By Justin Maskulinski, For The Miami Student
The RedHawks emerged victorious Saturday, taking down the Western Michigan University Broncos 4-3 in the Coyote Logistics Hockey City Classic.
The puck finally dropped at 4:40 CT once the sun settled behind the upper deck of Soldier Field and the ice froze back over. From discussions with a few of the men who maintained the ice, I heard the cooler underneath the neutral zone malfunctioned. It was a seemingly uncontrollable accident.
The guys, who told me they were rooting for the 'Hawks, took it in stride. One of them approached me and said, "You know they're re-naming this place, right? It's Lake Michigan now."
All jokes aside, to say the ice was chippy was a massive understatement. That's all that needs to be said about the ice, though. Outdoor games rarely see perfect ice conditions and both teams had to deal with the same rink/swamp.
The experience that surrounded the Hockey City Classic is what made the trip extra special. If you ever have a chance to see the game played in its natural element, go. There's something about the cold wind and (sometimes) naturally lit sheet that make the game that much better. I never had a chance to play pond hockey as a kid, but I bet the outdoor games are even more special for people who had a chance to grow up playing on a pond.
After going to the city twice for Miami outdoor games, I can agree with Frank Sinatra and say Chicago is my kind of town and my kind of people. My kind of pizza, too (that wasn't in the song).
In a 72-hour period I had more than my fair share of deep dish pizza.
Typically, this column analyzes sports, but today, a deep-dish breakdown is what's going to happen.
Here's how I see it: Cheese and Sauce - advantage Giordano's. Crust and meat (especially sausage) - advantage Lou Malnati's. So, who wins in this deep-dish duel? Giordano's gets the slight edge from this pizzatologist. I'm hoping for a rematch in the near future.
The real winner in this heavyweight bout was my taste buds.
Now, back to hockey.
The 'Hawks were able to embrace the moment Saturday and more importantly, grab some points in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference standings.
Heading into the last month or so of conference play, the 'Hawks are third in the NCHC standings. The University of Nebraska-Omaha sits atop the conference with 32 points, followed by the University of North Dakota (31 points) and Miami (29).
Each team in the NCHC has four weekends of hockey remaining and 13 points separate seven members of the conference. The top five teams are only five points apart.
Miami should come away from Colorado College next weekend with six points, as the Tigers enter the series with a 1-14-1 conference record. In November, the 'Hawks swept Colorado College in Oxford by scores of 3-0 and 5-1.
After the CC series, the 'Hawks host the University of Minnesota-Duluth, head to the University of Denver and then host the University of North Dakota to close out the season. Each team in the NCHC has eight games left and those games will decide the conference.
The rest of the games will be inside, but they'll still be fun to watch.