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MAC Hockey Preview: Can Miami and UMass Get Some Wins?

With games against teams currently at the bottom of their conferences, Miami and UMass look to pick up some much needed wins while Bowling Green returns to action and looks to continue their rise up the WCHA ladder.

It's no secret Miami and UMass have been slumping lately. Miami is just 2-8-2 since November 15th while the Minutemen have not won a game, outside of a small 3 game win streak in December, since the start of November. This week the two teams hope to break their cold streaks with series against Colorado College and Merrimack respectively.

Meanwhile, Bowling Green, who has been hot as of late, return to action at home against a Lake Superior State team that was ranked as recently as a month ago. The Lakers, like the RedHawks and Minutemen, have also been struggling, with just 2 wins since the end of November. But enough of the talk, let's get right into the games.

Miami @ Colorado College

Someone has to lose in this series. Well, sorta. Both teams have been just awful in NCHC play, with the Tigers actually picking up their only 2 wins on the year in conference play. To make things worse, Colorado College has only won a single game since their season opener. That's about 3+ months of hockey in which you only see a sole victory. That's about as rough as you can get.

Meanwhile, Miami was once #1 in the nation and considered a national title contender. Now, their offense has stalled and their goaltending has been shaky at best. Enrico Blasi still has one of the best 1-2 punches in Austin Czarnik and Riley Barber, but their supporting cast has gone missing.

Looking at the Tigers offense, one can't help but feel good about their chances. Colorado College has the 2nd worst offense in the NCAA, and one of the weaker power-play units as well. The Tiger defense isn't much better. If Miami ever needed a confidence booster, this would be the weekend to get it. Coach Blasi and company should take care of business, rather easily too. Miami 4-1, Miami 3-1

Lake Superior State @ Bowling Green

As mentioned above, LSSU was once ranked before having a rough few weeks. However, a look at their schedule shows just one bad loss, at home against Michigan Tech. You can argue the sweep to the hands of Bemidji State also wasn't good, but it's not season altering.

When these two teams last met in Sault St Marie, the Lakers won both games in 4-3 affairs. That was the last games before their slump. They haven't produced 4 goals in two games since, and have allowed 3 goals in most of those same games. Bowling Green is solid at home as well, and should come out with some solid points. BGSU 3-2, BGSU 2-0

Merrimack vs UMass

Merrimack's record can be deceiving. They sit 6-12-3 with a 1-6-2 record in conference. However, if you look at their schedule, you see a gauntlet that could cripple even some of the best teams. They have held their own, with a couple close losses, and actually have a game on Boston U and two games on UMass, the two teams directly above them in the Hockey East.

The Merrimack offense tends to be spotty though, with some poor performances speckled around decent showings. The power-play only operates at about 15%, but they rely heavily on defense. Their PK unit kills about 84% of their penalties, limiting opponents with only about 13 penalty minutes per game. If UMass can steal a game at home, when Merrimack is just 1-8-2 on the road, it would be huge. UMass 2-1, Merrimack 3-1