Miami falls to third in nation after series split
Published: Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 01:10
By Joe Gieringer Senior Staff Writer
It appears there is a new rivalry shaping up in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC), and it features two of the hottest programs in the country.
Miami University (3-1-0) dropped to No.3 in the country after splitting its first full home series with No. 6 University of North Dakota.
The team, previously-known as the Fighting Sioux got on the board first Friday night at 7:55 of the first period, when a wrist shot by UND junior forward Michael Parks took a funny bounce by sophomore goaltender Jay Willliams. In the twilight minutes of the first frame, UND added another to end the period up 2-0.
After a mishandled puck behind the net by Williams led to an early second period goal for North Dakota, it looked as if they would run away with the game, but Miami battled back on a pair of goals by sophomore forward Sean Kuraly and freshman forward Anthony Louis
Despite the comeback, the game ended in a 4-2 loss and Kuraly said the team did not play to its potential.
“We weren’t happy with the way we played,” Kuraly said. “We didn’t play a full 60 [minutes], and our process wasn’t as good as it needed to be. We have some mistakes that need to be fixed for tomorrow.”
A rejuvenated RedHawk squad took the ice Saturday night. Head coach Enrico Blasi has never shied away from changing up the lines, and this past weekend was no different. Led by a new front three of junior captain Austin Czarnik, classmate Cody Murphy and sophomore Riley Barber, the ’Hawks jumped out to a 1-0 lead just 2:24 into the game on a Murphy one-timer. Junior forward Blake Coleman notched one of his own with minutes left in the opening frame on a solo effort from of a face off.
Miami didn’t let up on the gas as it poured in three more goals in the second period, starting with Barber’s rebound strike at the 3:40 mark for his fifth goal on the year. Coleman added two tallies throughout the frame for his first career hat trick to bring the game to 5-0 at the halfway mark, and the RedHawks held on to capture a 6-2 win with a late Czarnik tally in a dominant performance.
“I thought everyone in our lineup contributed tonight,” Blasi said. “Everyone was focused and ready to go.”
The players noticed a significant difference from Friday to Saturday as well. Coleman, who was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct Friday, bounced back for the aforementioned hat trick in a +3 performance.
“I think we followed the process a little more tonight,” Coleman said. “We played within our system and we had a little more jump, a little more energy. We always talk about staying in the moment and I think our team responded really well.”
Two new faces, freshmen forward Devin Loe and defenseman Johnny Wingels, got significant ice time. Loe contributed two assists in his collegiate debut, and looked poised and collected out on the ice. The game was a physical one, and Miami outhit UND by a wide margin. Loe’s 6-foot, 190-pound frame helped acclimate him to this lumber-laying affair, and the freshman joked that he did not mind throwing his weight around.
“I just wanted to get in there and introduce myself,” Loe said.
The RedHawks will return to action next week in their first full weekend away from Oxford when they face Providence College.
Smith was a big part of the RedHawks’ success the past few years, including a Frozen Four run in 2010. He put up 66 goals and 56 assists in his three years at Miami, averaging just over a point per game. He played his rookie year for the Dallas Stars in 2012-13, totaling nine points in 37 games. After being involved in a blockbuster July trade that involved seven players, Smith moved to the Boston Bruins organization and currently has five points through seven contests this year. His older brother, Brendan Smith, is a part of the Detroit Red Wings organization.
Those who aren’t devoted hockey fans might not know Dan Boyle, the alternate captain and seasoned veteran for the San Jose Sharks. A 1998 graduate of Miami University, Boyle has enjoyed a lucrative career on NHL bluelines for the Florida Panthers, the Tampa Bay Lightning, and since 2008, the Sharks. Last Tuesday, Boyle was checked into the boards illegally by St. Louis Blues forward Maxim Lapierre and was carried off the ice on a stretcher, adding to the increasing debates on physicality and vicious hits in the NHL. He was released from the hospital the next night and hopes the recovery will be speedy. Boyle has accumulated 528 points in 879 games in the NHL.
The most recent Stanley Cup winner to have skated on Goggin’s ice (‘06-’08), Martinez is one of the more notable RedHawk alumni of recent years. Martinez accumulated 67 points in 113 games with Miami, and has netted 12 goals in 142 NHL games. He won a Stanley Cup with the Los Angeles Kings during the 2011-2012 season. He has appeared in You Can Play videos, a campaign dedicated to combating homophobia in sports.
A three-year Miami University starter and captain of the 2009-10 RedHawk squad, Wingels was a star in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association and netted 42 goals in 44 games of his senior campaign. He’s the third line right-winger for the San Jose Sharks, a team many have picked to win the Stanley Cup this year. Wingels has netted 22 points in 80 regular season games with the Sharks, and has contributed three points in 16 playoff games. His little brother, Johnny, made his first career collegiate appearance for the RedHawks this past Saturday against the Univeristy of North Dakota.
A Hobey Baker finalist and All-American in his days as a RedHawk, Jones became a go-to third and fourth liner for the injury-riddled Edmonton Oilers. He has notched 94 goals in 284 appearances since graduating from Miami in 2008. Though he has only appeared in two games this season and hasn’t found a spot on the regular roster, “Jonesy” has developed a reputation around the league as being one of the premier Twitter users, which is why it’s sad that he discontinued his feed at the end of this summer. Bring back the blue bird messages, Ryan!