By Jordan Rinard, Senior Staff Writer
With a commanding 10 point lead in the CCWHA standings, the Miami University women's hockey returns home to the Goggin Ice Center where it takes on Adrian College in conference play this weekend. The RedHawks (11-0) are riding high in their return to Oxford as they have recorded shutouts in five of their last six games.
"We're working on being more consistent," head coach Scott Hicks said. "We're trying to get better at handling pressure and getting the puck out of our zone, as well as improving at the little things. Adrian has a solid defense and a good goalie, and they don't make a ton of mistakes so we'll have to be efficient and earn it. It's a big conference weekend and they'll be gunning for the top spot all season long, but we'll look to carry our momentum and play at a high level."
Adrian (2-0-1) is unbeaten on the season as well as it tied Michigan State University in its season opener and swept the California University of Pennsylvania 3-1 and 4-0. Junior left wing Nichole Laflamme leads all scorers with three goals on the season and there are four other players who have scored a goal.
Senior defender Jenna Jubinville, senior center Cara Harm and senior defender Valerie Twigg have each notched two assists while seven others have recorded one. Three goalies have started for the team, and senior goaltender Emily Michelin is the most impressive. She had 21 saves in the tie against the Spartans, while the other two have 17 saves combined.
It has been a total team effort offensively for the Red and White as every player, excluding the goalies, has registered at least a point this season, with nine having double-digit points. Leading the team is junior center Hayley Williams with 29 points (14 goals, 15 assists), followed closely by sophomore right wing Rachael Booth with 28 points (13 goals, 15 assists).
The play in the net has been strong as well as sophomore goaltender Emalee Wills and freshman goalie Carly VanOrden have only allowed eight goals between them on the season and combine for a .95 save percentage.
The 'Hawks have not committed an infraction in its last two games and were 10-10 on the penalty kill in the three games prior. The team is also 5-13 on the power play in its last five games. The offense has been relentless with its attack, outshooting opponents 127-23 in its last two games and has scored 10 or more goals in five games this season.
"We're working to get better at the little things, like getting the puck out of our zone and getting it off the boards," junior defender Morgan McGrath said. "Earlier in the year, we had some easier competition but with these teams the past few weeks we had to pick up our intensity and we'll have to keep that intensity up and show that we're a tough team. Adrian was pretty good last year, pretty fast, so they don't give you time to think. The target's still on our backs, but we're prepared for them."
The RedHawks host Adrian 7:30 p.m. Friday and 5:10 p.m. Saturday.