You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

live video

LIVE: Attorney General Mike DeWine to make ‘special announcement’ at 3 p.m.

RedHawks set to face gritty Lakers

If Miami University’s hockey team is flat when it hits the ice Friday night, it might just get flattened.

The RedHawks are coming off an emotional weekend that culminated in the Hockey City Classic at Soldier Field in Chicago and now face a road series against a gritty Lake Superior State crew.

“A pretty good team that plays right in your face,” MU coach Enrico Blasi said. “If our guys have any emotional letdown, it’ll be gone in the first two minutes because they’re going to get hit.”

Miami, 19-8-5 overall and 14-6-4 in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association, is the league leader and has already clinched a first-round bye in the CCHA tournament. The Lakers (15-16-1, 10-13-1) are in seventh place and fighting for opening-round home ice.

Playing at home in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., is important to LSSU, which is 12-5 at Taffy Abel Arena this season.

“This is a tough building to play in,” Blasi said. “They’re as hard a working team as we’ve seen all year. Their compete level is really good.”

The teams squared off in Oxford in early December, with MU winning the opener 3-2 and Lake Superior taking the Saturday affair 1-0. The RedHawks had a 91-54 shot advantage in the series.

“Our goaltending was excellent and gave us a chance,” LSSU coach Jim Roque said. “And our power play was good that weekend, so that was huge.”

All three of the Lakers’ goals in that series were power-play tallies. Juniors Kevin Murdock (2.32 goals-allowed average, .934 save percentage) and Kevin Kapalka (2.94, .915) split time in goal, and Roque said he’ll likely use both keepers again this weekend. Blasi pointed out that they’re both left-handers.

Senior forwards Domenic Monardo (16 goals, 11 assists) and Nick McParland (six goals, 14 assists) are the top point men for LSSU. Roque said the team got a boost last weekend when junior forward Colin Campbell (shoulder surgery) notched an assist in his first action of the season.

“Campbell’s a big part of their team,” Blasi said. “They scored 15 seconds into the game against Alaska last Friday, and he was in the middle of it.”

Lake Superior swept the Alaska series 5-1 and 4-2. But the Lakers were 1-6-1 in their previous eight games.

“It’s funny, but we probably played better at Bowling Green two weeks ago,” Roque said. “Alaska looked a little tired. I think we caught them at a good time.”

Miami continues to lead the nation in team defense, giving up 1.50 goals per game. The RedHawks rank fourth nationally on the penalty kill.

“I like the way they play,” Roque said. “They’re in your face. They don’t sit back. They try to play with some tempo and speed. I’d like our team to play more like their team.

“I don’t think we’re as skilled as Miami, obviouisly. We have to play gritty, hard-nosed hockey. We want to forecheck. We want to create some turnovers. We don’t have a lot of great playmakers, but I think we can create some stuff with aggressive play.”

Freshman Riley Barber (12 goals, 19 assists) and sophomore Austin Czarnik (11 goals, 20 assists) pace the MU offense. Freshman Ryan McKay (1.06, .960) and classmate Jay Williams (1.78, .930) were splitting time in goal before McKay played both games last weekend.

Blasi declined to reveal this week’s plan between the pipes.

“Stay tuned,” he said. “We have talked about getting Jay back in there in the next four games. I think it’s important that he plays some to make sure he’s ready to go if something happens down the road.”

The RedHawks are 8-7-2 away from Steve Cady Arena this year, 7-5-2 in road games and 1-2 on neutral ice.

“I think we’ve put ourselves in a pretty good situation in the league,” Blasi said. “I don’t think anybody would’ve thought that we’d be in first place with two weekends left, and here we are. So let’s just go play.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

Q&A with Wright State coach Scott Nagy
Q&A with Wright State coach Scott Nagy

At this time last year, Scott Nagy was two months into his tenure as Wright State basketball coach and still looking for a house and a staff of assistants. And while he’s enjoying more stability and comfort on those fronts, this is another offseason of change with the Raiders dealing with the unexpected loss of two key players in Ryan Custer...
Clutch hits elude Dragons in loss to Captains
Clutch hits elude Dragons in loss to Captains

Jose Siri’s bat continues to sizzle, but the rest of the Dayton Dragons’ lineup couldn’t come up with that clutch base hit Saturday night. Dayton lost 6-2 to the Lake County Captains at Fifth Third Field in front of an announced crowd of 8,440. Dayton fell to 42-31 overall and 1-2 in the second-half Midwest League season. A Lake County...
Hartsock: Better luck next time for Bailey
Hartsock: Better luck next time for Bailey

I’m not sure what’s more frustrating for Reds fans — Homer Bailey’s 2017 debut or knowing that he’s still under contract the next two years to the tune of $44 million. The veteran right-hander sure didn’t look like the guy who breezed through three rehab starts, including one in Dayton. Of course those were against...
Blue Jackets draft Miami RedHawk, Columbus native in NHL draft
Blue Jackets draft Miami RedHawk, Columbus native in NHL draft

The Columbus Blue Jackets selected Miami University men’s hockey standout Carson Meyer with their second  pick in the  sixth round of his weekend’s NHL draft. An excited Meyer tweeted about the pick on his personal Twitter account, including a photo of himself in his Blue Jackets junior team uniform. Meyer was raised in Columbus...
Michael Jordan fan has crying LeBron James tattooed on leg
Michael Jordan fan has crying LeBron James tattooed on leg

Kalen Gilleese concedes that LeBron James is one of pro basketball’s greatest players, but he still believes that the Cleveland Cavaliers’ star is not in the class of Hall of Famer Michael Jordan, his favorite player. >> Read more trending news So after the Cavs were beaten in the NBA Finals by the Golden State Warriors, Gilleese...
More Stories