Statistically, Miami’s best weekend series of 2019-20 in conference play was its trip to Omaha, where the RedHawks earned five of a possible six points and outscored the Mavericks, 7-4.
Now mired in an 11-game winless streak, MU hopes to return to that late-November form.
Nebraska-Omaha is in sixth place in the NCHC, 10 points ahead of Miami, so mathematically the RedHawks could catch UNO, but that would require a two-game sweep, securing at least four points in final weekend and help by Mavericks’ opponent North Dakota in their series.
A look at this weekend’s games:
WHO: Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks (13-14-5) at Miami RedHawks (6-19-5).
WHEN: Friday and Saturday – 7:07 p.m.
WHERE: Cady Arena (3,642), Oxford, Ohio.
ALL-TIME SERIES: Miami leads, 23-19-7.
OMAHA RADIO: Both nights – KZOT-AM (1180), Omaha, Neb.
MIAMI RADIO: Both nights – WMOH-AM (1450), Hamilton, Ohio.
STREAM: Both nights – NCHC.tv.
NOTES: Omaha has been hanging around the .500 mark most of the season, and the Mavericks are now a game under after getting swept two weeks ago at Duluth and splitting vs. Colorado College last weekend.
Despite being in sixth place in the league, UNO is scoring 3.25 goals per game and has a plus-10 goal differential.
And the future looks bright for the Mavericks, as six of their eight top scorers are freshmen or sophomores. Nebraska-Omaha’s four 20-point producers – all forwards and non-seniors – have all taken major steps forward this season.
Sophomore Taylor Ward is second in the conference with 16 goals after scoring nine as a freshman, and he is tied with Kevin Conley for the team lead in points with 27.
Conley, a junior, recorded 20 points his first two seasons combined and has 12 goals and 15 assists.
Sophomores Tyler Weiss, a Colorado draft pick, and Chayse Primeau, son of former NHLer Keith Primeau, have 22 and 20 points respectively. Weiss had 11 as a freshman and Primeau six.
Senior Teemu Pulkkinen has 18 points, and a pair of freshmen – Joey Abate and Nolan Sullivan have 17 each. Another rookie, Ryan Brushett, is 1-15-16, an unusual line for a forward.
Senior Zach Jordan is also a scoring threat for UNO with 11 goals this season and 37 for his career.
Omaha’s defense corps is also young, as four of the blueliners that have dressed this season are freshmen, including Brandon Scanlin, who leads the team in defensemen points with 14.
Seniors Ryan Jones (Pittsburgh draftee) and Dean Stewart (Arizona draftee) have 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Jason Smallidge, Kirby Proctor, Nate Knoepke and John Schuldt have been the other regulars on the back end.
Both UNO goalies are also freshmen. Isaiah Saville, a Vegas selection, has logged over 70 percent of the minutes this season, posting a 2.83 goals-against average and .905 save percentage.
Backup Austin Roden’s GAA is 2.75 and his save percentage is .910.
Miami leads the all-time series vs. the Mavericks but is 3-7-2 in its last 12 vs. Omaha and is 1-4 against UNO at Cady Arena in the last five meetings, although the RedHawks did win the series finale in Oxford last season.
These will be the last two games at Cady Arena for 2019-20, where the RedHawks have not won since Nov. 15, going 0-7-2 on home ice since.