Preview: Minn.-Duluth at Miami
WHO: No. 14 Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs (5-5-2) at Miami RedHawks (4-5-1).
WHEN: Friday, 7:37 p.m.; Saturday–7:07 p.m.
WHERE: Cady Arena, Oxford, Ohio.
MINN-DULUTH RADIO: KDAL-AM (610) and KDAL-FM (103.9), Duluth, Minn.
NOTES: Miami has not fared well against UMD in recent years.
Two and a half years ago in Oxford, these teams played a remarkable series that saw both teams come away with a win.
That was the last victory for the RedHawks vs. the Bulldogs, who are 8-0-2 in these teams’ last 10 meetings.
Minnesota-Duluth has also ended Miami’s season in the first round of the NCHC Tournament each of the past two seasons in straight sets.
Games between these teams have been on the chippy side, including a decent skirmish a couple years ago that featured Chris Joyaux mixing it up after the final whistle.
The Bulldogs have been loaded the past couple of seasons, culminating in an NCAA title game berth this spring, and while they’re clearly rank-worthy again in 2017-18, they lost a couple of major cogs from that Division I runner-up team.
UMD lost eight skaters to graduation, and G Hunter Miska left after a 27-win freshman season.
Only 10 UMD skaters have dressed for all 12 games, and five of the team’s top scorers from last season are gone. The other two are well off their 2016-17 points pace.
Another Hunter – Hunter Shepard – has taken over the majority of minutes between the pipes, and he has a 2.70 goals-against average and .886 save percentage.
Just five forwards have played in every UMD contest, and no one has more than eight points. Dallas Stars first-round draft pick Riley Tufte leads the team with five goals, and he has three assists to tie for the team lead in points with eight.
Peter Kreiger is even with Tufte, tallying three goals and five assists.
Also up front, Nick Swaney has two goals and five assists, Parker Mackay is 2-4-6 and Avery Peterson has scored four goals in seven games.
Standout Karson Kuhlman has two goals and a pair of helpers after a 22-point junior campaign.
Scott Perunovich is 1-7-8 to lead the Bulldogs among defensemen, and third-round pick Mikey Anderson has three goals and four assists.
Also on the back end, Dylan Samberg and Nicky Wolff have been in the lineup for all 12 of UMD’s games.
Have to credit the Bulldogs for this: Seven of their top eight scorers are from Minnesota.
Anderson and Swaney have been battling injuries.
Minnesota-Duluth is tied for 52nd on the penalty kill at 74.5 percent, an area of weakness Miami could exploit. The RedHawks are 14th in Division I at 24.0 percent, although they are 0-for-15 in their last four games.
Both teams have played four conference games, and Miami leads the Bulldogs by one point, 4-3. The RedHawks are in sixth in the NCHC and UMD seventh.