Jan. 3, 2006
AT THE HALFWAY MARK: Miami begins the second half of its season as the nation's No. 2-ranked team, at 13-2-3, and leads the Central Collegiate Hockey Association with a mark of 10-1-1. The RedHawks have 21 points in league play and sit six points ahead of second-place Michigan, which has one game in hand on Miami.
LAST WEEK: With a shootout victory over Ohio State in the final of the Ohio Hockey Classic, Miami took home just its second holiday tournament title and first since the 1997 Denver Cup, when the RedHawks downed Denver, 9-6, and New Hampshire, 4-2.
SHOOTING FOR ELEVEN: The RedHawks enter the weekend with the nation's longest unbeaten streak. At 7-0-3 over its last 10 games, Miami's streak is its longest unbeaten stretch since winning 10 in a row during the 1993-94 season. Earlier this season, Miami put together a six-game unbeaten streak, during which it went 6-0-0. Miami is unbeaten in its last six-conference tilts, including a sweep of then-No. 3 Michigan.
TOUGH SLEDDING: Miami is 5-1-2 versus ranked opponents this season and boasts the nation's second strongest schedule according to the "KRACH" ratings. Only Michigan has played a tougher slate of games so far this season. Wisconsin, the No. 1 team in the nation, ranks fourth in strength of schedule.
ON THE MARGIN: Miami ranks second in the nation in scoring margin this season, outscoring its opponents by 1.50 goals-per game. The RedHawks are tied for 24th in scoring offense (3.11 gpg), but are second in scoring defense, allowing just 1.61 goals-per contest. Wisconsin, the nation's top-ranked team, leads in both scoring margin (2.05 gpg) and scoring defense (1.45 gpg).
REACHING NEW HEIGHTS...ALMOST: Since sweeping Michigan on Dec. 2-3, Miami has been ranked No. 2 in both major national polls. This marks the second time in program history that Miami has reached No. 2. Miami's first trip to No. 2 in the polls came during the week of Feb. 12, 1993 and came on the heels of a 4-3, overtime victory over the same Wolverines on Feb. 6. The No. 2 ranking is the highest that any Miami team has ever appeared in a national poll.
CONFERENCE PLAY THE REST OF THE WAY: After a pair of non-conference games over the holidays in the Ohio Hockey Classic, Miami has nothing but conference games left on its 2005-06 schedule. The RedHawks, who went 3-1-2 in non-conference action this year, have 16 games remaining, with eight of those coming in the friendly confines of Goggin Ice Arena.
OVERTIME THRILLER: Miami's 3-2, overtime victory over Rensselaer in the Ohio Hockey Classic gave the RedHawks their first overtime victory since downing Ferris State, 4-3, on Jan. 28, 2005. Miami is 35-38-74 all-time in overtime contests, including a 1-0-3 mark this year. Both of Miami's games at the Ohio Hockey Classic went into overtime, marking the first time since Jan. 4-5, 2002, that the RedHawks went to overtime in consecutive contests.
THE MAGIC NUMBER: Not only did Miami continue its unbeaten streak at the Ohio Hockey Classic, but the RedHawks also remained the only team in the nation to not have allowed more than three goals in a game this season. The RedHawks are allowing just 1.61 goals-per contest and have allowed three goals on just five occasions. In addition, Miami is 12-0-0 when its scores three or more times.
THE THRILL OF THE KILL: Miami's strong defensive showing so far this season is largely due to the play of its penalty-killing unit, which ranks second in the NCAA (100-of-109, .909) and leads the CCHA. Miami has allowed just 10 power-play goals this season, the fewest of any team in the CCHA.
SCORING BIG WHILE SHORT: Even though Miami has the second-best penalty-killing unit in the nation, the RedHawks are anything but defensive while down a man. Sophomore Nathan Davis' (Rocky River, Ohio) shorthanded marker in the second period of Miami's 2-1 win over Clarkson on Dec. 10 was Miami's sixth of the year, and his second. The RedHawks lead the NCAA in shorthanded goals.
CHASING HISTORY: Miami head coach Enrico Blasi became just the second coach in Miami hockey history to reach the 100-win plateau last season when the RedHawks downed Ferris State, 5-3, on Jan. 29. With 13 wins already this season, Blasi has 117 victories for his career and needs just five more to become the all-time winningest coach in the history of the program. Steve Cady, who guided the RedHawks for seven seasons, heads the list with 121 victories.
BE A PART OF THE HISTORY: To commemorate the final season of Goggin Ice Arena, the RedHawks will be auctioning off game-worn jerseys from the 2005-06 season at each home game. This weekend, the No. 4, 25 and 26 jerseys will be auctioned at Goggin Ice Arena. In addition, fans will have the opportunity to bid on replica jerseys from the 1978 season that will be adorned with the name of one of seven legends of Miami hockey. One jersey will be auctioned each week Miami has a home game, beginning with the Michigan series (Dec. 2-3). This week's legend jersey is that of George Gwozdecky, who guided the Red and White for five seasons and led the program to its first NCAA Tournament. The auction will take place online through Ebay.
25 YEARS AND COUNTING: The 2005-06 season marks Miami's 25th year as a full member of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. Entering this weekend's series, the RedHawks have played 730 CCHA games in those 25 seasons and have a record of 283-385-62. Miami's winningest season in league play came in 1992-93 when George Gwozdecky led the Red and White to a 27-9-5 record and a CCHA title.
SCOUTING NORTHERN MICHIGAN: The Wildcats enter the weekend with a record of 10-9-1 and are fourth in the CCHA with a league mark of 6-7-1. Over the holidays, NMU beat Wayne State 6-2, a team Miami beat 4-0 earlier in the season, before losing 5-1 to Wisconsin, the nation's top-ranked team. Senior Dirk Southern leads the team in points with 18 on six goals and 12 assists. Sophomore Bill Zaniboni is 7-6-1 between the pipes for NMU and boasts a 2.32 goal-against average.
SERIES HISTORY: Northern Michigan leads the all-time series with Miami, 25-8-2, and holds a 7-5-1 edge in games played at Goggin Ice Arena. The RedHawks have won four of the last seven meetings, including a series sweep of the Wildcats in NMU's last trip to Oxford. Last season, Miami traveled to Marquette and went 0-1-1 in a pair of defensive struggles. Northern Michigan took the series opener, 1-0, before the teams skated to a 1-1 tie in game two. Senior Andy Greene (Trenton, Mich.) is Miami's leading active scorer versus Northern Michigan, with five points in seven career games.