Preview: Miami at Providence
Because these teams met at the Ice Breaker, Miami and Providence will face each other a total of three times this regular season.
The Friars blanked the RedHawks, 4-0 the second week of the season in Erie and have dominated Miami in recent history, going 7-1-2 in the last 10 matchups.
These will be the first regular season contests for the RedHawks in 34 days, and MU has not recorded a win since Nov. 17.
WHO: No. 16 Miami RedHawks (9-6-3) at No. 10 Providence Friars (11-4-3).
WHERE: Schneider Arena (3,030), Providence, R.I.
WHEN: Friday – 7:05 p.m.; Saturday – 7:05 p.m.
MIAMI RADIO: WKBV-AM (1490), Richmond, Ind.
PROVIDENCE RADIO: WHJJ-FM (104.7), Providence, R.I.
PROVIDENCE VIDEO STREAM: https://friars.com/watch/?Live=69&type=Live
NOTES: Providence is No. 10 in the NCAA in scoring and fourth in defense.
The Friars have won four straight games and are unbeaten in their last six.
And they’ve already dominated Miami once on neutral ice.
So the RedHawks face the difficult task of opening the second half on the home ice of a team that has lost just one of its last 10 meetings with Miami.
Providence averages 3.61 goals per game and has six forwards and a pair of defensemen with at least 10 points.
Up front, Josh Wilkins has six goals and leads the team with 15 assists and 21 points, and he is 4-10-14 during his current eight-game points streak.
Six-feet, two-inch freshman Jay Dugan is second in scoring with 19 points, including seven goals. Las Vegas drafted him in the fifth round in 2018.
Pittsburgh Penguins second-rounder Kasper Bjorkqvist leads the team in goals with nine, including four on the power play, and he has 18 points overall.
Brandon Duhaime and Scott Conway have been major contributors among the forward corps as well, posting 16 points and seven goals, respectively.
Jacob Bryson leads Providence blueliners in points with 14, including three goals, and Spenser Young has six goals – with a team-best five on the man advantage – from the back end.
Young picked up two of those tallies vs. the RedHawks in October.
Defensemen Vincent Desharnais, Ben Mirageas and Michael Callahan all have identical 1-5-6 lines, and along with Davis Bunz, Friars blueliners have helped hold opponents to just 22.7 shots per game.
Montreal draftee Hayden Hawkey has been in net for 17 of Providence’s first 18 games, logging 1,022 minutes and racking up 11 wins. He has a goals-against average of 1.88 and owns a .916 save percentage.
The Friars have outscored opponents, 65-34 this season and have allowed just five goals in their last five games.
Both Phil Knies and Ryan Larkin played in Miami’s exhibition on Sunday and looked 100 percent, so they should be in the lineup this weekend, giving the team a major boost.
Knies had missed six games with an upper-body injury and Larkin was knocked out of the RedHawks’ opener vs. St. Cloud State on Nov. 30 and did not play the following night.
Josh Melnick enters this series riding a five-game points streak, during which he has a pair of markers and four assists. Melnick is two points away from being the 52nd Miamian to record 100 career points.
Casey Gilling has been MU’s best goal threat since mid-November, scoring four times in his last seven contests.
Despite its recent struggles vs. Providence, Miami did win its last game at Schneider Arena, 3-1 on Oct. 8, 2016.
And MU was excellent in the first 10 minutes of its initial meeting with the PC three months ago, but a couple of soft goals for the Friars swung the momentum hard in their favor.
The RedHawks are 2-3-1 all-time on the Friars’ home ice.