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Miami hockey looks to turn its season around

<p>After a weekend away from the ice, the RedHawks are back in action this weekend, when the Western Michigan Broncos come to the Goggin Ice Center.</p>

After a weekend away from the ice, the RedHawks are back in action this weekend, when the Western Michigan Broncos come to the Goggin Ice Center.

It has been a season filled with highs and lows for the hockey RedHawks so far. 

After the RedHawks had last weekend off, it seems appropriate to take a look at how the season has gone so far and preview what lies ahead.

If you were to take a quick glance at Miami’s record, one could reason the season has been underwhelming. That’s true. 

But, while an overall 6-16-4 record is not what any fan, player or coach strives for, there are a lot of underlying aspects that help explain the RedHawks’ less-than-stellar performance.

Miami plays against some of the best collegiate hockey programs in the nation on a weekly basis, due to being in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC). The last four national champions hail from the NCHC, and Miami is tested against the country’s best on a weekly basis. 

Consistency is the name of the game when it comes to being successful in the NCHC, and that is one of the main low points the RedHawks have faced as a team this season. 

First-year head coach Chris Bergeron highlighted some of his thoughts on what the team needs to do to become more consistent on Jan. 28.

“It’s a team learning how to win knowing that we are playing against a really good opponent,” Begeron said. “We cannot give them things. They are going to earn enough on their own. We cannot give them opportunities. We just cannot get away from that. It has been an obvious Achilles heel for our team.”

As the season progresses, it will be interesting to see how the team combats inconsistency. Bergeron came to Oxford expecting a long rebuilding process, but establishing consistency will be the main piece of the puzzle that can help the RedHawks turn things around.

While Miami has struggled to be consistent, several standout players are proving that the RedHawks are not giving up just yet. Senior forwards Gordie Green (10g, 17a) and Karch Bachman (8g, 17a)  lead the team in total points with 27 and 25 points, respectively. 

Senior leadership has also gone a long way in the crease with senior goalie Ryan Larkin. Larkin became the school record holder for most career saves this season. He has made 468 saves this season, resulting in an .897 save percentage. While he would like to see that percentage increase, Larkin has shown his quality and skill throughout the season. 

The rest of the season presents a chance to improve for the RedHawks. With a little more than a month until the start of the NCHC playoffs, the RedHawks still have time to turn things around and enter the postseason playing consistent, confident hockey. With two series against Western Michigan and one more series each against Denver and Omaha, there is still a chance to prove they are not out of the fight yet.

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The RedHawks are back in action Valentine’s Day weekend, when they host Western Michigan at Goggin Ice Center. Friday’s and Saturday’s game will start at 7:05 p.m. 

namoramc@miamioh.edu

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