Coming off a weekend that saw the RedHawks play and deserve better than a series split against Northern Michigan, here’s a quick look at where Miami checks in the national polls. This week, the RedHawks are #16 (Inside College Hockey), #18 (USCHO), and effectively, #17 (USA TODAY) in all three major polls. They can’t seem to crack the top 15 of the USA TODAY poll which only ranks fifteen teams unlike the Inside College Hockey Power Rankings and the USCHO poll which rank the top twenty.
And, after a weekend shakeout of the PairWise, Miami checks in tied for 10th in the all-important rankings that largely determine the field for the NCAA tournament. The PairWise rankings also tell us that Miami has the most wins in the country against Teams Under Consideration (TUCs) with 14. Alaska’s win over Notre Dame on Friday night enabled the Nanooks to reenter the rankings as a TUC, and on the strength of Miami’s two wins earlier in Fairbanks, the RedHawks have a nice exclamation point to add to their NCAA tournament resume. That said, it will certainly help Miami if Alaska can continue to play well and win a few more games down the stretch.
As for Miami, they’ll have a chance to improve upon that win mark as six of their remaining eight games are against TUCs (Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State). The only exception is the home series with Alabama-Huntsville in Oxford later this month.
Lastly, Miami is holding down the 11th position in the KRACH rankings that, by many prognosticators estimates, are a truer way to rank teams than is the PairWise. The KRACH tells us that Miami has played the fourth most difficult schedule to date which makes Miami’s 15-11-2 record that much more impressive when you consider the level of competition the RedHawks have faced this season.
If the RedHawks can win five of their final eight regular season games, they’ll finish with 20 victories for the seventh consecutive year and the ninth time in ten seasons. The last time Miami finished with fewer than 20 victories was the 2004-05 season when they finished 15-18-5.
This weekend, Miami travels to Ann Arbor for the final road series of the regular season (that’s hard to believe, but it’s true) to take on 7th ranked Michigan. The teams met in Oxford back on November 11 and 12 as the RedHawks gutted out a 2-1 victory on Friday and had to settle for a 3-3 tie and shootout win after they surrendered the tying goal late in the third period. We’ll have a full preview up later in the week.
In case you’ve forgotten, here’s Bryon Paulazzo’s sick shootout winner as he does the spin-o-rama and roofs the backhand over Shawn Hunwick.
Miami’s sweep of then #8 Western Michigan has helped move Miami up three spots in this week’s USCHO poll where they check in at #17.
Based on the way the RedHawks (14-10-2, 10-8-2-1 CCHA) are playing, they’re probably underrated, which is just fine. They do, however, check in at #14 in the Inside College Hockey Power Rankings which said this about the RedHawks:
Reilly Smith is officially on fire: the junior wing scored all of Miami’s goals in Friday’s 3-1 win against visiting Western Michigan and added another in Saturday’s 4-0 RedHawk win. Smith has six goals and two assists in his last five games.
Miami is still unranked in the 15-team USA TODAY/USA Hockey poll.
This weekend, Miami seeks to rebound from a December series sweep at the hands of #19 Northern Michigan (11-8-5, 6-7-5-2 CCHA) as they venture south to take on the RedHawks Friday and Saturday at Steve Cady Arena.