"To be honest, I could be a lot better,"
Davis said with a twinge of guilt. "My first thought
when I'm out there is, 'How can I turn this into offense?'
I get away with it a lot of the time, but I rely on the
guys I kill with quite a bit. They really cover for me."
So Davis is concerned with finding an opportunity
to leak out of the zone more than throwing his body in front
of a slap shot at the point. The idea might make coaches
recoil in horror, but Davis has had enough offensive success
on the PK that there won't be any complaints in Oxford.
Davis has three shorties among his nine goals and nation-leading
21 points this season, and he had a hand in all seven of
the RedHawks' goals in a split with Northern Michigan last
Miami's penalty kill is aggressive by nature,
with hard forechecking and pressure at the points the main
components of the system. Davis has thrived all over the
ice, getting some of his SHGs off of hard forechecks by
longtime linemate and kill partner Ryan Jones, getting some
by stripping an opponent at the point and going on a breakaway,
and some off of home-run passes by teammate who know what's
on Davis' mind.
"It's all part of the system," Davis
said. "It's a feel thing. If, within the system, you
can trust that the other three guys are where they need
to be, you can look to cheat up.
"Without giving away too much, sometimes
you know what the other forward is going to do and I can
take off and look for a breakaway pass."
Davis, who missed Tuesday's practice with
the flu but should be good to go this weekend, credits assistant
coaches Jeff Blashill and Chris Bergeron for coming up with
the "well-designed" penalty-killing system, and
he credits his teammates for being smart enough and hard-working
enough to execute it. Davis said he also watches tape of
opponents' power plays to get a feel for how they move the
It all adds up to nine short-handed goals,
breaking the Miami record held by current Flyer Randy Robitaille.
"Any offense you can have on the penalty
kill will frustrate teams a little bit," Davis said.
"I know if I'm on the power play and the other team
has the puck in our end, it's incredibly frustrating. It
takes a lot of work, but it's worth it to take out a team's
SEEN AND HEARD IN THE CCHA
Laker playmaker: Davis and
the RedHawks will travel to Lake Superior State this weekend
for a pair of games against another hot scorer with a familiar
first name, Lakers rookie Nathan Perkovich. The freshman
had his six-game goal-scoring streak stopped Saturday at
Bowling Green, but he still leads the team with six markers.
The big-bodied net crasher from Canton, Mich.,
is an example of the offense-minded players coach Jim Roque
has started luring to campus.
"He's a good skater for his size,"
Roque said of the 6-foot-5 Devils draft pick. "He uses
his reach to get to pucks that maybe a 5-foot-11 player
wouldn't be able to get to. The puck comes off the goalie
and he can get to it and put it in. He likes to play in
front of the net and score goals. He's a good shooter. I
think all of his goals have come from about 10 to 15 feet
But don't expect to see Perkovich and Davis
matched up very often this weekend. Roque plans to take
advantage of the last change to gain favorable matchups
against Davis. A good bet is that Davis will see a lot of
LSSU's senior line of Dan Eves, Jeff Rainville and Derek
Systemic solutions: Ohio
State coach John Markell hopes less is more for his Buckeyes.
After a decisive sweep at the hands of Minnesota last month,
Markell stashed the more complex defensive scheme he hoped
to implement this season and reverted to the system the
team had used previously.
After giving up 20 goals in the first four
games, OSU has given up just nine in the four dates since
the switch, leaving Markell with no plans to shake things
"We had too many guys who had played
under the old system, and they fell back into it,"
Markell said. "We decided it would be better to protect
our young goalies and go back to the old way. You can't
have guys coming through the middle all night, so we're
back to covering the weakside winger through the neutral
zone, and we hope to execute it even better."
The tightened defense hasn't done much for
OSU in the standings, however, as the Buckeye offense seems
stuck in the same malaise as last season. It should be buoyed
by the return of Tommy Goebel, who has four goals in four
games, sandwiched around a four-plus-game hiatus with an
upper-body contusion. Tom Fritsche (ulcerative colitis)
also could be coming to the rescue, as Markell said a January
return by the team's top player isn't out of the question.
This week, the Buckeyes face Western Michigan.
The Thursday game is at Value City Arena, but the Friday
contest will be at the Ohio State Fairgrounds, where the
Buckeyes haven't played since 1997-98. OSU's men's basketball
team is using the VCA for the Black Coaches Association
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
Great Weekend Getaway
at Lake Superior State
LSSU freshman defenseman Ryan Baird has been cleared
to play for the first time this year after a preseason
shoulder injury, which should help a Lakers defensive
corps that found itself short-handed at Bowling Green.
This is only Miami's second venture away from the
luxurious Steve Cady Arena this season, but it's only
Lake State's second weekend at home. It will be interesting
to see who adjusts quickest.
While you’re there: If you're
inclined to skip the opener, Friday is the 31st anniversary
of the Edmund Fitzgerald maritime disaster, and the
Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum's annual memorial service
will be at 7 p.m. in Whitefish Point, about an hour west of the Soo. The public is welcome,
but seating is limited.
State sports information director Leann Parker,
who would be on the all-CCHA SID team if there were
one, gave birth to her first child, Devin Parker,
on Oct. 28. Mommy and baby are home, doing fine and
ready for a few months off before returning to Value
City Arena (Leann, that is).
away the whistle this week. Good job, everyone!
• Check out Campus
Cribs, Miami hockey style, on SI.com. The best
part of the house shared by Davis, Brad Robbins and Charley
Fetzer? Tough call between the bottle-cap table, hockey-stick
mailbox and life's supply of Jif peanut butter.
• Michigan coach Red Berenson's son
Gordie, 41, suffered a closed-head injury in an ATV accident
near his Michigan home on Sunday. The Livingston Daily
Press & Argus reported that the younger Berenson
was found lying in a ravine 20-30 feet below the road by
a jogger. A cause has yet to be determined. Berenson said
in a release that Gordie had surgery, and his "improvement
has been dramatic. ... We are confident that he will make
a complete recovery."
• Michigan State has rotated an impressive
number of forwards through its third and fourth lines this
season. Asked whether he was close to settling on forwards
Nos. 7 through 12, coach Rick Comley deadpanned, "We're
still working on seven through nine." Comley said there's
not much difference between the nine forwards who aren't
on MSU's top two lines, and all deserve to play at this
stage of the season.
• More Sparty shorts: The crowd of 7,042
at Munn Ice Arena for Friday's win over Michigan was the
fourth-biggest in building history. And it was a good sign,
given the attendance slide in East Lansing the last few
years. ... Among those in the rink was Red Wings legend
Steve Yzerman, whom cameras captured sitting next to MSU
athletic director Ron Mason. Perhaps Stevie Y is being courted
to replace John L. Smith.
• Alaska freshman forward Dion Knelson,
obviously cursed by his prominence in last week's notebook,
was hurt on a shoulder-to-shoulder hit in last Thursday's
practice in Omaha. He sat out the series against UNO and
is not expected to play at Northern Michigan. He is considered
week-to-week, and with the Nanooks having a bye next weekend,
the LSSU series on Nov. 24-25 looks like a solid bet for
a return. ... Knelson's absence didn't hinder usual linemate
Kyle Greentree at UNO, however. Greentree netted a hat trick
in the first period of the series, then added a goal and
three assists over the last five stanzas for a seven-point
weekend in the heartland.
• Michigan and Nebraska-Omaha square
off this weekend in Ann Arbor, and the series features the
top two active players in the country in terms of career
points. U-M's Hensick is No. 1 with 169 (including a category-leading
113 assists), and UNO's Scott Parse is No. 2 with 157 (including
a category-leading 59 goals).
• Two freshman netminders got votes
of confidence last week, as Northern Michigan's Brian Stewart
earned his first career start and beat Miami on the road,
and Western Michigan's Riley Gill started the Broncos' only
game of the weekend and shut out Wayne State. Stewart had
a strained groin that kept him out of the first month of
the season, putting the load on junior Bill Zaniboni. Gill,
who has won both of his starts at WMU, seems to be working
his way into a rotation with incumbent Daniel Bellissimo.
• No nonconference action this weekend.
Thanks to the Broncos, the CCHA went 1-0 out of the league
• Credit LSSU defenseman Justin Gutwald
for being ready at a moment's notice. When regular blue
liners Marty Gurnoe and Steven Kaunisto got sick on the
bus to Bowling Green last week, Roque was left with only
four defensemen. So he called Gutwald, who was not slated
to make the trip, and had him drive down separately to play
Friday night's game. Roque didn't take a seventh defenseman
to BG, thinking that if one got hurt Friday, he would play
Saturday with five D. When two went down, he had to summon
Gutwald just to have five. Both Gurnoe and Kaunisto returned
to the lineup Saturday.
A variety of sources were utilized in
the compilation of this report