It has been a wild week for the Miami Hockey “family” this week. From the end of the Swoop’s Stoop jersey auctions, to Carter Camper getting the call up to the NHL’s Boston Bruins, everywhere you turned this week, the RedHawks were making headlines. Connor Knapp took home the CCHA Goaltender of the Week award, as well as the INCH National Player of the Week award, solidifying his spot as Miami’s go-to goalie right now. And finally, add into the mix Tommy Wingels badgering the bigger and taller R.J. Umberger in on Wednesday (while playing on the Shark’s top line) in Columbus.
I’m guessing that Tommy didn’t have Miami’s upcoming series against Ohio State on his mind as he dropped gloves against the former Ohio State Captain and current Columbus Blue Jacket, but it was definitely a preview of what is sure to be a heated series this weekend in Oxford and Columbus. Of late, the series has been of the intense variety, with the Red and White holding the advantage in the overall series. Bolstered by the addition of the no-defunct Ohio Hockey Classic as well as a few CCHA playoff series, the RedHawks have faced Ohio State more than any other team in school history. Earlier this season, each team won on the road in the first home and home series, and the all-time mark is now 64-60-12. Surprisingly, Ohio State holds the edge in Columbus with a 21-33-7 mark, despite the
raucous crowds empty cavern of an arena they now play in.
photo courtesy of muredhawks.com
Friday night’s contest will be at 6:05pm in the Goggin, with the puck drop moved up to accomodate the CBS Sports Network telecast. It wil be senior night for the ‘Hawks, and the 10 Miami Seniors will be honored AFTER the game due to the early start. The RedHawks look to finish of the regular season on Saturday night in Value City Arena in Columbus on Ohio State’s Senior night. Puck drop is set for 7:05pm and the game will be only be streamed online at BTN.com. The first 5,000 fans will receive rally towels on Saturday night, as well as thundersticks from
Big Money U Ohio State, so get there early (yawn…). You can take a quick glance at the weekend’s tale of the tape from College Hockey News by clicking here.
To say that 2012 has been dismal for Ohio State would be an understatement. After shooting out of the gate with a 14-4-1 record to start the year, including a 11 game unbeaten streak (ended by Miami), Ohio State has since gone 1-7-4. To make matters worse, all 4 of those ties were shootout losses, with 2 of them coming at the hands of last place BGSU. That’s a measly 7 points in CCHA conference play since we rang in 2012. The only thing that could make this half of the season worse for Ohio State is another ugly sweater contest. Here are a few of the glorious entries of recent memory:
Along with Ohio State’s free fall over the course of 2012, they’ve also slid down the PairWise rankings and CCHA standings. After hitting the top spot on the PairWise, where they stayed for a long period largely due to their strength of schedule, Ohio State now sits in 13th, just 1 spot behind Miami and Michigan State. In the CCHA standings, Ohio State has fallen from the top spot all the way to 7th, and even with only 3 points this weekend would still likely not get a first round bye in the CCHA playoffs. Ohio State can finish as high as 3rd or as low as 9th in the CCHA standings.
Miami, on the other hand, bottomed out at 9th early in the year, and will finish somewhere between 2nd and 7th. Many RedHawks fans will likely be watching the scoreboards this weekend, and rightfully so. Currently, Miami’s Magic Number to clinch a first round bye in the CCHA Playoffs stands at just 3 points. Just one win will put Miami far enough ahead of Lake Superior State and Ohio State who sit in 6th and 7th respectively, that those two teams will not be able to catch up on this final weekend of the CCHA regular season. Miami currently sits in 5th place, and keep in mind that 1st through 5th get byes in the current CCHA playoff format.
In addition to cheering for Northern Michigan as they host Lake Superior State in the lower half of the standings, Miami will also be looking up the standings, as they are currently tied with Michigan State in the PairWise at 11th. MSU will be playing in South Bend against a Notre Dame team that hasn’t won since February 3rd against Bowling Green, and have lost 5 straight. Western Michigan, currently 3rd in the CCHA is within striking distance, especially considering the Broncos have a home/home series with Ferris State this weekend (FSN Detroit, 7:05pm Friday).
For those keeping score at home, outside of beating Ohio State, cheer for Ferris State to win the CCHA and sweep Western Michigan, and follow that up with a 5 points from Notre Dame over MSU (CBS Sports, 8:35pm Friday; Comcast Sports, 7:35 Saturday). And finally, root on Northern Michigan over Lake State.
Hopefully you’re one of the 400+ that purchased tickets through miamibeef and the Columbus Chapter of the Alumni Association, nearly 100 who will be joining RedAlert or the Miami Blue Line Club’s bus trips, and will be joining Beef for the game in Columbus.
Enjoy the games and GO REDHAWKS!