Six key points will be at stake between the CCHA's top two teams this weekend
Miami will travel to Kalamazoo to take on Western Michigan in a match-up of the CCHA's top two teams. Miami currently leads the CCHA with 44 points, but Western Michigan is right on their heels with 43 points. Notre Dame is next closest with 38 points in third place, but has been fading quickly of late. With just four weekends remaining in the regular season, this series could end up deciding who wins the final CCHA regular season title.
Western Michigan has the home ice advantage, but does come into the weekend a little shorthanded. Defenseman Garrett Haar is still a week away from returning from injury, so he won't be available for either game. Meanwhile, Western Michigan will be without two players for Friday night's game due to suspensions received in a physical tilt last Saturday against Ferris State. Defenseman Dennis Brown received a game disqualification for hitting from behind, while forward Justin Kovacs was given a one-game suspension from the CCHA for running into Ferris State goalie. Brown's suspension is of particular concern because he is one of the key catalysts to the Bronco's conference-best power play, having scored a team high 11 assists on the power play this year, and because with Haar's injury, Western Michigan will have to turn to senior forward Ben Miller, who has appeared in just four games this year, to fill the sixth defenders spot.
Miami, meanwhile, has been getting the job done by relying on their talented underclassmen.They come into the series having won five games in a row, including two straight conference sweeps over Bowling Green and Alaska.
This series figures to be a low-scoring affair, with both teams allowing less than two goals per game in conference play. It should make for a tight, playoff-style affair, with a pair of games that go right down to the buzzer. Unfortunately, neither game is being televised nationally