This is the home-opening for both teams after a season of playing in empty arenas, so fans should see their teams at their best in their respective home rinks.
Coincidentally, Miami and Bowling Green both won in each other’s barns when they last met two seasons ago, Chris Bergeron’s first campaign after taking over behind the bench for the RedHawks.
This is one of just two home-and-home series for Miami this season and the only one that it plays on consecutive days.
A look at this weekend’s matchup:
WHO: Miami RedHawks (1-3) vs. Bowling Green State Falcons (1-0-1).
WHERE: Friday – Cady Arena (3,642), Oxford, Ohio; Saturday – Slater Family Ice Arena (5,000), Bowling Green, Ohio.
WHEN: Friday and Saturday – 7:07 p.m.
ALL-TIME SERIES: Bowling Green leads, 61-52-9.
STREAMING: Friday – NCHC.tv ($); Saturday – FLOHockey.tv ($).
MIAMI RADIO: Both nights–WKBV-AM (1490), Richmond, Ind.
NOTES: Bowling Green managed to win 20 games in a shortened 2020-21 season but lost several key cogs to the transfer portal this off-season, including defenseman Will Cullen, who joined Miami for his senior season.
The Falcons have only played two games this season, but they were both incredibly tight. BGSU tied the season opener at RPI, 2-2 and won, 3-2 in overtime to cap the series two weeks ago.
The big story for the Falcons early in 2021-22 has been Nathan Burke. The senior played his last three years with Minnesota, where he netted 13 goals in 84 games but has three of BGSU’s first five this seasons.
None of Bowling Green’s top four forwards from last season are back. Alex Barber is the leader among returning skaters with 23 points, and he went 0-1-1 vs. RPI.
Also back up front are Taylor Schneider, who netted 10 goals last season, Sam Craggs, a fifth-year senior who has logged 146 games and eight-goal scorer Evan Dougherty.
All were held off the scoresheet vs. RPI.
On defense, Cullen was easily the Falcons’ top points producer in 2020-21 and Tim Theocharidis transferred to Arizona State after going 5-10-15.
T.J. Lloyd is back on the blueline after notching 14 assists last season, but no other returning defenseman generated more than four points.
Goalie Zack Rose was solid in the back-up role last season as a sophomore and was solid in Bowling Green’s first two contests of 2021-22. He posted a 1.90 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage for the series.
With Eric Dop graduating, freshman Christian Stoever joins the Falcons in net, boasting four seasons of USHL experience.
Pete Eigner, son of current coach Ty Eigner (who was an assistant all nine seasons Bergeron was the head coach of BG) is also competing for time in net after logging three seasons for in-state high school St. John’s Jesuit.
Miami’s last home games with fans in attendance were nearly 20 months away when Ryan Larkin recorded a pair of shutouts in a pair of wins over Omaha on Feb. 28-29, 2020, so there’s no reason the RedHawks shouldn’t be fired up from the start.
Ryan Savage is the lone current Miamian with a goal vs. Bowling Green, the RedHawks’ closest road opponent at three hours by vehicle.
After winning their season opener at Ferris State, Miami has dropped three straight and has scored just five goals in that span. The RedHawks were swept at Michigan State, 3-1 and 2-1 last weekend.