They’ve been spotted.
For the first time in a month, the Miami University hockey team is back in Oxford. Last year, they were ranked No. 1 at this time before being swept by Ferris State University. This year, they are coming back to the books and bricks following a Buckeye beat down. Head Coach Enrico Blasi’s team is no alien to adversity, and it’s looking to a thrash a former mentor on the home ice to heal quickly.
“A couple of years ago, we lost five in a row in the month of January and were able to pull ourselves out of it and make the Frozen Four, so no need to panic just yet,” Blasi said.
This time, it’s three in a row and the Brotherhood (11-8-3, 8-6-2-1 Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA)) hasn’t started gnawing on fingernails.
Steve Cady Arena will host two hockey games over the weekend, and 25 to 30 former RedHawks will be honored during the second intermission Saturday. The most notable nester will be the man peering through his glasses on the Bowling Green State University Falcons’ bench, Head Coach Chris Bergeron.
Blasi and Bergeron usually dial digits during the week before the game, but so far both men have been strictly strategizing.
“I haven’t talked to him this week,” Blasi said. “Usually we text back and forth, but he has work to do and so do I. I’m sure we will touch base here in a few days, and it’ll be nice to see him, but at the same time we are focused on what we need to do.”
The Falcons have only won twice in the CCHA, but after playing them close in November, ‘Hawks like senior forward Pat Cannone know Bergeron will have his men prepared.
“That (statistic) doesn’t mean anything,” Cannone said. “Any night anybody can beat anybody. They are coming in here pretty strong and tough to play against, so we just have to be ready and just try to play well in our building.”
In order to get offensive, the ‘Hawks will need to fix a power outage that had them shutout by the The Ohio State University Buckeyes for the first time this season.
Ranked No. 12 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll, the Red and White still have three players spotted in the top four in points scoring in the nation. Senior Carter Camper leads the list with 38 and is followed by Andy Miele (34) and Reilly Smith (27). Maybe more importantly, that trio tops the list of points in conference. The team leads the conference with a power play percentage of 22.7 percent.
“You know going into the season there are going to be ups and downs, and right now we are in a rut,” Cannone said. “You know it’s bound to happen at some point in the season, but it’s rough that it’s happening now when it’s coming down to the wire, but we just have to get back to where we were at the end of the year.”
The ‘Hawks and Falcons fly at 7:35 p.m. Friday and 7:05 p.m. Saturday.