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NMU Hockey Series Snapshot: The RedHawks flew to Marquette, but their wings are not tired

January 11, 2013 - Matt Wellens

MARQUETTE — The Northern Michigan University hockey team returns to the Berry Events Center at 7:35 p.m. tonight and tomorrow to host the Miami RedHawks in the first CCHA series for both teams dating all the way back to Dec. 14-15.

The RedHawks flew to Marquette in a puddle jumper. No word on whether they brought Swoop along to help get that thing from Oxford to Sawyer.

Miami (12-4-4 overall, 8-3-3 in CCHA) finished its 2012 portion of CCHA play with a sweep at Ohio State and currently sits tied with Notre Dame atop the league standings with 30 points.

Meanwhile, the Wildcats got swept at Lake Superior State and are 20 points back of the the league leaders in last place following Bowling Green’s butt kicking of Michigan on Tuesday night.

Since those series, NMU has swept St. Cloud State in St. Cloud, Minn., — giving NMU head coach Walt Kyle wins No. 200 and 201 of his career — while the RedHawks finished with a nonconference win over Ohio State and loss to Robert Morris at the Three Rivers Classic in Pittsburgh.

This could be the last time Wildcat fans see the RedHawks in Marquette, though history shows few in the U.P. have ever seen Miami. The MAC school that will join the NCHC next season — while NMU heads to the WCHA — has never been a premier draw in Marquette.

Last season, future WCHA rivals and current CCHA rivals Lake Superior State and Ferris State both outdrew Miami at the BEC.

Miami didn’t visit Marquette in 2010-11, but in 2009-10, future leaguemates Bowling Green, Bemidji State, LSSU and Alaska all outdrew Miami at the BEC.

There was a reason NMU chose the Miami series this weekend as their $10 Black Friday deal back in November.

Of course, you’d think the RedHawks would be more of a draw this week due to a pair of high-profile players in freshman forwards Riley Barber and Sean Kuraly. Both helped Team USA win gold at the recent IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships.

Barber, who along with sophomore forward Austin Czarnik leads the CCHA in scoring with 22 points, was an offensive force for Team USA. The Washington Capitals draft pick posted three goals and three assists in seven games for Team USA.

Barber and Czarnik have helped boost the Miami offense to fourth in the CCHA, while players like senior defensman Joe Hartman have led the RedHawk defense to No. 1 in the CCHA, giving up only 1.55 goals per game.

Like the The Journal-News, I too feature a defenseman on this week in sophomore Mitch Jones. The Delta, British Columbia native’s defensive skills, however, weren’t the subject of the story. Instead the focus was on his move to center

and what that brings to the struggling NMU offense.

Jones spent some time as a forward early in his junior hockey career and as a midget before his growth spurt moved him back to defense. Jones also has experience at forward in lacrosse, a sport he turned pro in back in September.

Jones is a third-round draft pick of the Washington Stealth of the National Lacrosse League and will join the team following the NMU hockey season, only to return again to the Wildcats in the fall.

Game notes time. The RedHawks can be found here.

Northern, which had three of the four CCHA Players of the Week, has its game notes posted here.

NMU offers a live video stream that costs $7 per game.

The Point 100.3 FM offers a free audio stream on its website with Dave Danis on the call as always.

The Wildcats back at home means I will once again rule your Twitter timeline. Give me a follow for updates and analysis before, during and after the games. Should I land in Twitter jail due to too much ruling of your timeline, switch over to my Facebook page for updates.



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The RedHawks board the plane for Marquette. (Miami University photo)