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Hope remains for rest of Hockey team's season

Maskulinski's LIst

By Justin Maskulinski
On February 13, 2014

The RedHawks were ranked second in the nation by the preseason poll and that set everyone's expectations for the season.

In the second poll of the season, the 'Hawks were on top, and man, did it feel good.

Losses come though. It's extremely rare, almost impossible, to go undefeated in a hockey season.

The 'Hawks dropped some games to tough opponents and that will happen; it's almost expected.

The Brotherhood stayed in the top 10 of the USCHO poll until Nov. 25, the Monday after they were swept at the University of Nebraska-Omaha (then No. 17).

Heck, being included in the top 20 poll is saying something, as many teams can only dream of being included on the list for one week, let alone 13 consecutive weeks in one season.

The 'Hawks fell out of the top 20 for the first time this season on Jan. 13 and the campus was abuzz with questions of why they were struggling and when they would turn it around.

The slump has continued for a while now, as the RedHawks are 1-6-1 in their last eight games, and 10-13-3 overall.

I'm the first to admit I wrote a column earlier this year with great excitement, saying this season would be a 'championship or bust' season for the Brotherhood. As a proud Miami student, I was definitely hoping for the former, not the latter.

The season is not over by any means though, as the 'Hawks still have an outside shot to qualify for the NCAA tournament and have a chance to play in Cincinnati down the road if they qualify.

The 'Hawks will have to get hot quick if they want a chance to get to the Frozen Four and chase that coveted first national title.

There are eight games remaining in the regular season for the RedHawks and this team is not one that will give up. It's just not what a Miami hockey team does.

The student section was close to capacity, as usual, Saturday; one night after the 'Hawks were beaten soundly. The students and fans are unlikely to give up on the Brotherhood either.

The Brotherhood is not where anyone thought they would be at this point. We have become accustomed to their greatness in recent years, and this year it is not what we are used to.

The reason, in my eyes, is the constant high level of competition they face.

As of Feb. 10, six of the eight teams in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) were ranked or receiving votes in the USCHO poll.

Miami doesn't have the luxury of playing teams like Alaska or Northern Michigan anymore. No game is ever a gimme, but some of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association opponents the 'Hawks played left some room for error.

The NCHC is a different animal.

Every single team is a legitimate challenge and there is not any room for error.

Last season, Yale University got into the NCAA tournament as a number 3 seed (ranked No. 15 by USCHO) and beat the top three teams in the tournament en route to a national title.

Yale had a 1-6 stretch in late January and February of that season, but they got hot late and it paid off.

Here's to hoping the 'Hawks get hot, quick.

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