OXFORD —Miami’s hockey team aims to continue its winning ways of late when it resumes NCHC play at home against St. Cloud State this weekend.
The two teams were scheduled to play Friday at 7:35 p.m. and again Saturday at 7:05 p.m.
THE SERIES: The RedHawks lead the Huskies 14-10-2 in the all-time series, though SCSU has claimed five of the last seven meetings over the past two seasons.
• Anthony Louis has put up at least one point in 14 of his last 16 games and leads the team with 21 points (10g, 11a) this season.
• Louis now has 108 career points (43rd all-time), one behind Brian Savage and three points away from John Malloy on the school’s all-time scoring list.
• After recording just one multi-point game last season, Kiefer Sherwood has a team-high eight this year and has already passed last year’s total of 18 points. Sherwood has 19 goals and 36 points in his last 41 games dating back to midway through last season.
• Carson Meyer enters the weekend on a five-game point streak (3g, 3a) after missing four games prior to December.
• Miami’s next win will be the program’s 700th all-time victory. The Red and White are 699-670-119 in their history.
• RedHawk defensemen have posted a combined 26 points (10g, 16a) this season. Scott Dornbrock’s seven points (3g, 4a) lead the unit while Louie Belpedio (3g, 3a) and Grant Hutton (4g, 2a) have six points apiece.
• Miami skaters have combined to post 30 multi-point games in 18 contests this year after having just 39 in 36 games last season. MU’s six multi-goal performances are already more than its two a year ago.
LAST TIME OUT
The RedHawks extended their unbeaten streak to three games with their second-straight third period comeback on New Year’s Eve, topping the then-No. 9/10 Ohio State Buckeyes in Columbus. OSU scored nine seconds after the opening faceoff and took a 2-0 lead just 9:17 into the contest in MU’s first game in 21 days. Josh Melnick got the team on the board with 4.5 seconds left in the first period before Carson Meyer evened the score at 2-2 1:57 into the second. Miami still trailed 3-2 after 40 minutes before erupting for four third period goals. Gordie Green evened the score on the power play and Kiefer Sherwood scored twice in 53 seconds to put the team in front before Scott Dornbrock’s empty netter sealed it.
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 371-256-65 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 St. CLOUD STATE: The Huskies enter the weekend with a 9-8-1 overall mark while their 13 points in NCHC play (4-5-1-0) put them at fourth in the league standings. After leading the nation in scoring a year ago, SCSU sits 13th in scoring offense, averaging a still potent 3.39 goals per game. Mikey Eyssimont’s 16 points (9g, 7a) lead the Huskies as they have eight skaters with 10 or more points. SCSU is allowing 3.17 goals per game with Zach Driscoll (3.13 GAA/.889 save%) and Jeff Smith (2.97 GAA/.890 save%) sharing duties in goal.
COMEBACK KIDS: Miami’s last two victories during its current three-game unbeaten have featured third period comeback efforts. Trailing Colorado College 2-0 on Dec. 10, MU rallied for a 3-2 overtime win and on Dec. 31 it used a four-goal third period to erase a 3-2 deficit in a 6-3 win at No. 9/10 Ohio State. Such performances have been historically rare for the Red and White as this is the first season they have won more than one game when trailing after two periods since they did it four times in the 2007-08 campaign (Nov. 3, 2007 at Northern Michigan, Dec. 15, 2007 at RPI, Dec. 29, 2007 vs. St. Cloud State and March 29, 2008 vs. Air Force).
BREAKOUT PERFORMANCES: A part of Miami’s scoring problems a year ago were tied to a lack of big individual performances within its games. In 36 games in 2015-16, MU combined for just 39 multi-point games with only two multi-goal performances. That has not been the case this year as RedHawk skaters have notched 30 multi-point and six multi-goal games in 18 games this year. Kiefer Sherwood leads the Red and White with eight such performances after recording just one multi-point game last year.
SHOPPING AT MEYER: In his first half season on campus, Carson Meyer has already taken his scoring touch to the college game. The Powell, Ohio native is third on the team with 16 points (5g, 11a) in just 14 games. Meyer has notched four multi-point games and posted at least one point in 11 of his 14 outings and is riding a five-game point streak since missing four games in November.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER: Senior forward Anthony Louis has shown tremendous offensive ability to post 108 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 he has already enjoyed the best first half of a season in his Miami career. The senior has posted at least one point in 14 of his last 16 games and leads the team with 21 points (10g, 11a).
CLIMBING THE LADDER: Anthony Louis joined Miami’s 100-point club on Nov. 11 amidst a three-point night against Omaha. The senior forward is beginning to climb up the program’s scoring charts as his 108 points are tied with Craig Fisher for 43rd in program history, one behind Brian Savage and three shy of John Malloy.
THE 700 CLUB: As a tribute to its longevity and winning ways in recent years, the Miami hockey program is in range of a milestone win. The RedHawks’ next victory will be their 700th as a varsity sport. Entering this weekend, Miami holds an all-time record of 699-670-119.
KEEPING BUSY: The RedHawks relied heavily on freshman goaltender Ryan Larkin in net during the first half of the season and he has responded with solid play. Larkin has started 16 of Miami’s 18 games in the crease and owns a 2.61 goals against average along with a .910 save percentage. Some of his highlights include a 33-save shutout against Maine on Oct. 22 and a 49-save performance in a 2-2 tie at then-No. 1 Denver on Nov. 19, the most saves a Miami goalie has made since Connor Knapp stopped 55 shots in a 3-2 double overtime win over Michigan in the NCAA Midwest Regional Final on March 28, 2010.
`SHER’HANDED PROGRESSION: While it took some time 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 has taken a step forward that has continued this year. With nine goals and 11 assists this season, he has passed last year’s total with 20 points and now has 19 goals and 36 points in his last 41 games dating back to last year.
HEATING UP: Sophomore forward Josh Melnick has been a steady producer since arriving a year ago. While Melnick ranks fourth on the team with 14 points, he has begun to heat up of late, posting nine points in his last nine games with all three of his multi-point games this season coming during that span.
GOTTA GROW UP: With over half of its roster comprised of freshmen, the team will likely progress as much as the newcomers do. With that in mind, the 10 Red and White freshman skaters to suit up in a game this year have combined to tally 40 points (10g, 30a), though that figure drops to just 24 (5g, 19a) when you take out Carson Meyer’s 14. Ryan Larkin and Chase Munroe have tended the Miami net and look to improve on the team’s collective .900 save percentage.
OFFENSIVE BLUE LINE: Miami’s offense has very much been a five-man unit working together thus far and that of course extends to the defensemen. Three Miami defensemen have notched at least six points with Scott Dornbrock’s seven (3g, 4a) leading the way while Louie Belpedio (3g, 3a) and Grant Hutton (4g, 2a) are tied with six points apiece.
SCORING BREAKDOWN: Several Miami skaters have already taken turns finding themselves in the scoresheet. Anthony Louis (21 pts), Kiefer Sherwood (20), Carson Meyer (16) and Josh Melnick (14) all have double digit points while 19 different RedHawks have managed to chip in at least one point with 17 recording two or more.
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. This season, Miami has allowed 52 goals, ranking 31st in scoring defense.