No. 17 Miami University will host No. 19 Northern Michigan University (NMU) this weekend, with the Red and White looking for redemption.
“We want to get back at Northern Michigan after they swept us and embarrassed us,” junior tri-captain Reilly Smith said. “We need a sweep this weekend to keep the ball rolling. We are going for two wins and won’t be happy with any other outcome.”
The RedHawks have rebounded by going 6-2 since being swept by NMU Dec. 2 and 3.
“That was two months ago; a lot has changed since then and we are a different team,” Head Coach Enrico Blasi said. “We are just focused on how we are playing right now.”
After sweeping the series with Western Michigan University, the RedHawks jumped from No. 5 in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) up to No. 2, only two points behind first place Ohio State.
“If we don’t win, we can drop down to ninth,” Blasi said. “We just have to stay focused on playing one game at a time.”
The RedHawks enter the weekend series ranked No. 17 in the USCHO.com poll and tied for second place in the CCHA. The Wildcats are No. 19, but are ninth the CCHA standings.
The RedHawks record stands at 14-10-2 overall and 10-8-2-1 in the CCHA. NMU enters the series at 11-8-5 overall and 6-7-5-2 in CCHA play.
“They are a good team,” senior goaltender Connor Knapp said. “They handed it to us when we went out there, but we have been a different team in the second half. We have a lot of momentum and are running on all cylinders.”
The RedHawks are currently tied for 14th in the PairWise rankings, which reflect the selections of the NCAA tournament. Northern Michigan is currently tied for sixth in the rankings. Sixteen teams are ultimately selected for the NCAA tournament in March.
RedHawk players took home several awards after sweeping Western Michigan last weekend.
Smith won both CCHA Player of the Week, as well as Inside College Hockey (INCH) National Player of the Week. This is the first time Smith has won the INCH award and the second time a Miami player has won the award this year.
Smith has now won CCHA Player of the Week three times this year, which leads all CCHA players. He now has five career CCHA Player of the Week awards.
Knapp won the INCH Player of the Week award two weeks ago.
Knapp and freshman forward Austin Czarnik also won CCHA awards this week. Knapp won Goaltender of the Week while Czarnik won Rookie of the Week.
Knapp now has two career Goalie of the Week awards, both coming this year. Czarnik has won Rookie of the Week three times this year, which leads the CCHA.
RedHawk players have now won a CCHA weekly award a league high 12 times.
Puck drop is set for 7:35 p.m. Friday and at 7:05 p.m. Saturday at the Goggin Ice Center. Fans can listen to the game on Miami’s IMG Sports Network or online at www.redhawkradio.com.