Weekend Preview: Miami v. Northern Michigan
Coming off last weekend’s sweep of Providence and Denver at the Denver Cup Classic, # 18 Miami (8-6-2, 4-4-2-1 CCHA) is again on the road as they travel to Marquette, Mich. to take on the Northern Michigan University Wildcats (5-6-3, 2-5-3-2 CCHA) in a two-game CCHA series.
Last weekend Miami concluded an unbeaten November (6-0-2) by claiming the second Denver Cup in school history defeating Providence and # 10 Denver by 6-2 and 4-2 scores, respectively. The RedHawks were led by junior forward Reilly Smith as he was named the most outstanding player in the tournament, freshman forward Austin Czarnik and senior goaltender Cody Reichard who played outstanding in Miami’s win over Denver on Saturday night. All three RedHawks were named to the all tournament team and all three were named CCHA players of the month for November capping quite a turnaround from October’s dismal 2-6 start.
While Miami enters on a roll, Northern Michigan comes into play having won their last game 2-1 over visiting Michigan State on November 19. However, that win snapped an eight-game winless streak and cost the Wildcats the services of three defensemen who all received DQ’s as a result of the “pleasantries” that occurred at the end of Saturday night’s contest. According to Matt Wellens of the Marquette Mining Journal, sophomore Wade Epp, junior Kyle Follmer and junior captain Scott Macaulay will all sit out Friday night’s game along with senior forward Andrew Cherniwchan who will miss the weekend due to injury. The Wildcats will dress just 17 skaters Friday and move several forwards back to defense to accommodate for their missing teammates.
Considering this, Miami needs to jump on NMU quickly on Friday and hope to carry momentum into Saturday night’s finale. The RedHawks really have no excuse to do any less than split in Marquette even though the RedHawks’ all-time record there is just 7-16-1. Miami has won the previous four in the series but still trails all-time 19-31-3 as the Wildcats beat up on Miami in the 80s as the program was in the early days of existence.
Though defensively hobbled on Friday, Miami must still find a way to beat senior netminder Reid Ellingson who has been outstanding this year with a 2.31 goals-against average and .925 save percentage. The Wildcats are led offensively by seniors Justin Florek (7-4-11) and Tyler Gron (6-3-9). The leading assist man on the team is junior defenseman Kyle Follmer with 1-8-9.
While I think we should sweep, I get the feeling we’ll split.
– Here is a link to the Miami game notes.
– Coverage from John Boyle of the Dayton Daily News.
– Coverage from Upper Michigan Source.