While Miami has been hanging out in Minnesota for the past nine days, St. Cloud State did not leave the state for its scheduled road trip at Denver, as the Huskies postponed their second straight series because of COVID.
The RedHawks are six days removed from a 2-2 tie (plus shootout point) at Duluth that saw goalie Ludvig Persson play his best game of the season.
Meanwhile, with its last four games having been postponed, SCSU has not played in 20 days.
But the Huskies have almost everyone back from 2020-21, so rustiness may not play much of a factor for a team that has obvious chemistry, highlighted by a 36 percent power play.
A look at this weekend’s matchup:
WHO: Miami RedHawks (4-16-2) at No. 6 St. Cloud State Huskies (12-6).
WHERE: Herb Brooks National Hockey Center (5,371), St. Cloud, Minn.
WHEN: Friday – 8:30 p.m.; Saturday – 7 p.m.
ALL-TIME SERIES: St. Cloud State leads, 27-16-4.
TV: Fox9+ (St. Cloud, Minn.), and MidCo Sports Network.
STREAMING: NCHC.tv ($).
MIAMI RADIO: Friday – WKBV-AM (1490), Richmond, Ind. Saturday – WMOH-AM (1450), Hamilton, Ohio.
ST. CLOUD STATE RADIO: Both nights – KNSI-AM (1450), St. Cloud, Minn.; and KNSI-FM (99.3), St. Cloud, Minn.
NOTES: The Huskies not only lead Division I power play percentage, they are topping the next-closest team – Providence – by 6½ percent.
Four of SCSU’s top five points-producers have netted at least four PPGs through 18 games.
Kevin Fitzgerald leads the team in assists (14) and points (22), and Easton Brodzinski has netted a Huskies’-best nine goals.
Jami Krannila, Veeti Miettinen and Zach Okabe are also key threats up front for St. Cloud State, as they all average at least 0.7 points.
Freshman Jack Peart has made an immediate impact on the blue line, going 2-9-11 in 13 games, and Spencer Meier has a pair of power play goals and eight helpers.
Fifth-year senior David Hrenak is enjoying his best-ever season with a 1.94 goals-against average and a save percentage of .925.
The Huskies will be without the services of F Sam Hentges, D Nick Perbix, and oh yeah, head coach Brett Larson, all of whom will be representing Team USA in the upcoming Beijing Olympics.
Meanwhile, Miami bused to Duluth, where it went 0-1-1 last weekend and has remained in northern Minnesota since.
The RedHawks are second-last in the NCAA in goals-against (4.19) only to first-year program St. Thomas, but they got an excellent performance from Persson in their finale at UMD.
Miami is hoping to build on that tie-plus-1 and hopefully Persson remains in top form this weekend.
The RedHawks’ have dropped nine straight in this building, with their last win coming on March 10, 2018 in a best-of-three NCHC series that St. Cloud State eventually won.
Miami’s best performance here was its NCHC Tournament first-round sweep on March 14-15, 2014.
That team ended up advancing to the Frozen Faceoff title game and came within one goal of league championship and NCAA berth despite entering the tournament as the eight seed.