Denver has been one of the best teams in college hockey the past couple of seasons, and is currently one of the hottest heading into the NCHC Tournament.
The Pioneers, who claimed the league’s regular season title with 56 points, 12 clear of the field, won nine of its final 10 games to pull away in the Penrose Cup running.
Denver, which has 10 straight victories vs. Miami, blew the RedHawks out by identical 7-0 scores the first week of January.
The Pioneers have outscored MU, 22-2 in the teams’ four meetings this season, including three shutouts.
A look at this weekend’s matchup:
WHO: Miami RedHawks (8-22-4) at No. 3 Denver Pioneers (28-8).
WHERE: Magnuss Arena (6,026), Denver, Colo.
WHEN: Friday – 9:05 p.m.; Saturday – 8:05 p.m.; Sunday (if necessary) 8:05 p.m.
ALL-TIME SERIES: Denver leads, 30-13-3.
STREAMING: NCHC.tv ($).
MIAMI RADIO: Friday — WMOH-AM (1450), Hamilton, Ohio; Saturday — WKBV-AM (1490), Richmond, Ind.; Sunday (if necessary) — WMOH-AM (1450), Hamilton, Ohio.
DENVER RADIO: All three nights — KKFN-FM (104.3), Denver, Colo.
NOTES: Denver’s late push is largely a result of its impressive recent scoring clip.
The Pioneers have netted 39 goals in their last nine games (4.33 per game) and finished the regular season with 137 markers, the fourth-best total in Division I.
The evolution of Massimo Rizzo is one of the top stories in college hockey. Just a seventh-round draft pick by Carolina, the sophomore leads the NCHC in points with 46, including 17 goals. Rizzo already has 82 career points.
Carter Mazur ended the regular season with 22, with seven coming against Miami, and 36 points.
Two other Denver skaters reached the 30-point mark: Mike Benning and Casey Dornbach.
Benning is third in the NCAA in defenseman points with 33 behind only super-prospects Luke Hughes (Michigan) and Lane Hutson (Boston University).
Dornbach, son of former Miami standout Greg Dornbach, is 12-18-30 and has 120 career points in four seasons.
Also on defense, Shai Buium and Sean Behrens have combined for 40 points, and Justin Lee has six goals.
Goalie Magnus Chrona, who keyed Denver’s February hot streak, missed last weekend with a lower-body injury and is questionable for this series.
Chrona has been a fixture in net for the Pioneers the past four seasons, and he is 22-7 with a 2.22 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage.
But backup Matt Davis has been brilliant as a backup and stopped 46 of 48 shots in a pair of wins over Colorado College last weekend. He has a 6-1 record, a 1.72 GAA and a .925 save percentage in 385 minutes.
For Miami, everything that’s happened since New Year’s doesn’t matter. It’s all about winning two of three against Denver.
The Pioneers have slaughtered the RedHawks in all four meetings this season, but Miami has put up strong efforts against a brutal NCHC slate most nights down the stretch.
Miami has not advanced to the Frozen Faceoff since 2015. But as an eight seed, the RedHawks did upset top-seeded St. Cloud State in 2014 and came within a goal of winning the NCHC Tournament that year.