WHO: No. 5 Miami RedHawks (10-3-3) at Ohio State Buckeyes (7-5-4).
WHERE: Value City Arena, Columbus, Ohio.
WHEN: Friday—7:05 p.m.; Saturday—8:05 p.m.
TV: Friday—Big Ten Network (DirecTV channel 610, Dish Network channel 439); Saturday—none.
MIAMI RADIO: Friday—none; Saturday—WMOH-AM (1450) Hamilton, Ohio and WKBV-AM (1490) Richmond, Ind.
OHIO STATE RADIO: WBNS-AM (1460) Columbus, Ohio (feed here: http://www.espncolumbus.com).
NOTES: Ohio State was putting together a solid first half of the season until last weekend, when the Buckeyes went 0-1-1 in a home-and-home series vs. Robert Morris.
OSU is in fourth place in the CCHA with 21 points in 10 games, putting the team in striking distance of Miami if the RedHawks are unable to pick up a win this weekend.
The Buckeyes have struggled to put the puck in the net this season, scoring just 2.06 goals per game.
Sophomore forward Ryan Dzingel, an Ottawa Senators draftee, leads the team in goals (6) and points (14), and sophomore forward Tanner Fritz has 13 points and a team-high 10 helpers.
Among its forwards, another Sens draft pick – sophomore Max McCormick – and sophomore Matt Johnson, have five goals each. McCormick has four assists for nine points and Johnson two helpers and seven points.
Only two other Buckeyes, freshman forward Tyler Lundey and junior forward Chris Crane, have more than one goal. Lundey has three markers and four assists and Crane, who was born in West Chester and drafted by the San Jose Sharks, has three goals and two helpers.
Like Miami, Ohio State does not get a lot of offensive production from its defensemen. Freshman Craig Dalrymple leads Buckeyes blueliners in points with five on a goal and four assists, and senior Devon Krogh and junior New Jersey Devils draftee Curti Gedig have three points each.
Senior Brandon Martell and sophomore Justin DaSilva and Al McLean are also regulars in the Buckeyes’ lineup. Martell and DaSilva have one assist each and McLean has not recorded a point.
Last month OSU lost freshman Chicago Blackhawks draftee Sam Jardine when his wrist was deeply sliced opened by an opponent’s skate, and he is likely out for at least the remainder of this season.
The Buckeyes have struggled on the power play, executing at just an 11.4 percent clip – second-worst in the conference. They have also allowed three shorthanded goals, giving them a net of just five goals on the man advantage.
OSU is killing penalties at an 85.7 percent rate, fifth in the CCHA, and the Buckeyes have allowed just one PPG in their last five games.
Ohio State is sixth in the country in goals-against average (1.94) and leads the CCHA in GAA in conference games (1.40).
The Buckeyes went with a rotation of senior Brady Hjelle and freshman Carolina Hurricanes draft pick Collin Olson early in the season, but Hjelle has played the last four games.
Hjelle, who will likely play both games this weekend, is 5-3-3 with a 1.46 GAA and a .950 save percentage.
Miami had its eight-game unbeaten streak snapped last Saturday in a 1-0 home loss to Lake Superior State. The RedHawks are 4-2 on the road this season and have won their last three away from Cady Arena.
Miami has struggled on the power play, netting just two goals in its last 31 chances, and the RedHawks killed just 4-of-7 penalties last weekend.
Despite combining for just one point last weekend, sophomore Austin Czarnik and freshman Riley Barber are tied for the conference lead in points with 19.
Miami is fourth in the CCHA in scoring, averaging 2.88 goals per game and is second in goals allowed (1.75).
A major reason for the latter is the freshman goaltending duo of Jay Williams and Ryan McKay. Williams, who will likely start on Friday, has a 2.15 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage.
McKay’s GAA is 0.48 and he boasts a .983 save percentage in five games. McKay should get the nod on Saturday.
These teams are first and second in the conference in penalty minutes per game, and they are major rivals, so Miami will need to keep its composure and avoid bad penalties.
Any bad blood from this weekend could carry over to the Three Rivers Classic, as these teams will face each other for the third straight game in the tournament opener.
Miami went 3-1 against Ohio State last season and won both games in Columbus.