Miami RedHawks (10-11-3; 4-9-1-1 NCHC) vs. Western Michigan Broncos (12-10-4; 6-7-1-1 NCHC)
Television: CBS Sports Network (Friday), Time Warner Cable (Saturday)
Radio: All Contests Are Streamed at MURedHawks.com
The Miami University RedHawks play host to Western Michigan in a critical conference series at Steve Cady Arena this weekend. Friday night’s game starts at 7 p.m. and Saturday’s begins at 7:05 p.m.
WAYS TO LISTEN/WATCH
Miami hockey can be heard live all weekend at MURedHawks.com. An All-Access broadcast will also be available for both contests. Both of the RedHawks’ games are televised this weekend, with Friday night’s matchup a national telecast on CBS Sports Network (DirecTV channel 221, Dish Network channel 152, check local cable listings). Saturday’s contest is televised locally on Time Warner Cable (channels 311 and 1311 [HD]).
Tickets for this weekend's series are available for purchase through the Miami Ticket Office. Call the office at 1-866-MUHAWKS or buy tickets online.
Enrico Blasi (Miami ’94) is in his 15th season behind the RedHawk bench. He is a five-time CCHA Coach of the Year and was named National Coach of the Year in 2005-06. He stands 321-207-56 in 14-plus seasons at his alma mater, where he has led Miami to nine NCAA Tournaments, including two Frozen Four berths, a National Championship game appearance, a trio of CCHA regular-season titles and the school’s first ever Mason Cup in 2011. Blasi is the winningest coach in school history.
Andy Murray is in the middle of his third year at Western Michigan, sporting a 52-35-18 record. He guided the Broncos to the NCAA Tournament by way of winning the CCHA Tournament in 2012. The Broncos have fi nished with a winning record in his fi rst two seasons at the helm, making him only the second WMU coach to start his career with two-straight seasons above .500.
• Riley Barber has a team-high 10 multi-point games this season and is tied for eighth nationally with 35 points (16g, 19a).
• Austin Czarnik needs one more point to tie Brian Savage (109) for 40th on the Miami’s all-time scoring list.
• MU enters play looking for its first consecutive wins since winning three straight Nov. 1-15.
• The Red and White are looking for their first Friday night series opening win since downing Wisconsin, 2-0, on Nov. 15.
• Miami’s four power play goals at Colorado College on Jan. 25 were its most since going 4-for-6 at Ohio State on Dec. 11, 2009.
THE SERIES: The RedHawks and Broncos have been fierce rivals as long time members
of the former Central Collegiate Hockey Association. The programs have met 121 times
and Miami holds a 57-54-10 lead in the all-time series. Western Michigan swept a pair of one-goal decisions (5-4, 3-2) in Kalamazoo last month.
ABOUT WESTERN MICHIGAN: The Broncos had a six-game unbeaten streak snapped when they dropped two home games against Minnesota Duluth last weekend. Prior to that, WMU went 5-0-1 with each victory a one-goal decision, including two over MU on Jan. 10-11. The Broncos have been shorthanded more than any team in the country, but they rank 15th nationally in penalty killing (84.6 percent). Shane Bersbach (26 points), Justin Kovacs (25) and Chase Ballisy (20) all have over 20 points this season. Frank Slubowski (2.66 goals against average, .911 save percentage) has started 18 of WMU’s 26 games while Lukas Hafner (1.86, .928) has eight starts of his own.
LAST MEETING: Western Michigan shut down Miami’s power play in Kalamazoo last month, holding the RedHawks to a 1-for-13 mark with the man advantage while scoring three shorthanded goals in a pair of one goal wins.
DYNAMIC DUO: Miami’s Riley Barber and Austin Czarnik continue to rack up points together. The duo has combined for 66 points this year (35 for Barber and 31 for Czarnik). That total represents 31.9 percent of MU’s scoring this year.
BACK TO BASICS: After a promising start to the year, Miami is trying to pull itself out of a midseason slump that leaves it sitting below .500 overall (10-11-3) and seventh place in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference. A 2-0 win over Wisconsin left MU at 7-3-1 overall with a 2-2 mark in NCHC play. The RedHawks allowed two goals or less in seven of those 11 games, including shutouts over current top-12 teams St. Cloud State (No. 5/6) and Wisconsin (No. 12/12). Since then, MU is 2-7-2 and allowed three goals or more in 10 of 13 contests.
First 11 games (7-3-1): 3.5 goals/game, 2.0 goals allowed/game, 25.5% PP%, 85.2% PK%
Last 13 games (3-8-2): 2.8 goals/game, 3.4 goals allowed/game, 15.9% PP%, 80.0% PK%
POWER RESTORED: Miami’s power play broke out in a big way at Colorado College on Jan. 25. After enduring an 0-for-27 skid with the man advantage, the RedHawks scored on their first four power plays and finished the night 4-for-5. The four-goal performance by the unit was the Red and Whites finest since going 4-for-6 on the power play at Ohio State on Dec. 11, 2009.
PROMISING FRESHMAN: freshman forward Anthony Louis has shown some high upside in spurts this year. The Winfield, Ill., native began the year with six points (3g, 3a) in his first six games. After hitting a bit of a rough patch in the middle of the year, Louis has notched six points (1g, 5a) in his last six games. Louis had a big night on Jan. 25 when he posted a season-high three points on a goal and two assists to help Miami top Colorado College 6-1.
CLIMBING THE RANKS: With two assists on Jan. 25, Austin Czarnik continued his ascent on Miami’s all-time scoring list. The junior captain is now tied for 41st in school history with 108 career points.
Miami Career Points
1. Steve Morris (1979-83), 202 points
2. Carter Camper (2007-11), 183
37. Pete Shipman (1978-80) & Rob Vanderydt (1987-91), 112
39. John Malloy (1978-80), 111
40. Brian Savage (1990-93), 110
41. Austin Czarnik (2011-present) & Craig Fisher, 108
DISPLAY OF DEPTH: A remarkable part of Miami’s 6-1 win at Colorado College on Jan. 25 was how many players contributed offensively. Twelve of the 18 RedHawks dressed skaters notched at least one point, which included Justin Greenberg’s first-collegiate goal and Michael Mooney’s first-collegiate point.
GETTING OFFENSIVE: The Red and White defense got more involved in the attack in January. After combining for just 21 points (3g, 18a) through the first 18 games this year, Miami’s blue line totaled 12 points (3g, 9a) in six games last month. Matt Joyaux led the way with four points (1g, 3a) while Matthew Caito put up three (1g, 2a).