Denver started the season on fire, cooled off a bit and now is playing at top form again, as the Pioneers come to Oxford riding a nine-game unbeaten streak (6-0-3).
DU has not lost since Dec. 6 and is tied for second in the NCHC in goals per game (3.25).
The Pioneers are coming off a weekend that saw them tie Omaha twice, as both teams scored just three times in the series.
A look at this weekend’s games:
WHO: No. 5 Denver Pioneers (15-4-5) at Miami RedHawks (6-12-4).
WHEN: Both nights – 7:05 p.m.
WHERE: Cady Arena (3,642), Oxford, Ohio.
ALL-TIME SERIES: Denver leads, 15-12-3.
DENVER RADIO: Both nights – KEPN-AM (1600), Denver, Colo.
MIAMI RADIO: Both nights – WMOH-AM (1450), Hamilton, Ohio; WKBV-FM (100.9), Richmond, Ind.
STREAM: Both nights – NCHC.tv.
NOTES: Most impressive about Denver is its scoring depth.
The Pioneers have 11 forwards with at least nine points, and four of its top six are sophomores with another being a freshman.
Seven DU players are NHL draftees, including its five best points producers.
Emilio Pettersen, a Calgary selection, leads the team in points with 22, having scored six goals and assisted on 16 others.
Bobby Brink – a freshman and Phildelphia draftee, has nine goals and 10 assists for 19 points, and Brett Stapley (Montréal) also has 19 points, with 15 coming on helpers.
Cole Guttman (Tampa Bay) leads the team in goals with 10, and he and Liam Finlay both have 16 points. Finlay is the only senior in the top nine in points for the Pioneers.
Other key contributors up from for Denver are Hank Crone (4-9-13), Tyler Ward (6-6-12), Kohen Olischefski (5-7-12), Jaakko Heikkinen (5-5-10), Tyson McLellan (5-5-10) and Ryan Barrow (4-5-9).
Aside from Ian Mitchell, a Chicago draft pick with four goals and 15 assists, Pioneers defensemen have not contributed much offensively.
Slava Demin (Vegas) is 2-7-9, and no other blueliner has more than six points. Griffin Mendel, Michael Davies, Justin Lee and Erich Fear have comprised the balance of the Denver defense this season.
The Pioneers have plenty of depth in net. Magnus Chrona has exceled in his freshman season, going 12-4-3 with a 2.19 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage with four shutouts.
Chrona has played in 19 games, and Devin Cooley has logged four, posting even better numbers with a line of 2-0-2, 1.21 GAA and .940 save percentage.
Michael Corson, the third goalie, stopped 16 shots en route to a shutout in his only appearance this season.
Denver is the sixth-best penalty killing team in Division I, having allowed just 10 power play goals in 90 chances for an 88.9 percent efficiency rate.
The Pioneers have scored 78 goals this season, but just 13 have come in the first period, as they have netted 34 in the second and 31 in the third.
By contrast, Miami’s best period has been the opening stanza, as the RedHawks have scored 28 goals in the opening 20 minutes.
The RedHawks jumped all over North Dakota last weekend, taking 2-0 leads early in both games.
Miami has also been exceptional on the power play recently, scoring on the man-advantage in five straight games and going 8-for-20 (40.0 percent) during that stretch.
So getting off to a quick start and thriving on the power play against a team that has been tough to score on with the man advantage are two keys to this series.
Despite the RedHawks’ recent struggles, they have fared well against Denver in recent years. Miami is 6-7-3 vs. the Pioneers since the start of 2015 despite DU being a top-10 team much of the past half decade.