By Jordan Rinard, Senior Staff Writer
After rolling through Lindenwood University and Midland University to open the 2014-15 campaign, the Miami University women's hockey are set to open CCWHA play as it hosts the University of Michigan. The RedHawks (4-0) have won each game by nine or more goals this season.
"Getting into conference play, we need to be at our top level and we need to be clicking," head coach Scott Hicks said. "We're working on our attention to detail, working on paying attention, maintaining our pace and improving our communication. We expect Michigan's best and we have the target on our backs. It's a big rivalry game. It's big for us and it would be big for them to pick up two points. We have to work on minimizing our mistakes."
Miami is currently in a four-way tie for third place in the ACHA standings with eight points on the season. Four of the top eight point leaders in the ACHA belong to the Red and White as sophomore right wing Rachael Booth is in first place with 16 points, junior center Haley Williams is second with 15 points, while freshman left wing Carly Noble and sophomore right wing Cassidy Guthrie are in a four-way tie for fifth place with 10 points.
The team has been able to score at will this season, finding the back of the net 48 times in four games. However, the 'Hawks have struggled to stay out of the penalty box as they have accumulated 26 penalty minutes with freshman forwards Alyssa Vissali and Eliza Abraham leading the team with six penalty minutes each.
Sophomore goaltender Emalee Wills and freshman netminder Carly Vanorden are in a five-way tie for fourth-lowest goals against average with a 1. The two have combined for a 4-0 record, 39 saves and a .907 save percentage.
Michigan (1-0) is coming off a 1-0 win over the University of Vermont, as it got an unassisted goal from sophomore forward Jenna Trubiano and senior goaltender Kelsey Duggan picked up the shutout. The Maize and Blue are currently in 14th place in the ACHA standings with two points.
This weekend is the beginning of an important four-game stretch for the RedHawks, as they take on a Michigan team that finished eighth in the ACHA a season ago and wrap up their home stand next weekend to take on Davenport University.
"We're working on improving our communication, avoiding breakdowns and having great communication is what will set us apart," Wills said. "It's not going to be easy this weekend; it'll be a hard fight. There's no guarantee of a win."
The RedHawks host the Wolverines at 9:15 p.m. Friday and noon Saturday in the Goggin Ice Center's Rink A. Saturday's game is the team's "Pink the Rink" game in honor of breast cancer awareness.