Miami junior goalie Jay Williams sits in net as we waits for the puck to enter the RedHawk defensive zone. Williams has a 2.02 GAA this season and has saved 90.6 percent of his shots.
Photo by Lauren Olson, Photography EditorBy Steven Perkins, For The Miami Student
The Miami University men's ice hockey team hosts Colorado College Friday and Saturday in its first National Collegiate Hockey Conference homestand of the season. Miami opened conference play on the road last weekend against the University of Minnesota Duluth. The RedHawks picked up a split after winning the first game 3-2 Friday and dropping the meeting Saturday 4-3.
The RedHawks are becoming more accustomed to playing close games and are learning how to adjust accordingly. Head coach Enrico Blasi said it's something his team is going to have to get used to.
"Well, I mean you've got to get used to that," Blasi said. "That's going to be the norm this year. In our league, you're going to be in tight games, so you'd better get used to it."
Junior forward Sean Kuraly said daily work prepares them for the games.
"We do things in the weight room," Kuraly said. "We get in the cold tub and make sure we're eating, drinking and resting and just taking care of our bodies. We just have to stay on the daily process."
Kuraly had yet another big weekend, scoring the game-winning goal Friday. It's his fourth game winner of the year. Kuraly said the big goals are just about positioning.
"I'm just kind of in the right spot at the right time," Kuraly said. "It was really just chance that it happened."
Blasi said a lot of the older players are performing well.
"Always your leadership needs to come through and your older guys are usually in those positions," Blasi said. "We have some good depth upfront and we have some guys who can put the puck in the net. [Senior forward] Blake [Coleman] had a real good weekend, too."
The league office agreed. The NCHC named Coleman the Offensive Player of the Week,
following three goals and an assist last weekend.
Miami is expecting a tough team in Colorado. Blasi said the Tiger's aggressiveness upfront will be a challenge.
"They're a good hockey team, they're well coached," Blasi said. "They've got real good speed up front. They're going to create some situations where we're going to have to really focus on team defense and backchecking and taking care of the puck. We'll have our hands full again this weekend. No different than any other weekend in our league."
Blasi said the best way to combat the Tigers is good team defense.
"Well you have to make good decisions with the puck," Blasi said. "You have to have good awareness of your defensive responsibilities. We're going to have to play our best to be in the game."
Puck drop is set for 7:35 p.m. Friday and 7:05 p.m. Saturday.