One of the few positive things to come out of COVID was the emergence of Long Island University as a Division I program for both men’s and women’s hockey.

The Sharks have not beaten a D-1 opponent in eight tries this season but have salvaged a pair of ties vs. teams sniffing the top 20.

The second-year program is facing Miami for the first time, and the RedHawks ride a five-game losing streak into a four-game, two-weekend homestand.

A look at this weekend’s matchup:

WHO: Long Island University Sharks (0-6-2) at Miami RedHawks (2-9-1).

WHERE: Cady Arena (3,642), Oxford, Ohio.

WHEN: Friday – 7:05 p.m.; Saturday – 5:05 p.m.

ALL-TIME SERIES: 0-0.

TV: None.

STREAMING: Both nights – NCHC.tv ($).

MIAMI RADIO: Both nights – WKBV-AM (1490), Richmond, Ind.

NOTES: It’s hard not to wish Long Island University all the best outside of this weekend.

The Sharks unexpectedly announced both hockey teams’ move to Division I early last spring during the heart of the scariest part of the pandemic.

At that point they had no coaches, no players, no rink, no schedule, no conference and no guarantee live sports would ever be the same again as most of the country locked down.

Six months later, LIU beat Holy Cross in its first-ever D-1 contest, 3-2 in overtime on Nov. 19.

The Sharks played 15 games in 2020-21 – nine vs. Division I foes — and went 2-7 against those teams.

Long Island’s online stats include games against D-3 opponents, and Billy Jarry has five goals and seven assists for a team-best 12 points in 13 total contests.

Jordan Timmons has been the team’s top goal scorer thus far with six markers, and a freshman defenseman – Spencer Cox – has already found the net five times on 33 shots, including a game winner and two power play tallies.

Brothers Tyler and Nolan Welsh have also been significant contributors among the forward corps, as Tyler Welsh is 1-6-7 and Nolan has four goals.

Jake Stevens (2-7-9), Jordan Di Cicco (1-5-6) and Carson Musser (2-3-5) are three of the Sharks’ key blueliners.

Senior Kris Carlson has logged the majority of Long Island’s minutes in net, going 1-5-3 with a 3.51 goals-against average and an .881 save percentage, but he stopped 29 of 31 shots against his last Division I opponent – RPI – in a 2-2 tie on Nov. 20.

The Sharks did play at D-3 St. Anselm on Tuesday, winning 4-0.

Based on Miami coach Chris Bergeron’s comments last weekend, it doesn’t sound like any of the injured RedHawks will be available for this series.

Chase Gresock leads the team in points per game (0.62) but has missed the last four games and was seen with a boot on his lower leg two weeks ago at Cady Arena.

Chase Pletzke, who scored a highlight-reel breakaway goal vs. North Dakota, is also suffering from a lower-body injury.

Bray Crowder was expected to start on defense this season but has not played a game due to an upper-body injury.

And Will Cullen missed last weekend due to an undisclosed personal issue and it’s unclear when – or if – he will dress for the RedHawks again.

Miami has struggled mightily in terms of record early in 2021-22, and while the RedHawks at least played hard for the most part the first 10 games, they were atrocious in Denver last weekend in every way, including effort.

MU is the clear favorite both nights, but Long Island has salvaged ties against two teams vastly better than the RedHawks, so Miami will need to put forth a quality effort to earn two much-needed wins this weekend.

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