WHO: No. 6 North Dakota ????? (1-0-1) at No. 1 Miami RedHawks (0-0-0).
WHERE: Cady Arena, Oxford, Ohio.
WHEN: Friday—7:05 p.m.; Saturday—8:05 p.m.
TV: Friday—CBS College Sports (DirecTV Ch. 211, Dish Network Ch. 152).
MIAMI RADIO: None.
NORTH DAKOTA RADIO: WQHT-FM (96.1), Grand Forks, N.D., both nights.
NOTES: This is arguably the most anticipated matchup in Oxford since Miami hosted Michigan when the teams were ranked first and second in 2007-08.
This is the first series in the history of the NCHC, as none of the other six conference teams open conference play this weekend.
North Dakota, which beat Vermont, 5-3 and tied the Catamounts, 2-2 in Grand Forks last weekend, boast a roster of 15 NHL draft picks.
Junior Rocco Grimaldi, a second-round draftee of the Florida Panthers, is one of the team’s top skaters. He leads the team in points (2-3-5), and he rolled up 13 goals and 23 assists last season.
Sophomore Drake Caggiula is also off to a hot start with a pair of goals and two helpers.
Adam Tambelleni, son of former Edmonton general manager Steve Tambellini and brother of ex-NHLer Jeff Tambellini, is another key to this team, and he has one goal – on his lone shot – and one assist.
Zane Gothberg, a Boston Bruins draftee, posted a 1.21 goals-against average and a .955 save percentage in North Dakota’s opening weekend.
North Dakota’s philosophy isn’t like Miami’s. It doesn’t have any expectations that its top players will play four years in its system before turning pro.
While North Dakota attracts more high-end talent, the RedHawks have lured more lucrative undrafted players in past seasons such as Andy Miele, Carter Camper, Jarod Palmer, Pat Cannone and Vincent LoVerde.
Miami’s biggest question mark is its defense entering conference play, and this will be a huge test for the RedHawks. Seven of North Dakota’s eight blueliners are at least 6-feet-1.