Saturday, February 20, 2010

Friday Round-up

Justin Vaive and the RedHawks have been punishing teams of late

Oxford, Ohio (Feb. 19) - Junior forward Justin Vaive scored his fourth goal of the season and senior Jarod Palmer, the CCHA's reigning offensive player of the week, continued his hot streak by registering three points as #1 Miami defeated Nebraska-Omaha 6-2 at Steve Cady Arena.

After a shaky first period that saw Miami trade chances with the Mavericks, the RedHawk defense took over the game. Led by sophomores Will Weber and Cameron Schilling, Miami limited UNO to just 10 shots during the final two periods of the game after surrendering an uncharacteristic 11 in the first period. In fact, Miami allowed two first period goals which broke a streak of 13 unanswered first period goals by the RedHawks who had not allowed a goal in the first period of a game since a 1-1 tie at Alaska on January 22.

Dean Blais professes "race horse hockey." And, he had his Mavericks running in the first period. But, Miami made the necessary adjustments and got back to locking down the neutral zone, and frankly, kept UNO out of the Miami zone for much of the second and third periods. The ice definitely seemed tilted after that first period that saw Cody Reichard allow an uncharacteristic goal when UNO sophomore forward Alex Hudson fired a wrister past Reichard on a 1-on-1 rush and Hudson also had the second Maverick goal on a 5x3 power play. After the game, Blais seemed to sum up the night's effort succinctly.

“The better team won,” said UNO coach Dean Blais. “We just got outplayed, and we got what we deserved.”

More to the point, Blais felt his squad ran out of juice as Miami squeezed the Mavs during the last two periods.

“I didn’t think we battled as hard as we have been — it was almost like we ran out of emotion,” Blais said.

For the game, Miami outshot the Mavericks 45-21 as the RedHawks once again got balanced scoring as six Hawks scored goals. Jarod Palmer led the effort with a line of 1-2-3 for the night and now has an eight game scoring streak and leads the team with 15-23-38. The 38 points are a career best for the senior from Fridley, Minn.

With the win, Miami improves to 23-4-6 overall and 20-1-4-2 CCHA. They extended their CCHA unbeaten streak to 23 games and continue to play inspired hockey despite having clinched the regular season title last weekend.

Head coach Enrico Blasi agreed.

"This team is focused on just one day at a time," Blasi said. "You go out there and play hard and you leave it all on the ice. It's going to be really hard if you take some weeks off and try to turn it on again. You gotta keep the pressure on and keep working hard and they're doing that."

Tonight, Miami will attempt to sweep the Mavericks and continue trending toward a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Faceoff is 7:05 from Steve Cady Arena and the game can be seen across the great state of Ohio on ONN.

Ohio State gets crucial road win over Western Michigan

Kalamazoo, Mich. (Feb. 19) - A day after learning he would not be returning to the Western Michigan bench next season, head coach Jim Culhane and the Broncos dropped a tough 3-1 decision to the visiting Ohio State Buckeyes.

Though head coach John Markell's future is cloudy at best, he could not allow time to feel sorry for Culhane as the Buckeyes continue to fight for position in the tightly packed CCHA standings. With the win, and a Lake Superior loss, Ohio State moved into sole possession of eighth place and the final home ice spot for the CCHA playoffs with three games to play. The Buckeyes are just a point behind Michigan for seventh place in the league standings as the Wolverines dropped another home game to surging Northern Michigan.

Yet again, super sophomore Zac Dalpe led the Buckeyes with two goals including an empty-netter with 53 seconds left to seal the win. Dalpe leads Ohio State with 18 goals and 34 points this season. He has been the only consistent scoring threat for the Buckeyes as only he and Sergio Somma (10 goals) are in double-digits for Ohio State.

Junior Dustin Carlson made 33 saves to register his third win of the season as the Buckeyes improved to 12-15-4 overall and 10-11-4-2 CCHA.

Ohio State and Western Michigan complete the weekend and season series tonight at 7:35pm from Lawson Ice Arena in Kalamazoo.

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