RedHawks Headed to CCHA Championship Game After Overtime Victory Against Notre Dame

It took just over six minutes of overtime for a winner to be determined in the CCHA semi-final game between Miami and Notre Dame, but the RedHawks persevered and came out of the contest with a 2-1 victory.In easily the most exciting finish of the season for the Red and White, senior defenseman Mitch Ganzak put a shot through a crowd in front of CCHA Goaltender of the Year, Jordan Pearce, and into the back of the net with only 3.4 seconds remaining in regulation, sending the game into overtime. The tally was Ganzak’s 100th career point, making him the 41st member of Miami’s Century Club, and only the fifth defenseman in school history to reach that mark.

Link to the original site

Rico’s Restaurante Draws Record Crowd

The annual Rico’s Restaurante was held on Wednesday, January 9, 2008. Attendance at this popular event was double the previous record. Last year 125 people attended the evening and enjoyed dinner while being served by the players in the cafeteria style line. This year over 230 people attended.  The cost is very reasonable as adults paid $5.00 and children $3.00. Attendees were greeted at the entrance by maitre d’ Kevin Roeder, who appeared to be running for President of the United States as he worked the crowd like a master. Coach Rico Blasi also passed through the crowd to personally greet almost every attendee.

Dinner included pizza, wings, salad, and the very popular “wok line”. The players served up the food. At the wok line, the players actually cooked your selected meal in a wok. You could choose between beef, chicken or shrimp and add all the fixins and veggies you wanted, served with an egg roll and rice. Alec Martinez, Jeff Zatkoff, Mitch Ganzak and Brandon Smith were excellent chefs! Dessert included cherries jubilee (cooked and dished up by the self proclaimed best looking group of players, which included Charlie Effinger and Ray Eichenlaub), cookies (although it appeared Ryan Jones may have eaten many of them) and smoothies. A fine meal for just $5.00.

As usual, the freshmen players were relegated to “back office” functions, such as cleaning pots, pans and dishes. Whenever a freshman came out of the kitchen the other players started hollering and shouting to draw attention to them.

All attendees seemed to enjoy themselves, including the approximately 35 children.  It was great to see the players up close and chat with them as you were in line. All in all, it was a great evening for all.

If you missed this, make sure to get to the next one in January 2009.

Most Memorable Game

The Blue Line Club hosted a Q&A Dinner with Coach Rico Blasi recently. The dinner and desert were great, but the real desert came in the Q&A session.  About 70 BLC members attended. Nick Petraglia put together a highlight video that showed many goals, saves, and big hits. The Q&A session lasted over an hour. Rico provided interesting and sometimes funny answers. I left with a better insight into Rico and the team. You learned about why one of the hockey houses is stringing massive amounts of Christmas lights. You learned the team has a grade point average over 3.00. You learned that our athletes are good students and, more importantly, good people. It was fun evening.

As the questions were asked, it got me thinking about my most memorable Miami hockey game. Do you have one? It’s that one game that sticks out in your mind every time someone brings up something that reminds you of it. You can see the crowd, maybe remember faces, smells, sounds. Do you have one? I do.

I asked Coach Blasi at the Blue Line Club Q&A Dinner what his most memorable game was as a player. He had two. One of them was also my most memorable.

There are several others I will always remember. In recent years I have burned in my memory the sweep over Michigan at home 2 years ago, when we last won the CCHA title. We absolutely dominated mighty Michigan in both games and it set us up for the run to the title. The atmosphere both nights was electric, an atmosphere I hadn’t seen since my most memorable game.

I also remember the game on Valentine’s night against Ohio State when we clinched the CCHA title. That was quite a night.  You can relive the last minute or so, on the bench at this link:

And then there’s one that same year: that wild 22 seconds at the end of the Western Michigan game. The one where we scored 2 goals to squeak out a win. You can relive that and Diamond Dave’s call at this link:

The game that is my most memorable was against Michigan in February, 1993. I first started going to Miami hockey games in early January 1993. Someone at work gave me a coupon to take the whole family to a game for $5.00. Growing up in Dayton, my high school was very close to Hara Arena. We always went to the Gems’ games. The hockey wasn’t superb, but they liked to fight. It was fun. I thought college hockey was probably lower quality than the Gems, but for 5 bucks, I thought, “what the heck”.

We went to a Saturday night game against Lake Superior State. The 2 teams had tied 7-7  the night before in an apparent wild finish where LSSU scored 3 late goals to tie. In the Saturday game, Miami won 4-1. The game and action were great and I was hooked. The quality of play was a much higher level than I had seen in Gems’ games. I bought general admission tickets for games the rest of the season. I managed to get 4 for the Michigan game on a Saturday night. In those days, each team played 3 games against the other teams. You would play 2 at home and 1 on the road or vice versa. Michigan had played at Ohio State on Friday night. They came in on Saturday with Miami and Michigan in a dogfight for the CCHA title. The winner would have the inside track to win it.

We got to the Goggin long before the gates opened. Since I had GA tickets, I had learned from earlier games that if you wanted a seat, you had to be there early.  So we got there about 3:00 for the 7:30 game. We were about 20th in line and near to the doors of the Goggin. The crowd kept building. By 6:00 it was up the walk from the Goggin  to High Street, up High Street to Talwanda and was going north down Talwanda. The Goggin in those days was allowed to have 3050. That night the announced crowd was 3050. But it was so packed. I heard later there may have been closer to 4,000 in the building and they supposedly turned away over 1000. The game was tight. Michigan had come back to tie the game with about 5 minutes left. Regulation finished in a tie. The game went overtime and early in, Jason Mallon scored to win. The place went absolutely crazy.  I will never forget it.

Rico stated that this game was also his most memorable, but that a close second was the last regular season game that season. Miami went into the last weekend needing to get 2 points to clinch, if Michigan won out.  It was a split road trip, Friday night at Ferris State and Saturday night at Lake Superior. Miami tied Ferris State 1-1 to get one of the 2 points. On Saturday at LSSU, Rico stated the game was high scoring and both teams took the lead and fell behind. Rico said that Brian Savage scored a goal late in regulation and the team held on for the tie in OT, 6-6. That 1 point gave Miami the 92-93 CCHA title.

Memories…Great when they happen and great to relive in your mind. Come to the next BLC Q&A Dinner with Coach Blasi and relive some of your memories. The next dinner will be on February 20, 2008, just before the Western Michigan series. You can stop by the Blue Line Club Membership Booth on the east concourse at any game and make your reservation. Cost is $15.00 per person. This event is for BLC members only.

If you missed the first one, I encourage you to get to the next one. Come and enjoy the dinner, but remember, besides the cheesecake, the real desert is the Q&A session.