By Harrison Schwarz, Staff Writer
Senior forward and team captain Sean Kuraly and his fellow seniors will play their last games in the Goggin Ice Center this weekend, as the Miami University hockey team (13-14-3, 7-11-2-2 NCHC) hosts its last regular season home stand against Colorado College (6-23-1, 4-15-1-0 NCHC).
"It means a lot to play with my fellow seniors," Kuraly said. "We've grown up with these guys for these past four years. We've been through a lot together and have come a long ways. It's battling for those guys and the rest of the team that have put a lot of work in this year. And having each other's back."
The seniors will be honored prior to the opening faceoff of Saturday's game. Miami's 2016 senior class has compiled a 78-60-12 record.
In the last meeting between the RedHawks and Tigers, Colorado College beat Miami 2-1 on Dec. 4 and 3-2 on Dec. 5.
"This week we are just focused on playing our game and playing hard," senior defenseman Chris Joyaux said. "It will be nice getting a little revenge after getting swept by CC earlier in this season. It will be huge for the team and the seniors to go out on top. We're all pretty excited."
The RedHawks are on a hot streak, winning seven of their last 10 games. In the last month, they've beaten then-No.3 St. Cloud State University, then-No. 7 University of Nebraska-Omaha, then-No. 13 University of Denver and then-No. 19 Bowling Green University.
MU is on the border of reaching the NCAA tournament. Miami is tied for 16th in the PairWise rankings, which usually mirror the teams to make the national tournament.
To stay in the hunt for the Frozen Four, the 'Hawks may need to sweep a Colorado College team that has underperformed this year. The Tigers rank last in the NCHC. Losing one game to a team with a poor record would hurt Miami's chances.
Colorado College has posted a 6-10-1 mark since its 0-13 start, though it enters the weekend on a five-game losing streak. CC beat then-No. 12 University of Nebraska-Omaha 5-1 on Jan. 29 and then-No. 4 St. Cloud State 5-2 on Jan 9.
Head coach Enrico Blasi is ready for the challenge Colorado College brings.
"At this time of the year everyone is playing their best hockey and that's what we're going to try to do," Blasi said. "We know CC is well-coached and will play hard. They've been in every game these last few weeks. We have to go in there and play our game and play for each other."
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Kuraly has picked up 14 points (4 goals, 10 assists) and is +10 the past 14 games. Freshman forward Josh Melnick has put up a point in nine of his last 11 games, netting two goals and seven assists in that span.
The puck drops at 7:35 p.m. Friday and at 7:05 p.m. Saturday in Oxford, Ohio.