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Red and White host Bowling Green in first home game in nearly 2 months

By Joe Gieringer Senior Staff Writer
On January 24, 2013

For the first time in seven weeks, the Miami University men's hockey team is set to play in front of a home crowd in a series slated for Jan. 25-26. The 'Hawks will face Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) foe Bowling Green State University (BGSU).

The RedHawks (13-6-5, 8-4-4-4 CCHA) jumped two spots in the national poll Monday, landing at No. 6 after splitting last weekend's series in Wisconsin, a trip which resulted in the program's first-ever win over the Badgers. It was also Miami's first regulation win in nearly a month, ending a four game, 0-3-1-1 skid.

If Miami hopes to start a new winning streak against Bowling Green, senior captain Stephen Spinell said it starts with a high intensity-type game, something he thinks will be helped by playing in front of a home crowd again.

"The energy we get in this building every night, everyone really feeds off of it," Spinell said of the home crowd. "Of late, we've kind of been in a slump, so hopefully this will help get us out of it."

Senior forward Marc Hagel said that in addition to the fans' energy, they need to build their own during practice.

"We love our fans, they're awesome and they help us out a ton," Hagel said. "We're just trying to get our intensity level up from the beginning of the week. We need to get guys going so we're in the mindset that we've got to win battles and be all over and be ready to compete."

Much like Wisconsin last weekend, the Falcons (8-11-5, 5-8-3-1 CCHA) are riding a hot streak into the weekend, going 5-1-1 in their last seven games, including wins over both Notre Dame and Western Michigan, who are currently tied at the top of the CCHA rankings. Though the RedHawks are just a point behind the lead, head coach Enrico Blasi said his team is just trying to take it one game at a time, starting with a quality BGSU team.

"We've just got to focus on Friday," Blasi said. "We need to prepare for a team that works as hard as anybody in the country. They have skill up and down their lineup, they have defensemen that can join the rush. Sound familiar? It's the teams that we've been playing thus far. Don't look at their record, I think what you've seen the last few weeks from Bowling Green is indicative of what their team is really like."

Though Miami lifted themselves out of a winless streak last weekend, the offensive production is still at a relative standstill. The RedHawks have recorded 320 shots in the past nine games, but have only come away with 11 goals, and it appears they haven't quite found their late-season rhythm.

"It's everything but putting the puck in the net," Blasi said. "The type of chances we're getting are quality chances. The type of plays leading up to those chances are quality plays. It's just one of those things where ... we've played [against] some great goaltending and we're going to continue to face that down the stretch."

Miami has only been outshot twice in those nine games, coming away with a win both times.

"So maybe we shouldn't shoot the puck?" Blasi said jokingly. "I'll put that in the scouting report."

The series opens Friday, Jan. 25 at the Goggin Ice Arena. The puck drops 7:35 p.m. the first night, and 7:05 p.m. Saturday.

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