Weekend Preview: Miami at Michigan
As the RedHawks head to Ann Arbor this weekend, they’ll have memories of recent series against Michigan in their minds. 5 of 6 points in November. A 4-2, 3-0 sweep to honor Brendan Burke this same weekend 1 year ago in Oxford. A double overtime victory in Fort Wayne, Indiana to head to the 2010 Frozen Four. Another epic sweep with 3-1 and 5-1 wins in Michigan in November 2009 – Miami’s first ever in Yost Ice Arena.
That’s right folks. Miami hasn’t lost to Michigan since the CCHA Semifinal game against Michigan on March 19, 2009 in Detroit. 6-0-1 in the last 2+ seasons with the one tie being a shootout win earlier this season after a longstanding series of losses for the Red and White. With the all-time series tilted heavily in Michigan’s favor 69-26-4, the recent swing for Miami is a welcome change. Don’t miss HappyGirl2525’s thoughts about the hated Wolverines and the ongoing rivalry.This week should be another fantastic measuring stick for the recently hot RedHawks, as they head to Ann Arbor to face the equally hot #7/8 Michigan squad that has only lost twice since the start of December. Michigan split an intense series last weekend losing 3-1 at Notre Dame before coming back for a 2-1 win last Saturday.
In addition to a stellar 8-1-2 record since December 3rd, Michigan goalie Shawn Hunwick was named Gongshow CCHA Goalie of the month for January and Freshman Alex Guptil won the Gongshow Rookie of the Month as well.
Perhaps someone can explain to us why Hunwick won the monthly honor instead of Connor Knapp? Hunwick posted a 4-1-0 record, with one shutout, a 1.08 goals-against average (9 total goals allowed) and a .971 save percentage as he played in 5 of 6 games for the Wolverines in January. On the other hand, Knapper went 5-1 in January, allowed just 5 goals in 6 games, was named the INCH National Player of the Week for the first weekend of the year, won 2 of the 4 CCHA Weekly awards for goaltenders, had a minuscule 0.83 goals-against average and equally impressive .964 save percentage in his 6 contests.
Guptill recorded five goals and five assists in six games for a team-best 10 points in January. According to CCHA.com “the Newmarket, Ont., native leads Michigan in scoring and his 14 goals place him in a tie for second in the CCHA and his 26 points are good for a tie for fifth in the league. Nationally, Guptill ranks first in goals and third in points among freshmen.”
Stopping the Wolverines will require Miami to slow down Guptill, as well as Senior captain David Wohlberg who is second on the team in points with a line of 11-14-25 but is currently nursing an injury and his playing status is unknown. Even if Wohlberg does play, how effective will he be? Michigan’s style has them constantly looking for an odd man rush with long passes through the zone. Miami will need to limit these chances and will rely on great goaltending all weekend long.
In addition, don’t be surprised if the ‘Hawks try to get in Hunwick’s head early. Perhaps an accidental run into the crease? Ring a shot off the facemask? Anything to get Hunwick off of his game, and perhaps get him to pull a Hacksaw Jim Duggan clothesline like he did here:
If you’re like us and like to keep a close eye on the nightly scoreboards and CCHA standings, you’d be interested to know that currently 7 teams stand within a weekend sweep of the CCHA lead. Any of the 7 teams other than Lake State could find themselves in first after this weekend if the dust settles correctly.
- Ferris State (20 games played) – 37 points – at Northern Michigan
- Miami (22), Western Michigan (20), OSU (20) – 36 – MU at Michigan, WMU vs. Alaska, OSU vs. MSU
- Lake Superior State (22) – 35 – vs USNTDP (no CCHA games)
- Notre Dame (20) – 33 – vs. BGSU
- Michigan (20) – 32 – vs. Miami
In addition, the CCHA has 7 teams in the USCHO Top 20 rankings (the above 7, minus LSSU, plus NMU). Michigan State and Lake State are in the “others receiving votes” section at #21 and 22 respectively. Ferris State even picked up a #1 vote in this weeks poll. While we’re at it, take a gander at this week’s CCHA Now show.
Both games this weekend are at 7:30 and both will be televised. If you get the “sports pack,” look for Fox Sports Detroit Plus on Friday, and CBS College Sports on Saturday.
You won’t want to miss action like this from Miami’s latest victory over Michigan, so if you’re anywhere near Ann Arbor, join miamibeef04 at Yost – tickets are still available for both games.