Miami-Ohio RedHawks (8-9-5, 4-5-3-0/1) NCHC Standing: T-6th
@ #19 Omaha Mavericks (13-8-3, 6-6-0) NCHC Standing: 4th
Friday January 20th 7:07pm
Saturday January 21st 7:37pm
Baxter Arena Omaha, NE
The Omaha hockey team showed they can take a punch and get right back up, as was the case last weekend in Colorado Springs. The 19th ranked Mavs, coming off a disastrous showing at home the previous weekend against North Dakota, trailed both nights against Colorado College but managed to come from behind each night and swept the Tigers on their home ice. Chalk it up to character, toughness, and experience. Then there is the comfort level of being on the road for this group where they are now 8-1-2. It's an interesting trend this season. Omaha has been almost unbeatable away from Baxter Arena but on the home ice they are just 4-7-1. The numbers alone are a mystery but consider the teams that have played in Omaha so far: #4 Minnesota-Duluth, #5 Umass-Lowell, #7 North Dakota, and #12 Vermont. Not exactly a group of pushovers but the Mavericks are at the point where they have to match the competition in front of the home crowd.
Omaha will have plenty of confidence this weekend coming off of the sweep last weekend but more importantly having swept Miami back in November. It's an opportunity to set the tone at the Baxter Arena for the remainder of the season. Omaha still hosts #13 Western Michigan and #2 Denver before the NCHC playoffs begin. Can the Mavericks turn in a solid weekend at home? We shall find out.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Again, it comes down to the Mavs setting the tone on their home ice. They jumped on Lake Superior State but were pushed around against North Dakota. It sounds simple and obvious but Omaha needs to be the aggressor from the start.
The RedHawks are a hot team in 2017, having swept St. Cloud State and splitting with North Dakota in Grand Forks. Senior Anthony Louis leads Miami with 13 goals and 28 points on the season. Sophomore Kiefer Sherwood has also made big contributions on offense with 10 goals and 15 assists.
Austin Ortega leads Omaha with 16 goals and 33 points but Tyler Vesel, Justin Parizek, and Luc Snuggerud all recorded multiple goals over the weekend. Vesel now has 12 goals and 27 points. Omaha continues to make the most of it's power play opportunities ranking 2nd in the NCAA with a success rate of 26.2 percent. The Mavericks lead the country with 32 powerplay goals.
BETWEEN THE PIPES: Miami has relied heavily on Freshman Ryan Larkin who has started 20 games this season. Larkin has solid numbers with a 2.54 GAA and a save percentage of .914. Omaha had a relatively successful weekend in goal with Freshman Kris Oldham and Sophomore Evan Weninger. Oldham had 26 saves in the win Friday night against CC and Weninger recorded a 30 save victory Saturday night to get his 8th win on the year which is 4th best in the conference.
THE SERIES: Miami-Ohio leads the all-time series with a record of 14-20-5 against the Mavericks. The RedHawks are 9-6-1 in Omaha.