Outside of college hockey, I follow college football somewhat closely. One of the things I always find humorous is the Miami confusion. University of Miami from Miami, FL and... well... the other Miami.
I'm sure our team would much rather be on the beaches in Miami, but playing some hockey against another top five team might be just as appealing (well, almost)
In case you haven't noticed, Miami scores a lot of goals. An average of 4 goals per game to be exact, led in scoring by senior forward Carter Camper who has led a fantastic offensive barrage, leading Miami's top line, and all of college hockey with a 9-15-24 scoring line, good for an average of 2.4 points per game, which is best in the nation with a minimum 10 games played (3rd overall). But that's not it, Camper's senior linemate Andy Miele is 2nd in the nation, not too far behind either with a 6-13-19 line.
Generally speaking, these high scoring teams play a little more open and allow a few more goals than others, but no. Not Miami. Their 2.2 goals against per game nets them the 9th best scoring defense in the country, almost just as stingy as the 'Nooks 1.9 goals/game, good for 6th. Make no mistake, defense will be a key for this series.
Add emotion to that fact as Miami was pushed around in Big Rapids last week against Ferris State, who left Miami with just 1 point on the weekend for losing the shootout. Props to Ferris State though, hopefully our coaches got a copy of the video of that game. That said, you can imagine Miami might be a little peeved and poised for revenge.
Our entire roster will have to play a fast and positionally disciplined game. Miami makes a lot of passes in the offensive zone to get the defense confused. Combined with a strong rush, our defensemen will given a workout. The 'Nooks D has been pretty solid negating the rush and keeping their forwards from driving the net, and keeping the play to the outside. Once the forward has it in the slot area, Greenham will have to be up to his usual self to make the save.
With a limited number of guys on the blue line with Daigle and Quinn out, hopefully they don't play it too safe, but don't get injured at the same time. Coach Ferguson indicated that Daigle could be out until after the new year. Sounds like Quinn is progressing and has passed his medical tests, but coach didn't expect that he would be ready to make this trip.
If our defensemen can throttle their top line, I can see this series going our way. But if Miami's offense blows it wide open, it could turn into a shootout. This will be likely one of the marquee matchups of the weekend. Notre Dame and Michigan will be quite interesting, as will North Dakota and Wisconsin, but Miami and Alaska is the one a lot of eyes will be watching this weekend. Both games will be aired locally on Fox 7 in Fairbanks. You can stream the games online through MURedHawks.com (if you paid to watch the games at MSU, then you can still use that subscription to stream from Miami). And of course, you've always got Bruce Cech calling the action on KSUA 91.5FM, or on the internet stream from ksua.uaf.edu.