March 18, 2011 PRINT Bookmark and Share

Hobey Duo Gives Miami Another Title Shot

Camper, Miele Put on Show at The Joe

by Stephen Nesbitt/CHN Reporter

DETROIT — Both standing below 5-foot-9, Miami seniors Andy Miele and Carter Camper aren’t much to look at.

But that’s okay with them. With their speed and scoring finesse, you might not see them — except in the scorebook. And they certainly haven’t gone unnoticed on the national stage.

Miele and Camper, the conference’s leading point-getters this season, were the only CCHA skaters named as Hobey Baker finalists on Thursday.

Then Friday, in the RedHawks’ 6-2 CCHA-semifinal victory over Notre Dame, the prolific forwards put on a show, dazzling the Joe Louis Arena crowd with a combined four-goal, three-assist performance.

“I would imagine it would be pretty hard (to defend us),” Miele said. “I’m sure other teams are thinking about not making mistakes, playing smart, getting the puck in deep. If teams make mistakes, that’s when we take advantage of it.”

And the senior duo pitched in in every way imaginable.

Just under five minutes into the opening period — and just 22 seconds into Miami’s first power play — Camper took a bouncing backhand feed from Miele and ripped a one-timer past Notre Dame goaltender Mike Johnson.

Miele to Camper, just like it’s been all year.

The goal, Camper’s 18th of the season, added to his conference-leading 27 points on the power play. The only man within striking distance is his partner, Miele.

Camper and Miele have paced the power-play attack all year, leading a RedHawk unit scoring on just over 24 percent of its man-advantage opportunities.

“I’m sure they had a little bit of jitters, they’re a young team and we’ve been in this position before and came out hard,” Miele said.

Midway through the period, with Miami leading 2-0, Miele set up junior forward Alden Hirschfeld for another power-play goal.

But they were just getting started.

When RedHawk defenseman Will Weber was sent to the box for holding with seven minutes remaining in the first period, Camper caused a turnover behind the Notre Dame net and flicked the puck behind Johnson for a shorthanded goal, extending the lead to four.

If there was any moral to the first period, it was that the best defense is a really, really dominant offense; the Fighting Irish had only two shots by the end of the frame.

“Obviously, it was a great performance by Miami,” Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson said. “They put us on our heels from the beginning and we didn’t recover.

“Their skill and speed forced us to turn a lot of pucks over, and you can’t do that against a team like that because they transition so well.”

After 20 minutes the game was nearly out of reach, but instead of coasting for another two periods, Miele led the charge to the buzzer.

Miele added to his nation-leading point total with a pair of goals in the final two frames, as well as earning Miami another power play after being dragged down from behind on a breakaway.

As time wound down on Notre Dame’s conference-title hopes, the difference between the squads was clear: Miami’s best players performed like their best players.

“Credit our captains, we’re a veteran team,” Miami coach Enrico Blasi said. “Every time during a timeout, we kept reminding each other (to not ease up.”

By the end of the night, Miele and Camper had bagged a healthy variety of goals, the hat trick of lamplighters — a power-play goal, a shorthanded goal, and an even-strength tally.

With Miami advancing to the CCHA Championship Saturday evening against the winner of Michigan and Western Michigan’s tilt, it will boast the most potent and prolific offensive juggernauts — significantly more than a handful for opposing defenses.

And for a team that hasn’t captured a single CCHA Tournament title, that’s all Miami fans could ask for.

They might not lack the height to ride your typical roller coasters, but Miele and Camper are giving the RedHawks the ride of their lives.

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