Quick preview – Miami at Alaska
Ahh Alaska. The Last Frontier. The place where it’s 86 degrees cooler than Oxford, Ohio today. Also the school furthest from
civilization Oxford and all other teams in the NCAA (other than Anchorage, of course and maybe Hawaii). Miami left home on Wednesday, didn’t get there until Thursday (3:00am, anyway) and takes on an Alaska squad that took NMU to overtime twice last weekend in Marquette and only took 1 point out of it.
The Nanooks come in at 6-5-3 on the season, and 4-4-2 in the CCHA. They are only 2 points behind Miami at the top of the standings and are doing something that Miami has prided itself on in seasons past – staying balanced. Alaska has 4 players tied at the top of their scoring charts – 2 seniors, and to underclassmen. Not surprising to see at the top of the list is Senior Andy Taranto. I feel like he’s a guy we’ve been seeing with the Nanooks for about 17 years.
In net, Freshman John Keeney has played 6 of the 14 games, and 3 goalies have seen significant time for the Polar Bears. Keeney is 2-2-2 with a 1.79 GAA and .935 save percentage – by far the best on the team for both. Senior Steve Thompson has played in 4 games this season and took home the October 22 CCHA Goalie of the week, but is struggling with just a 2-2 record, 3.24 GAA and .876 save percentage. Thompson only played in 3 games before this season, all coming last year, and Sophomore Sean Cahill played once last season, both getting mop-up duties while Senior Scott Greenham took ice time all season. It’s anyone’s guess who we’re going to see this weekend, but I’d suspect we see a lot of Keeney, as he has been the hot hand.
For Miami, Enrico Blasi continues his run to 300, and stands at 293 wins on his career. Miami has a 36-14-5 edge against Alaska and despite the 18+ hours of travel to get there every time, is still a surprising 16-7-3 in Fairbanks.
Leading the scoring for Miami is Riley Barber, but Sophomore Alex Wideman has been absolutely on fire the last few games. As we mentioned in our 2-week “Turkey Day hangover” recap, Wideman has goals in his last 3 games, has 4G and 3A in 6 total games, and has also scored the game winner in each of the 2 of Miami’s shootouts in which he has participated.
Look for more from Wideman, and let’s hope Miami scores first. Miami is 6-1-1 this season when doing so, and 6-0-0 when scoring thrice. I’m confident Miami brings home 6 points this weekend behind Jay Williams continued strong goaltending (and perhaps we see Ryan McKay return as well?).