By Harrison Schwarz, For The Miami Student
The Miami University men's hockey team finishes the first half of the season this weekend against Colorado College. The RedHawks are 5-7-1 (2-5-1 National Collegiate Hockey Conference), while the Tigers are 1-13 (0-6 NCHC).
Miami hasn't won a game in its last four tries, and its last three games have gone to overtime. Most of the recent frustration can be chalked up to good competition and unluckiness.
Two weeks ago, No. 4 University of North Dakota swept the RedHawks. UND claimed a 6-2 victory on Nov. 13 and a 4-3 victory in OT on Nov. 14.
In game one of its series against No. 6 University of Nebraska Omaha, MU tied Omaha 3-3 in regulation and unofficially won the game in 3-on-3 overtime on Nov. 20, earning an extra point in the standings. UNO took the second game 3-2 in overtime on Nov. 21.
Senior defenseman Matt Caito said he isn't worried about the Red Hawks' recent struggles because of the team's ability to make quick improvements.
"Our focus is on execution and finishing out chances in practice and hoping that correlates to the game," Caito said. "You can tell with our performance in the games and in practice, it's getting a lot better. Like I said, execution is key for us, and if we keep focusing on that, we should be good."
MU's improvements were on display in the series against Omaha. In the seven games prior to the Omaha matchup, Miami had been outscored 19-7 in 5-on-5 hockey. Against UNO, Miami scored three goals in even play to Omaha's four. That's a 108 percent improvement in 5-on-5 goal differential.
Head coach Enrico Blasi said Thanksgiving break was good for his players and the team has been practicing hard the last two weeks.
"The break came at a good time for us," Blasi said. "It was well-needed for our physical stature and also for our mental state of mind. I thought we battled hard against Nebraska Omaha. We had a good week of practice leading up to Thanksgiving and a couple good days so far this week in preparation of Colorado College."
Senior forward Kevin Morris is looking for his team to come out strong this weekend against Colorado.
"Obviously the games this weekend are huge," Morris said. "I think it's a big opportunity for us to get back on the right track. We're working to establish our identity, and we're playing for two wins."
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MU plays Colorado College at 9:07 p.m. Friday in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Saturday's puck drop is 8:07 p.m. After this series, the RedHawks will be off for winter break until Jan. 2, when they play Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.