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College men's hockey preview: Minnesota Duluth at Miami

Minnesota Duluth at Miami What: NCHC series When: 6:35 p.m. today/6:07 p.m. Saturday Where: Steve 'Coach' Cady Arena, Oxford, Ohio Records: The Bulldogs are 18-11-1 overall and 10-7-1-1 in NCHC; the RedHawks are 18-9-1 and 11-6-1-1. Rankings: The...

Minnesota Duluth at Miami

What: NCHC series

When: 6:35 p.m. today/6:07 p.m. Saturday

Where: Steve ‘Coach’ Cady Arena, Oxford, Ohio

Records: The Bulldogs are 18-11-1 overall and 10-7-1-1 in NCHC; the RedHawks are 18-9-1 and 11-6-1-1.

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Rankings: The Bulldogs are No. 7 in the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls; the RedHawks are No. 6 in both polls.

Series: The Bulldogs lead the all-time series 3-2 after splitting (3-2 loss and 4-3 win) in Duluth earlier this season.

Coaches: Scott Sandelin, in his 15th season at UMD, is 265-256-68; Enrico Blasi, in his 16th season at Miami, is 344-225-57.

TV: Fox College Sports (Saturday only)

Radio: KZIO-FM94.1/104.3

Internet: www.94xrocks.com (audio); www.nchc.tv (video)

Twitter: @mattwellens

Minnesota Duluth update: The Bulldogs are coming off a home split with St. Cloud State. After winning 4-2 on Friday, UMD lost 4-1 on Saturday in what the team called a disappointing effort. Nationally in the PairWise rankings, the Bulldogs climbed from fifth to fourth with the split, meaning if the season ended today UMD would be the fourth and final No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. In the NCHC title race though, the Saturday loss left UMD in the same place it started the weekend, in fourth and four points out of first place with six games left. Fortunately UMD plays two of the three teams ahead of it ― Miami and Nebraska-Omaha next week. In the first series between Miami and UMD on Oct. 31-Nov. 1, the RedHawks scored the lone third-period goal to win the Friday game. On Saturday, Miami tied the game on a penalty shot early in the third, but sophomore defenseman Willie Raskob tallied the game-winner with less than nine minutes remaining in regulation. It was one of his two goals this season. Junior defenseman Andy Welinski scored twice for the Bulldogs in the series. Sophomore center Dominic Toninato, who has missed the previous three games, will travel to Oxford, but it’s unknown whether the team’s leading goal-scorer will play. Freshman forward Blake Young, who left Saturday’s loss with an undisclosed injury, will not make the trip. That leaves the Bulldogs with 12 forwards - including Toninato - eight defenseman and two goaltenders to take to Oxford. Sophomore wing Sammy Spurrell started skating this week, but he didn’t make the trip, either, as he is still recovering from a back injury.

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Miami update: The RedHawks jumped from third into a three-way tie atop the NCHC with North Dakota and Nebraska-Omaha following a road sweep of Colorado College. Miami began the second half of the season with three straight conference losses, but has since won four of five league games with the fifth result being a shootout win. The RedHawks close the season with a trip to Denver and a home series against North Dakota. Senior forward Austin Czarnik has just two goals in 28 games but has an NCHC-leading 27 assists, which ranks third in the country. Juniors Sean Kurlay (14) and Riley Barber (13) lead the team in goals. Senior forward Blake Coleman (10-12-22), who tallied three goals and an assist against UMD in the fall, is third in scoring. Junior goalie Jay Williams (1.66 goals-against average, .927 save percentage) has started the last three games and has won 16 of his 20 appearances this year.

Quote: “This is the last month of the year. This is more playoff-type intensity hockey and we’re gearing up for that. You can’t have let downs because you might get away with it during the regular season, but come playoff time, you have one bad game, you’re done. The mentality needs to be more like that.” - Sandelin.

 

Co-host of the Bulldog Insider Podcast and college hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune and The Rink Live covering the Minnesota Duluth men's and women's hockey programs.
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