Here are three things Colorado College hockey needs to focus on headed into its home National Collegiate Hockey Conference series against Miami at 7:37 p.m. Friday and 7:07 Saturday at World Arena:
1. Turn the page on the first two-thirds of the season
The Tigers (2-16-4, 2-7-3-1 NCHC) need to focus on the next 12 league games starting this weekend against the seventh-place RedHawks (9-10-3, 3-8-1-1). If CC plays well, it has a chance to vault ahead of the Redhawks, 0-3-1-1 since the holiday break. Remember, 72 league points are up for grabs so the race for home playoff ice is wide open at the moment.
"We're close," said CC senior wing Alexander Krushelnyski, who has four multipoint contests this month. "We have to find a way to win a hockey game and close out games."
2. Keep track of Miami's dangerous forwards
The RedHawks have two Hobey Baker candidates in sophomore Riley Barber (32 points, 14 goals) and junior Austin Czarnik (29, 10 goals) but the secondary scorers also should concern the Tigers. Sophomore second-line center Sean Kuraly (17, 11 assists) and freshman Anthony Louis (10, six assists) have played well this season. The RedHawks do miss junior Blake Coleman (16, 10 goals) who has been out of the lineup since Dec. 6 (five games) with an upper-body injury.
3. Win the special teams battle
Despite having those potent forwards, Miami's power play has struggled of late, going 1 for 26, thanks to a score by Barber, since Jan. 1. It also gave up three short-handed goals to rival Western Michigan on Jan. 10-11.
CC has done better since the break, clicking at 50 percent through the first three games, but going scoreless (0-for-11) last weekend.
"Special teams are going to be huge," Tigers coach Scott Owens said. "We need to get back to what worked for us before; getting the puck on net and creating chances. We need to be better."