CCHA, JLA, MIA
It was the CCHA at the JLA and MIA came out on top. The Miami Redhawks captured their first ever Mason Cup Central Collegiate Hockey Association Championship with a 5-2 win over the Western Michigan Broncos yesterday at Joe Louis Arena. The Redhawks outshot Western 25-16 for the game and exploded for 3 goals in the third period to snap a 2-2 tie to secure the championship.
Miami beat the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 6-2 on Friday to advance to the finals, and Western Michigan upset the defending CCHA champs, the Michigan Wolverines, 5-2 to get to their second final appearance.
Being at both games was a thrill, except the 3rd place game between the Irish and Wolverines seemed to lack any spark. You could clearly tell that both teams were worn out. Notre Dame opened the scoring as Red Wings' prospect Riley Sheahan shoveled a backhand past Shawn Hunwick in the first period. Michigan scored three straight goals from there on to secure third place for the Wolverines.
In the finals, the Redhawks were the bigger and better team. They had tremendous puck possession when compared to Western, Michigan and Notre Dame. It helps that Their biggest player, Ducks' draft pick Justin Vaive, was hitting everything that moved and had about 5 big hits.
The most impressive player on the ice was Miami's Andy Miele, a five foot eight senior forward that has great hands and exceptional vision. Miele had 24 goals and 47 assists for 71 points in only 38 games played this year. As a senior he is 22 years old, meaning he was passed over in his draft year, and this is plainly because of his size. If I was an NHL GM I would sign this guy just because of his upside. I'm surprised no one has yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if he signs after his college year is up. Here's some video of him creating his own goal yesterday:
ALL TOURNAMENT TEAM:
F - Andy Miele (MIA)
F - Rielly Smith (MIA)
F - Dane Walters (WMU)
D - Will Weber (MIA)
D - Danny DeKeyser (WMU)
G - Cody Reichard (MIA)
Other than the hockey, there was a lot at the Joe that really entertained us, and most of it was caused by the bands and student sections for all four schools. There's some memorable chants/chirps that made us laugh:
1. Team gets a penalty, fans start waving at the players until he gets to the penalty box and then collectively yell "See ya!"
2. After a goal, the fans hold up fingers for however many goals they have until the goal is announced and then let the goalie know he let one in: "We want more goals! Sieve Sieve Sieve Sieve Sieve! It's all your fault! It's all your fault It's all your fault It's all your fault! You just suck! You just suck! You just suck!"
3. "THIS...IS...THE.... (commentator says last minute of play in this period).....Thank youuuu!" And the last goal of the tournament he actually said "You're welcome!"
4. Michigan fans to Western Michigan fans: "We are Smarter!" Western responds: "You just pay more!"
5. Western fans turn around and look the other way while Miami's players were introduced. I remember one year that when they were announced the crowd would yell, "Who cares!"
Overall it was a memorable experience to see some prospects that will most likely be in the NHL in a few years and we will probably be back there again next year!