RedHawks Look to Tame Black Bears as Home Stand Continues

Follow @MiamiRedHawks and @MiamiOH_Hockey on Twitter

Oct. 19, 2016

Series Notes (PDF)

Gameday Central
Friday | Saturday ($): Friday | Saturday
Live Audio: Friday | Saturday

Game 4 & 5
Friday, Oct. 21 • 7:35 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 22 • 7:05 p.m.
Steve `Coach' Cady Arena (3,642) • Oxford, Ohio

Miami RedHawks (1-1-1, 0-0-0 NCHC) vs. Maine Black Bears (3-1-0, 0-0-0 Hockey East)
TV/Stream: (Subscription Required)
Radio: Tune In Radio

Miami hosts Maine in Oxford for the first time in these program's histories in their first meeting since the 2010-11 this weekend.
THE SERIES: The Black Bears are 5-1 all-time in the series, with their last meeting coming during the 2010 Florida College Classic in Estero, Fla. (4-1 Miami win).

• Miami sports one of the youngest rosters in college hockey with 14 freshmen and six sophomores comprising nearly 80 percent of their 26-player roster.

• After allowing one early power play goal in its Oct. 7 season opener, the Miami penalty kill has successfully killed off 20-straight power plays and is fourth nationally at 95.2 percent. MU's 90.9 percent kill rate last season was the second best in the country.

• All six of Miami's goals through three games have come on the power play, with its 23.1 percent scoring rate the ninth best in the nation.

Kiefer Sherwood has netted 11 goals and 19 points in his last 26 games dating back to last season.

Ryan Larkin has stopped 43 of 45 shots (.956 save%) over his last two starts.

• Eleven RedHawks have recorded at least one point in their first three games this season.

• Miami defensemen have had a hand in all six of its goals through three games, combining to tally three goals and three assists.

Miami renewed its long standing rivalry with former Central Collegiate Hockey Association foe Ohio State in its home opener last Saturday. The RedHawks yielded a rebound goal to David Gust 4:32 into the contest and the Buckeyes took a 1-0 lead into intermission despite a 10-6 shot advantage for the Red and White. Miami's power play answered that tally 4:11 into the second period as Ohio State took a couple of early penalties to offer up a 5-on-3 opportunity. Louie Belpedio's one-timer from the high slot found the back of the net on assists from Anthony Louis and Kiefer Sherwood to leave the score 1-1. MU generated several quality scoring chances throughout the game, but ended up hitting three posts while Ryan Larkin was stellar at the other end in making 23 saves. The contest officially ended in a 1-1 tie after 65 minutes and the teams played an additional overtime at 3-on-3. After nothing found the net in that extra session, the teams went to a sudden death shootout, where OSU's Tanner Laczynski scored to end the tilt.

Enrico Blasi (Miami '94) is in his 18th season behind the RedHawk bench. He is a five-time CCHA Coach of the Year and was named National Coach of the Year in 2005-06. He stands 367-249-61 at his alma mater, where he has led Miami to 10 NCAA Tournaments, including two Frozen Four berths, a National Championship game appearance, a trio of CCHA regular-season titles and two conference tournament titles (2011 CCHA & 2015 NCHC). Blasi is the the winningest coach in school history.

ABOUT MAINE: The Black Bears have won three of their first four games, opening the year with three-straight victories before settling for a split against last year's national runner-up Quinnipiac following a 3-2 loss. The three victories are nearly halfway to Maine's total from its 8-24-6 campaign in 2015-16. Five UM skaters have scored at least two goals and the team is led by Mitchell Fossier's eight points on five goals and three assists. Sophomore defenseman Rob Mitchell owns a team-high +6 rating while Rob McGovern has started all four games in goal with a 2.22 goals against average and a .923 save percentage.

Senior forward Anthony Louis has shown tremendous offensive ability to post 88 points in his career and at times has put together incredible streaks of production. Louis has become known for his big second-half surges, but hopes to match that production in the first half during his final collegiate season. The senior has one assist through three games and has been active with a team-high 10 shots on goal.

Louis Oct.-Dec. Louis Jan.-March
2013-14 16 GP, 4g, 4a, 8p 20 GP, 8g, 9a, 17p
2014-15 16 GP, 3g, 11a, 14p 21 GP, 6g, 16a, 22p
2015-16 16 GP, 3g, 7a, 10p 20 GP, 8g, 8a, 16p
2016-17 3 GP, 0g, 1a, 1p N/A
Total 51 GP, 10g, 23a, 33p 61 GP, 22g, 33a, 55p

KEEPING BALANCED: Several Miami skaters have already taken turns finding themselves in the scoresheet after the first three games. While Kiefer Sherwood and Louie Belpedio are tied for the team lead with three points, 11 different RedHawks have already managed to chip in at least one point with five recording two or more.

LIMITING ATTEMPTS: While Miami's 21.67 shots on goal per game ranks just 49th in the country, it has done a tremendous job limiting opposing scoring chances, especially the past two games. After being outshot 31-18 on opening night in Providence, the RedHawks have allowed a mere 45 shots on goal in their last two outings, giving up just two total goals after allowing four on opening night.

POWERING THROUGH: The RedHawks have enjoyed some steady production from the power play unit over their first three games, getting all six of their goals on the man advantage. Miami has netted at least one power play goal in each contest and sits ninth nationally with a 23.1 percent scoring rate.

`SHER'HANDED PROGRESSION: While it took a little while to get his feet wet, Kiefer Sherwood progressed well in his freshman season to become quite a weapon for the Red and White as the season wore on. After putting up just two points in his first 11 collegiate games, Sherwood caught fire the rest of the way. With a goal and two assists so far this season, he now has 11 goals and 19 points in his last 26 games dating back to last year.

NEW GOALIES? NO PROBLEM: Amidst the 14 freshmen on Miami's squad are three brand new goaltenders in Ryan Larkin, Andrew Masters and Chase Munroe. Inexperience in goal has not been a problem the last few recruiting cycles as Ryan McKay and Jay Williams helped Miami post the second-lowest goals against average in the country en route to a conference title in 2012-13 while Cody Reichard and Connor Knapp backstopped the Red and White to a berth in the 2009 national title game as freshmen. Jeff Zatkoff also played a big role in net as a freshman for the 2005-06 CCHA champion RedHawks. Larkin has performed well through his first three starts, posting a 1.96 goals against average and a .922 save percentage thus far.
McKay (2012-13): 13-7-2, 1.39 GAA, .946 SV%, 4 SO
Williams (2012-13): 12-5-3, 1.94 GAA, .924 SV%, 2 SO
Knapp (2008-09): 13-5-3, 2.09 GAA, .904 SV%, 2 SO
Reichard (2008-09): 10-8-2, 2.11 GAA, .914 SV%, 2 SO
Zatkoff (2005-06): 14-5-1, 2.02 GAA, .928 SV%, 3 SO

STARTS AT YOUR OWN END: The last few years have seen the RedHawks struggle keeping the puck out of their net consistently after they were known as one of the toughest teams to score on during their eight-straight NCAA Tournament appearances from 2005-13, where they finished in the top 10 in scoring defense seven times (top four six times) and led the nation in scoring defense in 2007-08 and 2009-10. The last three seasons, the highest the RedHawks have finished in that category is 29th. Miami has allowed just six goals in three games and sits eighth in scoring defense.
Season Scoring Defense
2005-06: 2nd (2.03)
2006-07: 17th (2.55)
2007-08: 1st (1.86)
2008-09: 8th (2.17)
2009-10: 1st (1.95)
2010-11: 4th (2.18)
2011-12: 3rd (2.10)
2012-13: 2nd (1.74)
2013-14: 41st (3.03)
2014-15: 31st (2.50)
2015-16: 29th (2.69)

SPECIAL KILL RATE: One aspect the RedHawks excelled at last year was their play when down a man. Miami allowed just 12 power play goals on their 132 penalty kill attempts. That 90.9 percent kill rate was the nation's second best figure, trailing only Yale's 94.4 clip. Things have started much the same this season as after allowing a power play goal on Providence's first power play on opening weekend, Miami has killed off the last 20 man advantages to post a 95.2 penalty kill rate through three games (t-4th).

HIGH EXPECTATIONS FROM THE TOP: With so many youngsters on this year's roster, it is imperative for Miami's returning core to set the tone while they get acclimated to college hockey. To that end, junior defenseman and team captain Louie Belpedio will be asked to anchor the RedHawks' defense in a way he showed as a freshman two years ago, when he finished +15 amidst an NCHC All-Rookie Team campaign. Belpedio posted 17 points and led the team with 11 power play points a year ago, but looks to get back to the positive side after last year's -14 rating. The Minnesota Wild draft pick was a Preseason All-NCHC selection entering the season and is tied for the team lead with three points (1g, 2a) through three games.

MELNICK DELIVERS: While much focus has been on the amount of fresh faces dotting the 2016-17 RedHawks, there is still a good amount of productive returners back in tow. One of those is sophomore forward Josh Melnick, who enjoyed a fine debut season a year ago. Melnick finished third on the team with 25 points on nine goals and 16 assists while his five multi-point games also ranked third on the team last year.

WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE!?: Fans are quickly trying to study up on the 2016-17 version of the RedHawks as over half of their roster (14 of 26 players) are freshmen with an additional six sophomores. While this is believed to be the largest freshman class head coach Enrico Blasi has ever pulled in, one need only look at how last year's large senior class performed in their first seasons. Entering the 2012-13 season with 12 freshmen, the RedHawks went 25-12-5 and won the Central Collegiate Hockey Association regular season title at 17-7-4 en route to their eighth-straight NCAA Tournament appearance and a berth in the Midwest Regional Finals.
December 29, 2010
Estero, Fla.
No. 6 RedHawks Down No. 9 Maine, 4-1, in Florida College Classic
Senior forward Andy Miele scored twice and junior forward Alden Hirschfeld had a goal and an assist to lead the sixth-ranked Miami hockey team to a dominating 4-1 victory over No. 9 Maine Wednesday night at Germain Arena in the opening round of the 11th annual Florida College Classic.