Thirsty for the victory that eluded them against Lake Superior State University Saturday, the Miami University RedHawks will take the ice in Big Rapids, Mich. to face off against the Ferris State University Bulldogs. Even though the ‘Hawks won in the shootout Saturday, it is recorded as a tie, leaving Miami tied for first in the conference with the University of Notre Dame (both teams with 3-0-1 conference records).
“I think it’s disappointing,” senior Captain Carter Camper said. “I mean, when you start the season you want to win every game. We weren’t able to complete the sweep, so we’ll regroup and get better this weekend.”
The Bulldogs, a team that prides itself on defense, will challenge Miami’s offense, requiring continued production from Camper and his linemates Andy Miele and Reilly Smith.
“They’re always a hardworking team,” Miele said. “You’re always going to get their best, so we expect that from them, and they’re good defensively.”
The ‘Hawks’ top line has had no shortage of goals this year, including a nation-leading nine from Camper. Camper has accumulated 22 points in eight games and was recognized as both CCHA Player of the Month and National Player of the Month in October. Miele has been topping the charts in nationwide scoring as well, standing second in the country behind Camper, with 17 points this season.
“We’re just trying to stay even keel, we’re not trying to get ahead of ourselves,” Miele said of his line. “We’ve got a good connection, so we just hope to keep going with that.”
With a combined 50 points from the first line alone, Smith is content.
“It seems like everything is working out perfectly for us right now, so we’re just trying to do anything not to jinx it,” Smith said.
Camper said the ‘Hawks are going to have to play “a simple game” against the Bulldogs, drawing on their strengths as a team.
“They clog the front of the net, so we’re going to have to use our points, our defensemen and be ready for rebounds in front of the net and to the sides of the net,” Camper said.
The Red and White retained their national No. 1 ranking for the second week in a row, despite Saturday’s tie. Additionally, with the loss of defenseman Will Weber to injury, Miami has relied on the rest of the defensive core to play at their highest level, which will prove to be critical for the ‘Hawks in the upcoming series.
Associate Coach Brent Brekke noted the difficulty of losing Weber, who was last year’s CCHA Defensive Player of the Year.
“He’s a tenacious kid and one of our top defenseman,” Brekke said. “To not have him in the lineup has been a little bit of a change. Other guys have had to step to the forefront and play some more crucial minutes and play some of the better skilled guys for the other teams.” The RedHawks look to add two more CCHA wins to their record as they take on the Bulldogs at 7:05 p.m. Nov. 5 and 6.