Three things: Nov. 23

RedHawks sitting pretty in first place
Seventh-ranked Miami has plenty to be thankful heading into their Thanksgiving break, not least of all the fact that they moved into first place in the NCHC last weekend.

The RedHawks found themselves at the top of the league’s eight-team pile after downing former CCHA rival Western Michigan twice in Oxford, Ohio. After beating the Broncos 1-0 on Friday, the RedHawks’ offense came to life in the rematch en route to a 5-2 triumph.

In the attacking sense, Friday provided Miami with something of a struggle. Backstopped well by goaltender Jay Williams, the RedHawks were outshot 27-23 by Western and were made to make a Blake Coleman power play goal 3:20 into the game stand up as the winner.

On Saturday, a big goal-scoring outburst in the second period put Miami over the top. Western opened the game’s scoring through Will Kessel at 3:41 of the period, but the RedHawks then scored four goals in 7:20 during the frame to turn the game on its head and make the points safe.

Miami (10-4-0, 6-2-0 NCHC) will be idle this next weekend before welcoming to Oxford another former CCHA rival Nebraska-Omaha on Dec. 5-6.

Ortega, Mavericks send a message to North Dakota
Speaking of UNO, it appears the Mavericks were trying to make a statement on Saturday during their 4-1 win over Minnesota-Duluth.

They had a point to prove to themselves, too, though. On Friday, UNO found itself up 2-0 in the second period of the Mavericks’ first home game in a month and a half, but the Bulldogs rattled off three unanswered tallies in the third period to nab a 3-2 win.

UMD gained the upper hand early in the rematch when a shot from Kyle Osterberg found the back of the net 4:40 into the game. After that, however, UNO took over and even picked up its game-winning goal through Austin Ortega – his first of two tallies on Saturday – before the opening frame was over.

The Mavericks (7-2-1, 3-1-0) are heading up I-29 later this week to meet up with second-ranked North Dakota. The two-game set in Grand Forks could end up being a defensive struggle between the top and third-best defenses in the NCHC.

Speaking after Saturday’s win over Duluth, though, Ortega took what he felt was an opportunity to send a shot across the bow.

“Tonight we were able to get up on the board; we really showed we’re a scoring team,” Ortega said. “Kind of sending a message to North Dakota that we can score on any goalie out there.”

CC takes one step forward, another back
To a certain degree, it feels as though Colorado College built itself up on Friday only to knock itself back down the following night.

In front of 7,081 fans on Friday in Colorado Springs, the Tigers scored three second-period goals and were able to cruise to a 5-2 victory over Wisconsin. The game saw CC snap its seven-game winless losing streak while Wisconsin – I repeat: Wisconsin – inexplicably fell to 0-7-0 on the season.

The Tigers had every reason to feel good about themselves late on Friday night, as they’d performed well in front of a huge home World Arena crowd and looked as though they’d started to figure it out after a rough start to the season. On Saturday, though, CC fell back to earth.

The Tigers made the short trip to Cadet Ice Arena to face local rival Air Force, and it was on the Falcons’ home ice that they picked up a 3-1 win over CC. Charlie Taft opened the scoring for the Tigers 99 seconds into the game, but AFA scored twice in 32 seconds later in the opening period and got all the insurance it needed in the second.

It wasn’t altogether for a lack of trying – Falcons goaltender Chris Truehl made 35 saves in the winning effort – but being beat soundly by a local nemesis hours after defeating a Big Ten school and former WCHA foe had to sting.

CC (3-8-0, 0-5-0) is off for Thanksgiving weekend before heading northwest to face eighth-ranked UMD on Dec. 5-6.