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Season Preview

College Hockey:
2001-02 Miami Season Preview

V

I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
Jason Deskins scoring
Or just after.

The RedHawks finished the 2000-01 season with a second-half record of 10-6-0, and still managed a slice of second place in the regular-season final standings. After securing home ice in the first round of the playoffs, Miami dropped two consecutive games to Bowling Green by identical 4-3 scores.

“Without making excuses,” says Enrico Blasi, “I think Bowling Green just outplayed us. They were ready … and we weren’t.”

The losses serve as motivation as this season begins, and — with a veteran squad returning — could motivate the RedHawks all the way to the top of league standings. “I know our guys have not forgotten,” Blasi says. “They understand that to get back to where they were a year ago, we’re going to need to be focused every night.”

And that focus, or lack thereof, was the RedHawks’ undoing in games they should have won, including those two first-round playoff matches.

Sweet Clarity

Blasi says that if there’s one thing he could improve upon from last year’s Miami effort, it would be consistency “not only from game to game, but within the game. I think if we can be consistent shift by shift, practice by practice, we’ll be in every game.

“We know that the CCHA is a tough league to play in and my expectations are that we’re coming ready to play every game. We’ll hopefully be able to build on what we were able to accomplish last year.”

The Unsinkable Jason Deskins

Jason Deskins (19-20-39) is, quite simply, one of the best forwards in the league. A “senior” last year, Deskins has earned the right to play another season because of his curtailed junior year, most of which he missed because of a torn ACL.

Blasi says that the RedHawks will depend on Deskins for leadership as well as scoring, as he captains his team and his nine-man senior class.

In addition to Deskins, Matt Chandler, Evan Cheverie, and Mike Glumac are all solid offensive threats, and Blasi expects big things from Derek Edwardson, who as a freshman last year was the fourth-leading scorer for Miami (26 points).

Blue Line Story

Miami’s defense allowed 2.84 goals per game on average during the 2000-01 season (sixth in the league), and the RedHawk penalty kill was fourth (.836) — nothing to write home about, but in the CCHA last season, more than just “not bad.”

Matt Medvecz, Bart Stevens, Pavel Nejezchelb, Ken Marsch, and Jake Ortmeyer return from last season, and Clarke Walford resumes his collegiate career after spending last season sidelined with a shoulder injury.

In short, the blue line is experienced. “Matt is our stay-at-home defenseman,” says Blasi. “His leadership and fine play will be qualities that help him lead our talented defensive unit.”

Behind that veteran corps is David Burleigh, who saw the lion’s share of work between the pipes and compiled a .896 save percentage and 2.76 goals-against average — good numbers, but (to borrow a word from Blasi) inconsistent. Backing him up will be David Bowen (.931 SV%, 2.24 GAA), who saw limited action last year.

A Game in Three Acts

If the RedHawk depth and maturity can counteract inconsistency, Miami will finish higher than expected.

“We had a good year and made a lot of strides on and off the ice,” says Blasi. “I look forward to the prospect of us taking the next step this coming season.”


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