By Harrison Schwarz, Staff Writer
The RedHawks have won four of their last seven games with back to back wins last weekend against seventh ranked University of Nebraska- Omaha (15-8-1) on Jan. 22 and 23.
MU beat Omaha 3-1 in the first game and 7-3 in the second.
Head coach Enrico Blasi is seeing lots of progress for his team this season.
"It's kind of been our story all year of taking a step forward then staying in neutral or taking a half step back," Blasi said. "We're still a team that's growing. We keep working hard. The attitude is really good and the energy has been good. It's just a matter of executing and making sure that we stay focused and pay attention to detail the entire game."
The 'Hawks opened the second half at home on Jan. 2 against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (13-7-6) and split a two game series, losing the first 3-2 and winning the second 4-2. The University of Minnesota- Duluth (8-10-5) came into town the next weekend on Jan. 9 with the opening game ending in a 1-1 tie and Duluth winning the next 5-2. Next, Bowling Green State University (15-7-5) arrived in Oxford on Jan. 16 for a one game series that Miami won 2-1. Junior forward Anthony Louis scored the game-winning goal with two seconds remaining in the final period.
Senior defenseman Matthew Caito believes part of the 'Hawks new found success can be attributed to a new mindset for the team.
"It's playoff hockey," Caito said. "We just have to play like that. Team defense is really important for us and that's what we've been focusing on in practice the last few weeks."
Senior goaltender Jay Williams has been particularly good in the new year. In 2015, Williams was 0-2, had a 5.35 GAA, and had an .812 Save%. In 2016, Williams is 4-0-1, has a 1.12 GAA, and a .956 Save%.
MU has been changing up their lines to improve the team's performance.
Freshman forward Josh Melnick believes his new line with junior forward Anthony Louis and senior forward Alex Gacek is working well.
"I think we were really comfortable out there," Melnick said. "A lot of communication which has helped a lot. The last week of practice we kind of clicked a little bit. We gelled together really well."
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Miami's freshmen came into the season with a lot of expectations and they have delivered. MU's six freshmen have 46 of the teams 123 points this season (37.4%) with freshman forward Jack Roslovic (18 points) and Josh Melnick (13 points) ranking first and third on the team in scoring.
The red and white play on national television in Oxford against Denver in a two game series next weekend at 7 p.m.on Friday and 7:05 p.m. Saturday.