Saturday, October 24, 2009

Quick Hits

Well, I missed my first deadline yesterday and was unable to post a preview of the Miami/MSU series from Oxford. So, I'll try to make it up with a mini-recap of last night's game.
  • From Oxford, the #1 Miami RedHawks improved to 4-0-1 (1-0 CCHA) with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over the Michigan State Spartans (3-2, 0-1). Captain Tommy Wingels netted both goals for Miami including the game-winner at 18:02 of the third period.
  • Sophomore goaltender Cody Reichard made 24 saves, including one on a penalty shot, to improve to 3-0-1 (technically, he picked up the "and one" when he came into last Saturday's 5-5 tie vs. UNH trailing 5-3.) Reichard's goals against average is a minuscule 1.66 and his save percentage is a robust 92.4. Certainly Cody has not been affected by the BU loss in the national title game, he has been extremely solid.
  • The officiating last night was fairly inconsistent and seemed tilted toward MSU. I know Miami is a very big team, but they seem to draw a disproportionate number of penalties for infractions that, at least to the untrained eye, appear to be committed by both teams. Miami was just 1-8 on the powerplay while MSU cashed in on one of seven chances so it was definitely a penalty-filled affair.
  • There are many things that I am beginning to like about this team. First and foremost is their strength and will to win. They are finding ways to get it done early, late, no matter. The RedHawks are driven with many different contributors every night.
  • Sophomore and reigning CCHA Defensive Player of the Week, Matt Tomassoni, was a healthy scratch last night. Freshman Steve Spinnell took Tomassoni's spot in the lineup.
  • MSU senior goaltender Bobby Jarosz was solid for the Spartans making 26 saves, but to be honest, Miami hit at least 3 posts so he was definitely helped by the iron.
  • Unfortunately, I wasn't in Oxford last night so I watched the game on ONN. OSU radio play-by-play man, Neil Sika, who has been the sideline reporter for ONN's Miami hockey coverage was in the booth next to "Diamond" Dave Allen last night. Neil was a big upgrade and I'd love to see him there every week providing analysis, but I assume he has to manage around OSU broadcasts. However, the Buckeyes did play last night so I guess we got Neil because he is no longer in the booth for them or Ohio State didn't take a broadcast team to Sault Ste. Marie which is common for them on long road trips. Regardless, I hope we get more of him.
  • Another great source for Miami hockey news is the MU Hockey Blog. Alex posted a preview of the series at
  • Full time coverage can be found at
  • Overall against MSU, Miami is just 24-66-5 all time, but current Miami seniors are 6-2. And since 2000, the series is nearly even with MSU holding a 14-12 advantage including a victory in the 2006 CCHA Championship Game in Detroit when Jeff Lerg outdueled Jeff Zatkoff in a 2-1 classic.
  • Much has been made about MSU's epic collapse last season to an unheard of 11th place finish in the CCHA. This season is about redemption for them. There were multiple disciplinary and injury issues last year, but that was by far the worst season I've ever seen out of a Michigan State team. Remember, they won the national title at the end of the 2007 season. Then finish 11th of 12 league teams just two years removed. Fortunately for head coach Rick Comley (Lake Superior '72), his resume speaks for itself. He's led two different schools to national titles (Northern Michigan in 1991 and MSU in 2007) and has a career record that is mind-boggling. Overall in his coaching career, he is 752-586-100 in 37 seasons.
  • The two teams will meet again on Bicentennial Homecoming at Miami. Puck drops at 8:05pm from beautiful Goggin Ice Center and the game will again be televised on ONN throughout the great state of Ohio.
In other action, Ohio State entered the 3rd period in Sault Ste. Marie holding a 2-1 lead over Lake Superior State. However, the Buckeyes were unable to hold the lead, which has been a common occurrence so far this year, and fell 3-2 to the Lakers as junior forward Rick Schofield scored the game-winning goal with 20 seconds remaining in regulation.
  • Ohio State is now 1-4 on the season (0-1 CCHA) while the Lakers continued their strong start moving to 4-1 (1-0).
  • The Buckeyes and Lakers meet again tonight from the Soo at 7:05pm.
Across the nation, there were several good matchups as conference play began in earnest.
  • From Minneapolis, Minn., the #4 Denver Pioneers returned to the win column by defeating the #11 Minnesota Golden Gophers 3-0 in WCHA play. As was the case last Friday in Columbus, junior netminder Marc Cheverie made 30 saves en route to his second consecutive shutout. Cheverie has now made 66 consecutive saves over his last two outings and I would expect to see him in the net tonight from Mariucci Arena as well.
  • From Anchorage, Alaska, the #2 North Dakota Fighting Sioux engineered a dominating performance by defeating the Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves 5-0. Freshman goaltender Aaron Dell made his Sioux debut memorable by making just 16 saves to pick up his first win and shutout and five different skaters potted goals for North Dakota.
  • Finally, to round-out CCHA coverage, Ferris State and Western Michigan picked up non-conference wins against Robert Morris and UAH, respectively, while Northern Michigan lost a late lead and settled for a 3-3 tie against last season's Frozen Four surprise, Bemidji State. Notre Dame was unable to build on Tuesday's win against BU and fell at home to BC 3-2. Finally, the Bowling Green Falcons remained winless on the season getting blown out at home by Providence of Hockey East 8-2.

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