G-20 News

Hockey to face No. 3 Denver in NCHC playoffs

The best part of the National College Hockey Conference (at least for the teams down in the standings) is that everyone is dancing.

That’s good news for the Miami RedHawks (7-25-2, 4-19-1 NCHC), who finished last out of eight teams in the conference. The bad news is that the team is scheduled to face the No. 3 Denver Pioneers (25-8-1, NCHC 18-6) this weekend in the NCHC Frozen Faceoff.

The regular season ended unceremoniously last weekend with a few not-so-close losses to No. 8 West Michigan. Miami took a 2-1 lead early in the second period on Friday, but WMU made it 3-2 late in the period and never looked back. On Saturday, Miami lost 3-0 despite beating the Broncos 32-31.

The RedHawks are going to have their hands full with Denver. The Pioneers have scored more goals per game this season than anyone else in the country. Their power play converts 26.5% of the time, good for third in the country.

One thing is certain: second-year goaltender Ludvig Persson will have to put in an incredible performance if the Hawks are to have any chance of upsetting the explosive Pioneers.

Miami has played Denver pretty strong this year, especially at home. Just over a month ago, the Pioneers visited Oxford and nearly got swept away. Miami led Friday’s game for most of the third period until Denver tied the game with 11 seconds left, eventually winning in overtime. The following night, the game was tied early in the third, but Denver emerged victorious again.

Miami is going to have to try to slow down Bobby Brink, a Denver forward and the nation’s leading scorer. In addition to Brink, who has 53 points in 34 games this season, Denver has four other skaters scoring a point per game or better.

Screening report

GAME 1

Miami RedHawks vs. Denver Pioneers

Faceoff: 9 p.m. ET on Friday, March 11 at Magness Arena in Denver, Colorado.

THE MIAMI REDHAWKS

Enjoy what you read?
Subscribe to our newsletter

Record: 7-25-2 (4-19-1 NHC)

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Player (position, class, key stats)

PJ Fletcher (forward, sophomore, 34 gp, 8 g, 15 y)

Derek Daschke (defender, senior, 34 gp, 3 g, 24 a)

Chase Gresock (center, senior, 19 gp, 8 g, 9 y)

Matt Barbolini (forward, rookie, 33 gp, 10 g, 12 y)

Matt Barry (forward, senior, 34gp, 8g, 14y)

Ludvig Persson (goalie, sophomore, 31 gp, 6-21-2, .894 save percentage)

NO. 8 DENVER PIONEERS

Record: 25-8-1 (18-6-0 NHC)

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Player (position, class, key stats)

Bobby Brink (forward, junior, 34 gp, 14 g, 39 y)

Carter Savoie (forward, sophomore, 32 gp, 20 g, 20 y)

Cole Guttman (forward, freshman, 34 gp, 15 g, 23 a)

Brett Stapely (defender, senior, 34 gp, 14 g, 24 y

Magnus Chrona (goalie, junior, 30 gp, 22-7-1, .903 save percentage)

GAME 2

Miami RedHawks vs. Denver Pioneers

Puck drop: 8 p.m. EST Saturday, March 12 at Magness Arena

GAME 3 (if needed)

Miami RedHawks vs. Denver Pioneers

Puck drop: 8 p.m. ET Sunday, March 13 at Magness Arena

@jackschmelzinger

[email protected]