth while a run to the NCAA Championship game would move them into a tie for fifth in Miami history with 160 games played. The complete list is on page 15.

--MURedHawks.com--