Miami at Colorado College
After a week off, Miami travels west this weekend to Colorado Springs, Colo. to face the hapless Tigers of Colorado College.
The bye and trip to the mountains comes at a particularly good time for the RedHawks (5-7-2, 2-5-1-1, 6th NCHC) who play for the first time since tying and dropping an overtime match two weeks ago against 6th ranked Omaha in Oxford. Miami will not play again until after the holiday break when they open the second half of the season at home against RPI on January 2-3.
Needless to say, this is a critically important NCHC series for Miami as they currently sit in 6th place having played at least two more league games than any other conference school. Conceivably, Miami could end the weekend as high as third place in the league with a sweep of CC (1-13, 0-6, 8th NCHC).
Last weekend, the Tigers finally recorded their first W of the season defeating in-town rival Air Force at World Arena — the same venue where Miami swept the Tigers a season ago.
CC’s top point producers Trey Bradley (5-3-8) and defenseman Teemu Kivihalme (2-5-7) are underclassmen and after having seen the Tigers in person a few weeks back in the Gold Pan series against Denver, it’s clear this is not a very talented team. Head coach Mike Haviland has 14 freshmen on the roster and is still trying to fill the skates of defensemen Jaccob Slavin who left with two seasons of eligibility remaining to sign a pro contract in the offseason.
In net, the Tigers have rotated between their two goaltenders frequently with Tyler Marble and Jacob Nehama splitting the first 14 games.
Neither has impressive numbers with Marble sporting a pedestrian 3.65/.891 line and Nehama showing a grotesque 4.12/.885 line but he does have the Tigers lone win on the year.
Last season, Miami swept CC in Colorado Springs by 3-1 and 2-1 scores. I do recall Miami looking tired on Saturday night playing on Olympic sized ice at 6,035 feet or 5,107 feet higher than Steve Cady Arena in Oxford. So, we’ll be watching to see how Miami handles the arid climate, high elevation, big ice and Mountain time zone this weekend.
Overall, this should be an opportunity for Miami to make up some ground in the NCHC as they head into the holiday break. Anything less than six points this weekend would be unacceptable. I’ll be live Tweeting from World Arena this weekend, but you can find the game on the American Sports Network as well as NCHC.tv. Greg Waddell will have the Miami radio call this weekend across the Miami Sports Network.