Photo by Angelo Gelfuso
By Justin Maskulinski, For The Miami Student
Saturday was a beautiful day, wasn't it? The sun was out, trees were blooming and many students were out and about enjoying themselves, just like any other warm Oxford weekend.
But, it felt as if something were missing. There should have been something else to do that day.
Indeed, there was something else happening that day. An important game was being played in Boston - a game that Miami was not playing in. Miami could've played in that game, had they not fallen short a few earlier when they scored three goals without a goalie en route to a 7-5 loss to Providence. Providence, the team that ended The Brotherhood's season, took home the NCAA title Saturday night.
Now that the college hockey season is officially over, what does next year look like for Miami?
It will be different not seeing Austin Czarnik, Blake Coleman and the other seniors on the score sheet. The 'Hawks must replace a senior class that totaled 134 points last season.
Head coach Enrico Blasi is not too worried about finding goal scorers.
"I think we have a pretty talented team coming back," Blasi said. "We've got a lot of guys that can score goals - Anthony Louis, Sean Kuraly, Riley Barber. We've got some freshmen coming in that are going to have to, obviously, fill some of those roles. But it'll be a different type of team, especially with an experienced D-corps and goaltending. I wouldn't be too concerned about the offense, I think we have enough guys that can come in and do the job."
While the 'Hawks lose some offensive talent to graduation, the returning guys make up for it.
Last season, Barber, Kuraly and Louis totaled 105 points. Matthew Caito and Louis Belpedio, Miami's top two scoring defensemen, also return. Jay Williams and Ryan McKay both return in the net.
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The RedHawks will be strong again.
The first step towards next year is Sean Kuraly's naming as captain. Kuraly expects his 12 classmates to help him lead the way.
"It's a great honor," Kuraly said. "It's kind of leadership by committee, but it's a great honor to get that. There's so many great captains that have come before me, and I learned a lot last year from Austin."
Kuraly wore the "A" on his sweater last season and thinks that will help him embrace his new role.
"It was a good opportunity to get a little taste of it without getting the whole responsibility of it," Kuraly said. "I think that was a good start for me."
Kuraly called the team very "process-oriented" and thinks the mindset will get the team through next season.
"We're going to focus on how to get ourselves to play confident, hard, fast and as consistently as possible," Kuraly said. "If we're doing those things, the outcome isn't going to be as important. If we're getting the best out of each guy and getting better every day and making each individual play their best, we're going to be fine."
Miami missed out on the national championship game last Saturday. However, next year will be different.
If the team meets Blasi's expectation, Oxford will enjoy that day, rain or shine.
"The expectation is always to win a national championship," Blasi said. "Period."