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RedHawks host Nebraska Omaha

By Steven Perkins, For The Miami Student

The Miami University men's hockey team looks to continue its winning streak and stay on top of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference as it hosts the University of Nebraska Omaha this weekend.

The No. 4/5 RedHawks are 10-4 and lead the NCHC by two points. No. 12/13 UNO is fourth in the conference, trailing Miami by seven points.

The RedHawks are coming off a one week break for Thanksgiving, but head coach Enrico Blasi said it shouldn't slow the squad down.

"It's always difficult to try to figure out what to do with the guys, because you're not playing, but I thought our guys did a good job last week," Blasi said. "The energy has been good, the mindset has been good."

The Mavericks are 7-3-2 this season, but boast an impressive 4-0-1 record against Miami in their last five contests.

"They have a lot of weapons up front and their four lines are pretty good," Blasi said. "[They] may be the deepest team we've seen. Their D core is pretty good, their goaltending is really good."

UNO senior goaltender Ryan Massa stacks up as one of the best netminders in the country. He boasts the sixth best save percentage and the seventh best goals against average. Senior captain and forward Austin Czarnik said rebounds will be a big part of the weekend.

"He's a good first shot goalie," Czarnik said. "So we have to get the net, crash hard and look for rebounds."

Massa's goals against average is good enough for second in the NCHC behind Miami's own Jay Williams. The junior goalie edges out Massa in GAA by .12 and has four more wins with one more game played. Williams is 10-1 on the year and has a .928 save percentage.

Sophomore forward and recent World Junior invitee Anthony Louis said shots on goal is key for the weekend's matchup.

"Just shoot a lot," Louis said. "We get a ton of shots a game so we're just going to keep him on his toes. We have to use each other, two-on-ones all over the ice. Just keep them honest."

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These are the last two games before the RedHawks' break, but Blasi doesn't think staying focused will be a challenge.

"This is what we do right?" Blasi said. "I don't think we'll have a problem getting focused for one of the best teams in the country. After that, we have exams and we'll start to get ready for our next opponent. The guys don't get to go home like everybody else."

Puck drop is set for 7:35 p.m. Friday and 7:05 p.m. Saturday. The games can be heard live on redhawkradio.com.

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