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It's Time to Give Miami Their Due

Miami clinched the CCHA regular season last night with their 6-3 victory over Ohio State and since their incredible performance this season has been somewhat overlooked by me, I thought I'd take a closer look at why Miami has been so successful this season.

1. Super Sophs

Before the start of the season, I speculated that Miami could be a contender in the CCHA because their junior class of forwards led by Matt Christie, Marty Guerin, and Geoff Smith were now upperclassmen and ready to step up and be dominate in the league.

As it turned out, I had the right idea, just the wrong year. Christie and Guerin are scoring well below their career averages, but that slack has been more than picked up by the emergence of Miami's sophomore class of forwards. Nathan Davis had a good freshmen, but he has emerged as one of the most dangerous players in the CCHA. Ryan Jones,
who I said would be the key to Miami's season, has scored as many goals as he had points last season, and Nino Musitelli has gone from seeing infrequent icetime last year to becoming a solid contributor this year. Miami's sophomore class has made a huge improvement from last year, and is one of the key reasons they've been so successful this year.

2. Addition by Subratction

Having goalie Brandon Crawford-West leave the team last season may have been the best thing that could have happened for the RedHawks. Crawford-West had average statistics as a freshmen, but piled up a lot of wins thanks to a high-powered offense. Last year, his numbers were slightly better, but still nothing that impressive. His departure opened the door for the goaltending tandem of Charlie Effinger and Jeff Zatkoff. The duo is allowing almost .75 fewer goals per game and stopping over 2% more shots than Crawford-West did last season. Those numbers may not seem like a lot, but over the course of a season, they really add up.

3. Points from the Point

Miami's defenseman has been scoring points at an incredible rate this season. Everyone knows about defenseman Andy Greene, who is second in the team in scoring, but they've also picked up 24 assists from defenseman Mitch Ganzak, and 14 goals from defenseman Matt Davis, which is the most for a defenseman in all of college hockey. Miami may not be getting a lot of production from their top line, but the added goals they're getting from the blueline give them more scoring depth than most teams.