On Friday afternoon, the Miami Athletic Department released the 2011-2012 hockey schedule, which can be seen by clicking the “Schedule” tab at the top of this page. The CCHA opponents are, of course standard…directional Michigan schools, Buckeyes, and Polar Bears. But what about the other odds & ends? Here is my breakdown of the upcoming slate of games:
– I like that the schedule once again features the two “home and home” weekends with Ohio State. If you’ll recall, last season the Buckeyes didn’t make the trip to Oxford…the teams only met twice with both games being played at Value City Arena. I think this (Ohio State series) is a great thing for Miami Hockey. Based on the name recognition alone, I feel this is a better opportunity to draw more casual fans to Cady Arena. OSU travels well and the competition is always high stakes.
– Some may complain that the non-conference schedule isn’t strong enough (as I myself have been known to do), but I really like the fact that Bemidji is coming to Oxford this season. I think it’s a great test for the RedHawks in their building, just as St. Cloud and UNH have been in the past few seasons. Remember, the Beavers are a part of the WCHA now and play teams like Denver, North Dakota, and UMD every weekend. This isn’t the College Hockey America version of Bemidji, keep in mind. Last season they finished 15-18-5 and were a part of the “Final Five” tournament. Again, they aren’t North Dakota, but still good competition, in my opinion.
– Miami closes the season with 9 of the final 16 games on home ice. For a program that has been known to “Swoon” after the holiday break, this could be a good chance to atone those losses (if it happens, that is) and pick up some momentum heading into the post-season.
– Speaking of the holidays, the RedHawks will head West for the Denver Cup during Thanksgiving weekend. The ‘Hawks will take on Denver on the second day and either Princeton or Providence on Friday night. The University says that they’re not sure if they’ll play Princeton or Providence, but reliable sources close to the DU program have said that Miami will take on Providence in the first game. Stay tuned…
– The Brotherhood will have both a road and home series this season with Lake Superior State, Michigan, Northern Michigan, and of course, the split home and home weekends with Ohio State. Not a bad cluster group, if I say so myself.
– Since the team has to make the 3,721 mile trek to Fairbanks this season, the two extra home games appear to be with the homeless (read confrenceless) Alabama-Huntsville Chargersm set to take place in February. I like the non-conference opponent late in the season, as opposed to strictly CCHA games during the second half. The last time the two school’s met, the RedHawks beat UAH in the 2009-2010 NCAA Tournament.
Do you have any thoughts on the newly released schedule? If so, leave them in the comments section of this post!