Men’s Hockey: Miami (OH) series preview

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The Matchup: Wisconsin vs. Miami (OH)
When: Friday Jan. 18 (8pm CT) & Saturday Jan. 19 (7pm CT)
Where: Kohl Center (15,359)- Madison Wis.
Ice Sheet: 200' x 97'
TV: Friday: BTN; Saturday: FSN + (taped delay on Wisconsin Channel at 10 p.m.)
All-Time Series: UW leads 2-0-0
Last Meeting: Wisconsin 3, Miami (OH) 1 (March 26, 1993)

…more after the jump…

About the Redhawks:

Record: 12-5-5
Head Coach: Enrico Blasi (298-189-53, 14th season)
Notable: The last time these two teams met, head coach Enrico Blasi was on the ice as a player. Forwards Riley Barber and Sean Kuraly were teammates of Wisconsin defenseman Jake McCabe on the team that brought home gold for the United States in the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Statistics:

Points: Austin Czarnik – 25 points (8 goals, 17  assists)
Goals: Riley Barber – 9 goals
Assists: Czarnik – 17 assists
Save Pct.: Ryan McKay – .963
GAA: McKay– 0.97 GAA

About the Badgers:

Record: 8-7-5
Head Coach: Mike Eaves, 11th season (217-161-49)
Notable: This will be the third ranked team that the Badgers have faced in their 10-game unbeaten streak. They are 3-0-1 in against the previous ranked opponents in that span.

Statistics:

Points: Michael Mersch – 17 points (12 goals, 5 assists)
Goals: Mersch – 12 goals
Assists: Derek Lee – 13 assists
Save Pct.: Landon Peterson – .932 save pct.
GAA: Landon Peterson – 1.93 GAA

Quick Analysis: Offensively, this Redhawks squad is a lot like Wisconsin, insofar as they struggle producing goals. Miami averages just 2.5 scores per contest.

However, they give up just 1.6 goals per game and their penalty kill unit is fairly stingy, killing 88.5 percent of the penalties they are faced with.

This isn’t exactly and ideal opponent for Wisconsin, but it is amazing what a little confidence can do.

Coming into the season, many felt that they Badgers would be able to run with a team of this caliber, especially at home. Now that UW is finally beginning to play to its potential, some of that preseason optimism still lingers.

However, for a team that has struggled at home this season, it is going to take more than momentum to earn a win over such a quality opponent. Though it appears they are a shade more vulnerable on the road, the Redhawks still own a 5-3-2 mark as the visiting team.

To borrow a basketball term, this will be a “heat check” for a Badgers squad that is unbeaten in its last 10 games. This series also has the potential to bolster an NCAA Tournament resume that, though it is a distant thought, is still in need of some sprucing should this team continue to stay hot down the stretch.

Prediction: Friday – Wisconsin 2, Miami 2; Saturday – Miami 5, Wisconsin 2

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