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Preview: Cornell at Miami

WHO: No. 5 Cornell Big Red (9-1-0) at Miami RedHawks (6-6-2).

WHEN: Friday, 7:35 p.m.; Saturday–7:05 p.m.

WHERE: Cady Arena, Oxford, Ohio.

TV: None.

CORNELL RADIO: WHCU-AM (870, WHCU-FM (95.5), Ithaca, N.Y.

NOTES: Following a four-year run of mediocrity, Cornell is a rejuvenated hockey team.

The Big Red were a force the first few years of this century, advancing to the NCAA Tournament seven of 11 seasons starting in 2001.

But Following that run, Cornell won no more than 17 games four straight campaigns and did not compete on college hockey’s biggest stage.

That trend reversed quickly, as 23rd-year coach Mike Schafer’s squad won 21 games last season and after a 9-1 start this fall, it has has a .722 winning percentage since the start of 2016-17.

Cornell moved up two places after wins over Niagara and Boston University last week, and its lone loss this season was to then-No. 8 Clarkson on Nov. 18.

The Big Red have also beaten Quinnipiac and Harvard this season, so their early-season resume is legitimate.

And this is a team built to win for a while, as only one senior (Trevor Yates) has played all 10 games, and in addition to Yates, who is 7-4-11, a freshman and sophomore round out the top three in team scoring.

Yates leads the team in goals and points, and Morgan Barron and Jeff Malott both have three goals and six assists for nine points. Barron is the rookie, Malott the sophomore.

Anthony Angello and Mitch Vanderlaan have two goals and five assists each, and Beau Starett is 1-5-6. All are juniors.

Cornell’s defense corps has scored 11 goals but combined for just 13 assists. Alec McCrea leads Big Red blueliners with four goals, but he has just one assist.

Defensemen Brendan Smith (no relation to the former Miami F/D of the same name) and Yanni Kaldis have five points each.

This blue line corps may not rack up the points, but it has shut down its opponents in the shot column. Cornell allows just 23.6 shots per game.

Freshman Matthew Galajda has started all 10 games in net for the Big Red, going 8-1-0 with a 2.04 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage. Senior Hayden Stewart pitched 40 minutes of relief earlier this season and is 1-0, 1.50, .929.

Cornell is sixth in Division I scoring at 3.60 goals per game and third in goals against (2.00). The Big Red also rank in the top 20 on both the power play and penalty kill.

These teams have met six times, but none have come in Oxford. Each team has won three times.

Last season’s series vs. Cornell was less than memorable for the RedHawks. They gave up three unanswered third-period goals in a 4-3 loss in the opener and falling behind by two early in a 2-1 defeat in the finale.

Melnick

Miami’s Josh Melnick (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

Miami’s other loss to the Big Red came in the opening round of the 1997 NCAA Tournament.

The RedHawks are riding a three-game unbeaten streak (2-0-1) and are 4-2 in their last six home games.

Josh Melnick recorded three points vs. Cornell last season, and Carson Meyer scored once in each game.

This is the last non-conference series of 2017-18 for Miami and the team’s last home series of the calendar year. The RedHawks will host just one more series prior to February and have only eight home games on their slate after this weekend.

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Preview: Miami at Bowling Green

WHO: Miami RedHawks (5-6-1) at Bowling Green Falcons (6-4-3).

WHEN: Friday, 7:37 p.m.; Saturday–7:07 p.m.

WHERE: Slater Family Ice Arena, Bowling Green, Ohio.

TV: None.

NOTES: Bowling Green dropped a 6-1 decision at Minnesota State last Friday but followed that up with a 4-1 win, as that is the Falcons’ lone loss in their last nine.

BGSU has dropped just one decision at home this season, going 4-1-2 at the recently-renamed SFIC.

The Falcons visited Cady Arena in 2016-17, and the teams split the series. Overall Bowling Green holds a 62-48-8 record vs. Miami, but the RedHawks have won the overwhelming majority of games the past decade.

In 13 games, four Falcons have already recorded double-digit point totals. Cameron Wright leads the team in assists (9) and points (14), having scored five times.

Bowling Green coach Chris Bergeron (BoB file photo).

Stephen Baylis and Max Johnson have 11 points each, and Alec Rauhauser – the team’s defenseman points leader – has 10.

The Falcons have three juniors, three defensemen and two freshmen blueliners on their roster, but despite the relative youth, they are 10th in the NCAA in goals allowed per game (2.31).

A big reason for that is the play of sophomore G Ryan Bednard, who has a 2.01 goals-against average and .928 save percentage. He was rotating with Eric Dop, but Dop was pulled from his start last Friday and does not have nearly as good of numbers.

So Bednard may be in net both nights.

Bowling Green still has a Miami feel on its coaching staff, as the head coach is former RedHawks assistant Chris Bergeron, and assistant Barry Schutte also played and coached at MU.

Preview: CC no longer a pushover

WHO: Colorado College Tigers (5-3) at Miami University RedHawks (3-3).

WHERE: Cady Arena, Oxford, Ohio.

WHEN: Friday – 7:35 p.m.; Saturday – 7:05 p.m.

TV: None.

COLORADO COLLEGE RADIO: KRDO-AM (1240), KRDO-FM (105.5), Colorado Springs, Colo.

NOTES: Remember that Colorado College team that the NCHC beat up the first few years of the league’s existence?

You know, the team that the media kept saying was going to get better one of these days but has finished dead last in the league three of the first four seasons ?

Well, that day has arrived. And what’s scarier: Not a single CC player that has logged a game this fall is a senior.

The Tigers are just outside the USCHO’s top 20, having split in Vermont, swept Alaska-Anchorage, taken 1 of 2 at then-No. 17 New Hampshire and went 1-1 vs. North Dakota.

That’s not a doormat’s resume.

Colorado College has only outscored opponents by one goal, but the Tigers are 4-0 in one-goal games. So the Tigers are finding a way to win the tight games, an area in which Miami has improved so far this season.

Nick Halloran leads the conference in points (4-8-12), and Mason Bergh is tied for first in the NCAA in goals (7) and is tied with Gordie Green for second in the league with 11 points.

But this CC team hasn’t been particularly deep, as that duo has scored 46 percent of the team’s goals. Tyler Gooch is the only other Colorado College player with two goals – 11 others have one.

Among Tigers forwards, Trey Bradley has a goal and seven assists and Westin Michaud has scored once and picked up five helpers.

Colorado College has not gotten much offensive production from its defense. As a team, the Tigers have just two goals and seven assists from their blueliners.

CC has not been great on special teams, converting power plays at an NCHC-worst 12.5 percent clip and killing just 74.3 percent of man-advantage opportunities.

Miami defenseman Grant Hutton (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

The RedHawks are second in the NCAA on the power play at 34.3 percent and are tied for the Division I lead with 12 PPGs.

Defenseman Grant Hutton has five of those for Miami, tops in college hockey.

However, the Tigers have been excellent at drawing penalties, as they have been on the power play 48 times already.

Colorado College and North Dakota played each other last weekend in the first conference contests of the season. This weekend every NCHC team except UND will compete against league opponents.

With the Tigers rejuvenated, this conference gets that much tougher. The PairWise has the Tigers at 13 and Miami at 49.

Except for Cornell, every one of the RedHawks’ remaining opponents is ranked in the top 25.

Preview: Miami at Maine

WHO: Miami University RedHawks (0-2) at Maine Black Bears (1-1).

WHEN: Friday and Saturday–7 p.m.

WHERE: Harold Alfond Sports Arena, Orono, Maine.

NOTES: Maine visited Oxford last season, and the RedHawks went 1-0-1, tying the opener, 3-3 and winning the finale, 5-0.

A Division I force through the late 2000s, the Black Bears have won 20 games just one time in the past 10 seasons, and that 23-win season in 2011-12 represented Maine’s lone NCAA Tournament appearance in that span.

The past three seasons have been particularly brutal for the Black Bears, as they have failed to reach the .400 mark, averaging just 11 wins.

Amazingly, Maine didn’t win a single road game in all of 2016-17, salvaging just four ties including one at Miami.

The Black Bears lost their top two scorers from last season in Blaine Byron and Cam Brown. Nolan Vesey, a Toronto draft pick and brother of New York Rangers forward Jimmy Vesey, is the team’s top returning scorer with 13 goals and 10 assists for 23 points.

Sophomore Chase Pearson, a Detroit selection, finished 14-8-22 in 2016-17 and has a pair of assists already this season.

The Black Bears have two other drafted players – G Jeremy Swayman and F Patrick Shea. Swayman is a freshman who gave up four goals in a losing effort in his debut. Shea, a sophomore, has dressed for both games this campaign.

Cedric Lacroix, Peter Housakos and Mitchell Fossier are all back this season, and each found the net vs. Miami last year.

Miami was swept at home by Providence two weeks ago and beat the U.S. Under-18 team, 7-5 in Plymouth, Mich., last Friday.

The RedHawks are looking for their first non-exhibition win since Jan. 28, having gone 0-11-1 in their last 12 games.

D Grant Hutton is 1-1-2, found the net nine times in 2016-17 and scored twice in Miami’s exhibition and has to be considered a credible threat to score from the blue line, which should create more space for his linemates.

The Gordie Green-Josh Melnick chemistry last week vs. the USNDT was undeniable, as Green scored twice – both times set up by Melnick, including a spectacular kick-pass-for-breakaway goal, and Melnick finished with three helpers.

Miami’s Carson Meyer (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

These types of long trips early in the season can help teams bond, and Miami will have played just one exhibition in 13 days entering this series, so the RedHawks have reason to come out strong.

Miami and Maine have only played eight times, with the Black Bears leading the all-time series, 5-2-1.

Carson Meyer recorded four assists in last season’s series, and Louie Belpedio netted a pair of goals.