Saturday, March 23, 2013

Michigan Takes on Miami at the Joe

Round three of the CCHA Tournament pits the Wolverines against the #1-seeded Miami RedHawks. Miami edged out Notre Dame for the CCHA crown and currently sits tied for 3rd in the Pairwise. They come into this weekend 24-10-5 on the season but 10-7-2 away from home. They punched their ticket for the Joe by beating FYS in three games (0-3, 4-1, 4-1).

Miami is a team that won't overwhelm you offensively, but they do have some talent up front. They have both the CCHA MVP (Austin Czarnik--man, I guess we got the wrong one, eh?) and the CCHA Rookie of the Year (Riley Barber) playing forward for them. Barber led the team in scoring and was the top-scoring freshman in the nation with a 15-23--38 line. Czarnik has 14-22--36, though four of his goals were empty-netters (4 also came short-handed). Freshman defenseman Matthew Caito has chipped in with 5-15--20 on the season.

Overall, though, they rank just 38th nationally in offense at 2.54 goals per game. Like Western Michigan, however, they earn their wins on the defensive end. After a shaky week by Quinnipiac, the RedHawks now rank #1 nationally in team defense at 1.62 goals per game. Ryan McKay has taken the reigns in net after splitting time most of the year. He's made the last six starts. On the season he has an unbelievable 1.20 goals against average and .954 save percentage (tops in the nation in both categories).

He has only given up more than two goals on one occasion this season, that in a 3-3 tie against NMU back in January. He has lost 3 of his last seven starts, however. The fact that he's 12-5-2 despite almost never giving up more than 2 goals means that Miami's offense is prone to letting them down. They've been shut out on seven occasions this year, including three by a 1-0 final. They have scored 4+ in four of their last seven, however, keeping in mind that those were against LSSU, OSU, and FYS.

The teams split a pair of games at Yost during the first weekend of CCHA play. Michigan won 4-2 and then lost 4-3 the next night, behind three goals in a 2:41 span. McKay only saw 5 minutes of action, however. That was also so long ago and things have changed so much that I don't think you can take a whole lot from those games. Racine did play well between the pipes during the Friday night game. The goals he allowed were of the fluky variety.

Their PP is right about where you'd expect (36th). They're sixth on the PK at 88.2%, but they have scored 8 short-handed goals on the year (4 by Czarnik), which is second to only Bobby Mo's 9.

Game time is at 4:35 pm and the game will air on FSN Detroit +. If the Wolverines win, they'll take on the winner of Notre Dame/Ohio State with a tournament berth on the line.

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