Nebraska-Omaha hockey has their hands full this weekend as the #2 Miami Redhawks head to town this weekend. These two teams met to start the conference season, with the Redhawks sweeping in Miami. The games were a little closer than the score indicated, as the Friday night game was 4-2 Miami with five minutes left and the Saturday night game was 3-2 Miami with just over a minute left. Now, UNO gets them at home and with a little more experience, not to mention Juha Uotila, who is back in the lineup after missing the fall semester due to grade issues.
UNO is going to need to play their best hockey of the year this weekend. They showed signs of that this past weekend in sweeping Western Michigan, with the only goals coming off of defensive breakdowns resulting in odd-man rushes. In order to have a chance, UNO is going to have to eliminate those breakdowns, as Miami will capitalize on any and all mistakes, much like they did in November. One of the strangest stats is how UNO has been outshooting it's opponents all season, yet getting outscored. UNO seems to play great defense about 80% of the time, but when they make a mistake, the puck inevitably ends up in the back of the net.
This series will set the tone for the rest of the season, as UNO currently sits in fifth place in the CCHA... get swept, and the teams behind UNO in the standings inch closer to the Mavs. On the other hand, any points UNO gets will not only solidify their position, it could be the spark that UNO needs down the stretch.