MU set for homestand versus Canisius college
Published: Friday, November 1, 2013
Updated: Friday, November 1, 2013 00:11
The Miami University hockey team returns to the Goggin Ice Center for a home series this weekend ranked No. 6 in the country, according to the USCHO poll.
The RedHawks (3-2-1) are hosting the Golden Griffins of Canisius College, who have put up a 2-2-0 record so far this season. Though records say little about a team at this point in the season, Canisius is coming off a 4-1 road win against the University of Denver, a contender of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.
The ’Hawks failed to find a win last weekend at Providence, who jumped to No. 3 in the nation, but did manage a tie in overtime last Saturday.
The RedHawks have now fallen two consecutive weeks at the polls – they were ranked No. 1 in the nation just two weeks ago. But that’s of little concern to the Brotherhood, a group that’s never minded much where the powers that be place them, especially this early in the season.
“We have to continue to prepare at a high level during the week, and play our best hockey on the weekend.” Miami head coach Enrico Blasi said. “Canisuis is well coached – Dave Smith does a great job. It’s going to be a tough weekend and we have to be ready to play our absolute best hockey.”
Canisius is a slyly competent team, and though they’ve scored just 10 goals through four games, four of those tallies have been on special teams: two on the power play, and two on the penalty kill. On the flip side of the ice, the Golden Griffins have allowed just 10 goals against, and junior netminder Keegan Asmundson was named Atlantic Hockey Association Goaltender of the Week after his career-high 36 save performance in a 4-1 upset of then No. 17 Denver. That puts his save percentage at .973 and his goals-against average at 1 – both good for second best in the NCAA. If Miami hopes to find itself with two tallies in the wins column at the end of the weekend, they need to shore up some mistakes that led to a less than successful weekend against Providence.
“Partly, it’s decision-making with the puck,” Blasi said. “Some of our guys are trying to be too perfect … we’re teetering at that 10 to 18 [scoring] chances against. That’s not good, and it’s partly because we’re turning the puck over.”
Though turnovers and bad decision-making have been part of the once No. 1 RedHawks’ recent 1-2-1 slide, that statistic must be taken with a grain of salt. The RedHawks faced off against the No. 6 and No. 8 teams in the nation, respectively at the time. The University of North Dakota now ranks fifth in the country, and Providence sits two spots off the top.
“I think it’s helped us grow a little bit,” junior captain Austin Czarnik said. “We obviously have a lot of work to do, but when we’re going, we’re going. I’m excited to see how we do this weekend and hopefully we can get it going right from the start.”
Once again, Miami will rely heavily on leading scorers, sophomore forward Riley Barber and linemate Czarnik. Barber is tied atop the nation’s standings in points with twelve, while Czarnik is one spot behind him with 11.
Puck drop Friday evening is scheduled for 7:35 p.m., while Saturday’s game will begin at 7:05.