Huskies Face the RedHawks in Frozen Faceoff Rematch

The Miami RedHawks celebrate their 3-2 win over the Huskies inntheir last meeting in the NCHC Frozen Faceoff (photo prout)

The Miami RedHawks celebrate their 3-2 win over the Huskies in their last meeting in the NCHC Frozen Faceoff (photo prout)

Flash back to March 21, 2015: The SCSU Huskies and Miami RedHawks are doing battle in the NCHC Frozen Faceoff Championship game at the Target Center in Minneapolis. It’s nearing the midway point of the second period and the Huskies lead by a 2-1 score fresh off a power play goal by Jonny Brodzinski. Suddenly, senior Blake Coleman does what seniors do – he puts the team on his back and scores twice in a span of two minutes to give the RedHawks a 3-2 advantage. After batting a puck out of the air past SCSU goaltender Charlie Lindgren in period one, he one-times a shot past Lindgren on the power play at 7:37 of period two and tips another past Lindgren at 9:20  for a hat trick and a 3-2 lead. With the damage done, Coleman nearly jeopardizes his offensive heroics with a major penalty at 14:12 of the second period which the Huskies fail to capitalize on. SCSU had three more unsuccessful man-advantage opportunities in period three as they yielded the championship game to Miami by a 3-2 final.

Certainly the cast of characters has changed since the last contest. Perennial scorers Austin Czarnick and Riley Barber are gone and so is championship game hero Blake Coleman. The three combined for 49 goals and  73 assists for 122 points in 2014-15. Add in others such as Cody Murphy and Alex Wideman and the RedHawks are missing 177 points from last years squad.  So, is it a work in progress?  Absolutely. However, the cupboard is not bare. Although the points are not there thus far this season, 6-2, 210 pound two-way senior forward and captain Sean Kuraly (6-0-1-1) leads the RedHawks charge into the 2015-16 season. With a roster including first round Winnipeg Jets draft choice Jack Roslovic (6-4-3-7) and Princeton de-commit Josh Melnick (6-2-3-5) they may have already found a duo that will make the transition from the Barber / Czarnick era a little easier. Throw in senior forward Alex Garcek and sophomore Louie Belpedio and you realize there is indeed depth at forward. Seniors Matthew Caito and Chris Joyaux provide stability and leadership back at the point and seniors Ryan McKay and Jay Williams provide experience and reliability at the goaltender position. McKay’s been very good thus far posting a 1.71 GAA and .935 SV %. As a team, they’ve had mixed results earning only a tie in a two-game series with Providence, a sweep of winless Ohio State and a split last weekend with ECAC opponent St. Lawrence.

The Huskies are fresh off a disappointing trip to Connecticut where they were swept by ECAC power Quinnipiac by scores of 5-2 and 4-1. After charging out to a two-goal first period lead on Friday the Huskies yielded 4 goals in a six-minute span in a disastrous second period and never recovered in the Friday loss. Saturday’s effort was there including a highly dominant second period outshooting the Bobcats 20-7 but once again, two goals in a four-minute span late in the first period by the Bobcats was too much to overcome with QU goaltender Michael Garteig stopping 42 shots on goal. With the senior forwards producing one assist on the weekend and the power play going 0/7 its fairly apparent where the team weakness was during the series. Additionally, the loss of senior captain, Ethan Prow (who did not make the trip due to injury) on the power play and as leader of a defensive corps skating three first-year players and a sophomore was obvious. On the bright side, sophomore Judd Peterson continues to put the puck in the net scoring twice on Friday for a team leading five goals. It was also encouraging to see the strong play out of the third line consisting of Ben Storm, Blake Winiecki and Daniel Tedesco on Saturday. They played with energy and grit and were rewarded with the only goal of the game for the Huskies. Charlie Lindgren found himself a victim at times of poor positional play  by his teammates, a solid Bobcat power play (2/4) and a tremendous offensive weekend by QU senior forward Travis St. Denis (4 goals).

Once again, it’ll be another tough matchup for the Huskies as they face a team that has won 20 games in 11 of the past 13 seasons and made the NCAA tourney ten times since 2003. Both teams will be looking to gain some consistency in their game as they enter NCHC conference play. Since 2007, the teams have faced each other 16 times with Miami carrying a 9-6-1 advantage. However, since 2013 the results are dead even at 5-5. The teams have played in nine one-goal games since 2007. With similar styles of play, expect  to see some fast-paced hockey this weekend with results consistent with the historical matchups. In other words, don’t be surprised to see a one-goal victory by either team each night. Once again, senior defenseman Ethan Prow will be out of the line-up for the Miami series.

Enjoy the games.

Bill Prout

 

 

 

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