OXFORD, Ohio – Well, maybe it’s best to look at the weekend as a whole.
After an epic win over No. 5 Cornell on Friday, Miami dropped a 4-0 decision at Cady Arena on Saturday to finish the weekend with a split.
Back to the old cliché that if you knew heading into the series that the RedHawks would take 1 of 2 against the fifth-ranked team in Division I, would you be happy with that?
Most would probably say yes, especially considering Miami is a .500 team right now.
Yeah, Saturday was forgettable. There were the defensive lapses, poor officiating and the inability of the RedHawks to do anything offensively the first two periods.
The game was pretty much over when the Big Red (10-2) fired the third goal in, 38 seconds after their second, as a player stood wide open in the slot waiting for a pass.
The better team took advantage of two early power plays and lackadaisical play on the third, then coasted the final 47 minutes, as Cornell entered play allowing 2.00 goals and 23.6 shots per game.
Shut down is the Big Red’s specialty.
Miami needs to find to way to overcome that vs. the balance of its NCHC slate chock full of high-ranked teams.
No forward not named Melnick, Green or Gilling has recorded a point in the past three games.
– Another disclaimer that we try to keep official criticism to a minimum, but this group of refs Nick Krebsbach and Brad Shepherd and linesmen Ryan Madsen and Paul Karnathan were truly brutal.
The Grant Hutton call on Friday was nowhere near a major, and yet they initially ruled a game disqualification against the defenseman, which carries and automatic suspension before reducing it to a 5-and-10.
It’s hard to believe that was a miscommunication issue between the on- and off-ice officials, and the off-ice officials relayed a DQ penalty to the PA announcer.
– Then there was the faceoff fiasco. Gilling had an in-depth discussion with a lineman before a drop on Friday, and in this game, Gilling took exception to a Cornell foe’s positioning, and he was booted by one of the refs after he refused to move into faceoff position.
Gilling later received a 10-minute misconduct, and interestingly did not return.
Alec Mahalak was drilled in the head at his own blue line. No call.
To be fair, the loss shouldn’t be blamed on officiating, but it hurts the integrity of the game.
Cornell was the better team and deserved to win. But film of this series will not be used in the how-to portion of the officials’ training videos.
– No forward not named Gilling, Melnick or Green recorded a point on the weekend.
– With Gilling gone, Karch Bachman joined the Green-Melnick line but results were inconclusive.
FORWARDS: F. Just 17 shots and obviously no goals. Once again a key member of this corps was out of action for an extended period of time for arguing (Gilling). Not much going on at all after the top line.
DEFENSEMEN: C+. The first two Cornell goals were scored on the power play, and the third was on a breakdown in slot coverage. This corps wasn’t a huge factor in the outcome.
GOALTENDING: B-. Ryan Larkin was 19 of 22 and was pulled with five minutes left and Miami down by three. The first goal was very stoppable, but the next two on a tip-in and a point-blank shot, respectively.
LINEUP CHANGES: On defense, Scott Dornbrock returned to the lineup as Rourke Russell sat. Russell had played 14 of the first 15 games, and Dornbrock has missed just two contests. Zach LaValle was back on the ice in favor of Austin Alger, who logged limited minutes in his return from injury on Friday.
OXFORD, Ohio – Special teams are the main reason Miami won on Friday, but a night later they were the RedHawks’ nemesis.
No. 5 Cornell scored three times in the first 13 minutes and handed Miami its first shutout of the season, 4-0 at Cady Arena on Saturday.
The Big Red (10-2) netted goals on each of their first two power plays, added a third tally 35 seconds after that second PPG and tacked on an empty netter. They were perfect on three penalty kills.
On Friday, the RedHawks scored just two times with both goals coming on the man advantage, and they were 4-for-4 on the PK.
At the 9:24 mark of the first period, Cornell’s Anthony Angello skated from behind the goal line to the outside edge of the faceoff circle and whipped a low shot that snuck through the pads of Miami goalie Ryan Larkin.
A wrist shot from the blue line by the Big Red’s Yanni Kaldis was deflected by Trevor Yates and past Larkin just 2:37 after the first goal.
And 38 seconds after that, Kyle Bettis netted his first career goal, ripping one home from the slot off a centering feed by Alex Rauter.
That put Miami (7-7-2) down three against a fifth-ranked Cornell team that came into the game allowing 2.00 goals per game.
The RedHawks actually outshot the Big Red, 18-13 the final 40 minutes but could not solve goalie Hayden Stewart, who played the third period on Friday in relief.
He finished with 26 saves and his first shutout of the season. It was the first time Miami had been blanked since Jan. 21 vs. Nebraska-Omaha.
The loss snapped a four-game unbeaten streak for MU, which fell back to .500.
Casey Gilling received a misconduct penalty in the second period, the team’s fifth 10-minute penalty in five games. Miami has been assessed 113 penalty minutes in its last five games.
The RedHawks completed their non-conference schedule as well as their 2017 home slate. They travel to Western Michigan next weekend to wrap up the pre-Christmas Break portion of their schedule.
OXFORD, Ohio – Poll your average fan on what he or she thinks Miami’s odds of winning would be if the team was down a goal four minutes in, and two minutes later faced a five-minute penalty kill against the fifth-best team in the NCAA.
And for good measure, was without elite defenseman Grant Hutton for the balance of the game.
That was the RedHawks’ predicament early on Friday, and yet they rallied to a 2-1 victory over No. 5 Cornell at Cady Arena.
Like the UMD win sparked by Chaz Switzer’s fighting major, Miami’s emotions were tapped when Hutton was ejected for checking from behind.
The call, which for the record should’ve been a minor and no more, was initially read as a major and a game disqualification, which carries with it a compulsory suspension. It was announced at the first intermission Hutton actually received a game misconduct, which means he was done for the night but would be eligible on Saturday.
And if we take the player in question into account, Hutton had 50 penalty minutes in 86 career games entering this one. Zero major penalties.
Quite impressive considering this is a guy that logs more minutes than anyone on the team except possibly Louie Belpedio and defends opponents’ top forwards every night while playing a physical, punishing game.
Back to the game: Hutton out, five defensemen left. And oh yeah, Big Red were badly outplaying Miami to this point.
But instead of folding, Miami killed the penalty.
Seemingly galvanized by the Hutton incident and gaining momentum from the PK, the RedHawks took advantage of their first power play and tied it.
Then another confrontation: Six-three sophomore Willie Knierim ended up in a scrap with Morgan Barron, with both getting the boot in the closing minutes of the second period.
Miami netted the go-ahead goal with 54 seconds left in that frame.
The third period was excruciating, as the RedHawks went into late survival mode – a documented area of weakness for this team in recent years – and they turned the last 20 minutes into a giant penalty kill.
It was a gutsy win, an improbable win, and with team’s place in the Division I world still a bit of a question mark, Miami helped its resume royally by putting this one into the ‘W’ column.
– The chemistry evolution of Josh Melnick and Gordie Green has a delight to watch. These guys could probably complete passes to each other in the dark.
– Couldn’t believe Cornell, which played so well defensively, let Green skate in and score the go-ahead goal. He corralled a pass from Casey Gilling at the top of the faceoff circle and was unchallenged. So he penetrated and no one went to him. So he drove further and wired one home, lifting it over a sprawling defender.
– That was the second and third major penalties for Miami in its past four games, and its third and fourth 10-minute misconduct, three of which have been for the game. In that span the RedHawks have 91 penalty minutes.
– Melnick’s four-game point streak is the third-longest by anyone on the team. Melnick also had a five-game run earlier this season, and Green went five straight with at least one point as well.
– CU starting goalie Matthew Galadja was pulled after 40 minutes. He allowed two goals on 10 shots through two periods, and while the Gilling shot appeared stoppable, Green’s goal was point blank and ticketed for the corner. Backup Hayden Stewart only faced three shots in the final stanza but stopped them all.
FORWARDS: C-. Definitely a case in which the results were much better than the process. Gilling and Green scored power play goals, but this corps was practically non-existent the rest of the game. Miami was down to 10 forwards for the final 24 minutes with Knierim booted and Austin Alger – in his first game back from injury – very limited in ice time. Kiefer Sherwood committed several turnovers in the first period, including one that ultimately led to the Cornell goal.
DEFENSEMEN: B. The Big Red finished with 30 shots, but not a ton were Grade-A chances. Cornell seemingly possessed the puck 80 percent of the game, especially early in the first period and the entire third, yet this corps playing with five – down a huge minutes eater in Hutton – did not seem to wear down. Scott Dornbrock didn’t dress for this one either, so this was an exceptionally young group post-Grant, with a senior (Louie Belpedio), two sophomores and two freshmen.
GOALTENDING: A-. Lots happened and that’s the only reason it takes this far down to reach the Ryan Larkin love-fest in this game. As mentioned, not a ton of exceptional chances but Larkin stopped all but one of the good ones, and the only Cornell shot that went in was on a wrister from the high slot through traffic. He stopped all 12 he faced in the third period and finished with 29 saves, which believe it or not ties a season high.
LINEUP CHANGES: For the second time in six games, Dornbrock was out. He had not missed a game since October of his sophomore year prior to the past month. Switzer returned to the ice after serving his two-game suspension. Grant Frederic remained in the lineup after taking Switzer’s place last weekend. F Zach LaValle also sat for the third time in five games after missing just three contests in all of 2016-17. Alger came back from an upper-body injury that cost him five starts.
OXFORD, Ohio – Miami was outshot by more than a 2-to-1 ratio and finished with its lowest shot output of the season.
But the RedHawks scored on both of their power play chances and rode 29 saves by goalie Ryan Larkin to a 2-1 win over No. 5 Cornell at Cady Arena on Friday.
It was the first meeting between these teams in Oxford, and Miami was swept in a two-game set in Ithaca last season. The Big Red finished with 30 shots to Miami’s 13.
The night certainly did not start off well for the RedHawks.
A wrister by Alex Rauter hit the top corner of the net, putting Cornell (9-2) ahead 3:59 into the first period.
Just over 2:30 later, Miami defenseman Grant Hutton was ejected for a checking-from-behind major.
In addition to being one of the RedHawks’ top penalty killers, Hutton leads college hockey with six power play goals.
But Miami (7-6-2) killed the five-minute man advantage, and on a power play of their own, the RedHawks tied it with 3:25 left in the opening frame. Casey Gilling’s seeing-eye wrist shot from the top of the faceoff circle snuck in the far corner of the net.
With 54 seconds left in the second period, Gordie Green took a pass from Gilling, penetrated on the left wing and buried a shot, top shelf to put Miami ahead.
The RedHawks survived a furious Big Red surge in the third period, as they were outshot, 12-3.
Miami has been exceptional in both facets of special teams recently, as the team is 5-for-10 in its last three games on the man-advantage and has played four straight contests without allowing a power play goal.
Green and Gilling both finished with a goal and an assist. It was Gilling’s first career multi-point game, and the fifth of the season for Green, who leads the team in assists (11) and points (17).
Josh Melnick and Louie Belpedio also picked up assists for the RedHawks. Melnick extended his points streak to four games, and Belpedio has six points in his last six games.
Miami stretched its unbeaten streak to four and are a game over .500 for the second time this season.
These teams wrap up their weekend series at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday.
WHO: No. 5 Cornell Big Red (9-1-0) at Miami RedHawks (6-6-2).
WHEN: Friday, 7:35 p.m.; Saturday–7:05 p.m.
WHERE: Cady Arena, Oxford, Ohio.
CORNELL RADIO: WHCU-AM (870, WHCU-FM (95.5), Ithaca, N.Y.
NOTES: Following a four-year run of mediocrity, Cornell is a rejuvenated hockey team.
The Big Red were a force the first few years of this century, advancing to the NCAA Tournament seven of 11 seasons starting in 2001.
But Following that run, Cornell won no more than 17 games four straight campaigns and did not compete on college hockey’s biggest stage.
That trend reversed quickly, as 23rd-year coach Mike Schafer’s squad won 21 games last season and after a 9-1 start this fall, it has has a .722 winning percentage since the start of 2016-17.
Cornell moved up two places after wins over Niagara and Boston University last week, and its lone loss this season was to then-No. 8 Clarkson on Nov. 18.
The Big Red have also beaten Quinnipiac and Harvard this season, so their early-season resume is legitimate.
And this is a team built to win for a while, as only one senior (Trevor Yates) has played all 10 games, and in addition to Yates, who is 7-4-11, a freshman and sophomore round out the top three in team scoring.
Yates leads the team in goals and points, and Morgan Barron and Jeff Malott both have three goals and six assists for nine points. Barron is the rookie, Malott the sophomore.
Anthony Angello and Mitch Vanderlaan have two goals and five assists each, and Beau Starett is 1-5-6. All are juniors.
Cornell’s defense corps has scored 11 goals but combined for just 13 assists. Alec McCrea leads Big Red blueliners with four goals, but he has just one assist.
Defensemen Brendan Smith (no relation to the former Miami F/D of the same name) and Yanni Kaldis have five points each.
This blue line corps may not rack up the points, but it has shut down its opponents in the shot column. Cornell allows just 23.6 shots per game.
Freshman Matthew Galajda has started all 10 games in net for the Big Red, going 8-1-0 with a 2.04 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage. Senior Hayden Stewart pitched 40 minutes of relief earlier this season and is 1-0, 1.50, .929.
Cornell is sixth in Division I scoring at 3.60 goals per game and third in goals against (2.00). The Big Red also rank in the top 20 on both the power play and penalty kill.
These teams have met six times, but none have come in Oxford. Each team has won three times.
Last season’s series vs. Cornell was less than memorable for the RedHawks. They gave up three unanswered third-period goals in a 4-3 loss in the opener and falling behind by two early in a 2-1 defeat in the finale.
Miami’s other loss to the Big Red came in the opening round of the 1997 NCAA Tournament.
The RedHawks are riding a three-game unbeaten streak (2-0-1) and are 4-2 in their last six home games.
Josh Melnick recorded three points vs. Cornell last season, and Carson Meyer scored once in each game.
This is the last non-conference series of 2017-18 for Miami and the team’s last home series of the calendar year. The RedHawks will host just one more series prior to February and have only eight home games on their slate after this weekend.
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – Ahh, 6-on-5 hockey.
Earlier this month it helped Miami tie that Colorado College home game in regulation, which eventually turned into a win.
But over the past eight years it has largely been RedHawk kryptonite, including Saturday’s 2-2 tie at the Slater Family Ice Arena in which Bowling Green scored the equalizer with 37.8 seconds left in the third period.
It was also the second time in 2017-18 Miami surrendered a decision-altering goal against in the final minute. Providence beat the RedHawks by scoring with 0.9 seconds left opening weekend.
An inability to close out wins is a legitimate criticism of Miami teams the past few years, but to the team’s credit it runs 6-on-5 drills all the time in practice.
Is it coaching? Is it heart? Is it just bad luck? Is it a statistical anomaly? Hard to say, but it’s definitely real.
On the flip side, there were 13 goals scored this weekend, and the RedHawks had eight of them in a road series against a team ranked in the top one-fourth of the PairWise.
They went 1-0-1 on Friday and Saturday, their best road series record since sweeping Nebraska-Omaha in late January of 2016. That was 22 months ago.
Overall Miami deserves a grade of ‘B’ for the weekend, but it would be tough to finish one or two spots out of the NCAA Tournament field because the RedHawks saw a win flipped to a tie because of yet another extra-attacker goal.
– Here were go with another edition of meaningless-3-on-3-exhibitions-suck. Regular readers have heard this rant before and can move on to the next long dash.
But seriously, can anyone please tell me why, for the love of God, we’re risking injury to some of the best Division I hockey athletes, for a demonstration between two non-conference opponents? It was 2-2 after the requisite five-minute overtime. So the game is officially a tie. Just leave it at that.
For whatever reason the teams played a five-minute 3-on-3 afterward, and while it was announced that the game had been completed, few on or off the ice got the memo. With a game story to complete on this end, following a mad ending to the actual game – which was highly entertaining, by the way – there was zero attention given to the skills competition on the deteriorating ice that was 30 minutes of game play old. Apparently BGSU won that, because the team and fans celebrated like they won Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final. In reality it meant absolutely nothing.
College hockey wants it both ways in this situation. It detests ties, so it creates “decisions” through artificial means like these. But the “wins” are utterly meaningless, and the process does a disservice to its fans.
We asked about going to a 4-on-4 for overtime like the NHL did, and the NCAA’s position – according to a conversation with NCHC commissioner and NCAA rules committee member Josh Fenton a couple years ago – is that college hockey believes overtime should be played by the same rules as regulation, and that means five players a side.
If conferences choose to alter rules beyond those five minutes, they may do so, but for NCAA purposes a game needs to be 5-on-5 for 65 minutes. After that, the league can hold an arm-wrestling competition at center ice to determine a “winner” from a points perspective if it so chooses.
OK. Respect that argument. Don’t agree, but respect it.
But the reality of that position is few games are resolved in five minutes of 5×5. It was 22 percent in the last sample studied on this end. In the NHL, which uses 4×4, that percentage jumps to between 40 and 50, depending on the season.
That leaves 78 percent of games that are tied through three periods, and the NCAA feels a compulsory need to generate a non-tie outcome at the expense of legitimacy.
Please, either break all ties by sane means or cut down the chance of ties and leave the occasional one alone.
– Love the weekend series at the in-state rival and hope these two can play four a year, since Ohio State has decided to bail on its annual home-and-home with Miami. The RedHawks and Bowling Green are less than three hours distance driving, and the teams can drive back on Saturday nights to cut out on the expense of a second game-night hotel stay.
– Staff at BGSU was top notch. Lots of Miami fans were in attendance, and the games got chippy, but never saw or heard about any problems.
– Ryan Larkin’s save percentage is not where he would want it, but he had a solid weekend. He faced a lot of high-percentage shots and stopped most.
– Grant Hutton and Louie Belpedio are giving the RedHawks a dominant defensive tandem it has not had in some time. One wonders if Belpedio was ever truly healthy in 2016-17 and Hutton seemingly gets better each shift.
– Didn’t think the penalty shot should’ve been awarded. It was close though. Kiefer Sherwood did all he could to prevent the goal and did commit a penalty, but it should’ve just been a two-minute power play.
FORWARDS: C-. Only two points from this entire corps: Josh Melnick’s goal for his tip-in and Gordie Green’s assist for an outlet pass that hit Belpedio in stride, as he crossed the blue line and blasted one home. Carson Meyer has to stop taking penalties – he had 12 more PIM in this one.
DEFENSEMEN: B. Belpedio fired the shots that resulted in both Miami goals. Hutton picked up an assist. Both were stellar defensively. This group was shaky in the first period but got better as the game progressed.
GOALTENDING: B+. Larkin faced a lot of quality chances as usual, and the only goals he allowed were on a penalty shot and a well-placed wrister from the high slot on a 6-on-5.
LINEUP CHANGES: There was only one: Casey Gilling was back in the lineup, sending Carter Johnson to the bench. It was the first game missed by Gilling all season.
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – Miami came within 37.8 seconds of its first road series sweep in nearly two years.
But a final-minute wrister from the high slot by Bowling Green’s Alec Rauhauser beat RedHawks goalie Ryan Larkin on the glove side as BGSU salvaged a 2-2 tie at the Slater Family Ice Arena on Saturday.
The RedHawks won the series opener, 6-3 on Friday.
It was all Falcons in the first period, as they outshot MU, 10-4 and took the early lead.
Bowling Green (6-5-4) was awarded a penalty shot as Brandon Kruse was taken down by Kiefer Sherwood while streaking toward the net unabated with 34 seconds left in the first period, and he converted to make it 1-0.
Miami (6-6-2) tied it with 13:28 left in the second period when a blue line rip by Belpedio was partially deflected by Josh Melnick and into the corner of the net.
The penalty box door was open much of the first two periods, as the teams combined for 40 minutes, including four roughing penalties, two slashings and a 10-minute misconduct on the RedHawks’ Carson Meyer.
Belpedio skated across the blue line uncontested and blasted one by Bowling Green goalie Ryan Bednard with 6:51 left in regulation.
Following Belpedio’s goal, Miami had to kill a cross-checking penalty and nearly survived two more minutes of 6-on-5 hockey in an attempt to preserve the win.
Belpedio had two more point-blank chances in the final minute of overtime, but Bednard denied both.
With his goal and assist, Belpedio has five points in five contests. Melnick has scored in three straight games and has five points in his last five games, and it was the second career helper for Russell.
Miami returns home for its final two non-conference games of the season, as the RedHawks host Cornell. Game times are 7:35 p.m. and 7:05 p.m. for Friday and Saturday, respectively.
MIAMI 0-1-1-0 – 2
at BGSU 1-0-1-0 – 2
First period—1. BGSU, Kruse 3, pen. shot, 19:26.
Second period–2. Miami U., Melnick 6 (Belpedio, Russell) 6:32.
Third period–3. Miami U., Belpedio 5 (Green, Hutton) 13:09; 4. BGSU, Rauhauser 4 (D’Andrea, Baylis) 19:22.
Shots on goal–Miami U. 4-13-4-4–25. BGSU 10-8-7-1–26. Power plays–Miami U., 1-for-4; BGSU, 0-for-4. Goalies–Miami U., Larkin (24 of 26 shots saved); BGSU, Bednard (23-25).Officials–Referees: Tony Czech, Dan Kovarik; Linesmen: Frank Hempel, T.J. Likens.
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – Comfortably ahead by two goals in the second period, Miami saw its lead evaporate in less than 4:00 and under 10 minutes of real time on Friday.
The RedHawks’ response? Score twice in the closing minutes of the decisive period, tack on an empty netter in the closing seconds and most importantly hold Bowling Green without a goal the remainder of the game.
That combination spelled a 6-3 win for Miami at the Slater Family Ice Arena in Bowling Green.
It was the sixth win of the season for the RedHawks, who won nine all of 2016-17. And the above is a major difference between that campaign and this one.
It seems like Miami was in a ton of games that got away last season. The RedHawks haven’t been exempt from the occasional collapse this fall, but they’ve still found ways to earn several wins when they’ve suffered through major in-game hiccups.
And on Friday they did that on the road and without faceoff leader Casey Gilling.
Things won’t always go Miami’s way the remainder of the season. Injuries, bad calls, unlucky bounces are all parts of the game.
But at least Miami is proving way better at handling them than last season.
– Forgot to mention in the preview that Chaz Switzer was suspended two games total for his fighting major last Saturday. One game is mandated by the NCAA and the other by the league. What a joke. – Meyer likes the off-balance shots.
– It was Carter Johnson’s first game of the season, as he was the fourth line left wing with Casey Gilling out, and Johnson played like every shift would be his last. It can’t be an easy season for Johnson, a scratch the first 12 games after logging 37 in 2016-17, but he proved Friday he can be counted on for quality minutes if/when his number is called again.
– Carson Meyer really likes taking off-balance shots, perhaps more than any Miamian in recent history. He scored while nearly falling down last weekend and accurately wired a pair of shots in the same manor on Friday from the slot.
– Bowling Green goals two and three both came on defensive breakdowns, which was a team MO last season and an area of improvement this year. Miami left the slot wide open for the second Falcons goal, and a BGSU forward burst through three RedHawks for a breakaway to tie it (and Miami was lucky it wasn’t assessed an additional penalty on the play). Gotta tighten up the D.
FORWARDS: B+. Crisp passing, solid puck control, four total goals by this corps. It was a good night overall despite missing Gilling. Three goals in three games for Meyer is a major pick-me-up, and Kiefer Sherwood was more involved in the game as well.
DEFENSEMEN: B. A couple of lapses but overall a solid game. Grant Hutton scored twice and Louie Belpedio assisted on two goals. Transition passing was above average as well.
GOALTENDING: B-. Ryan Larkin stopped just 11 of 14 shots, but he made a solid save right before the first goal, scored at the end of an extended shift. He had no chance on the second goal, and third was on a breakaway. Larkin did make a couple of outstanding saves. It’s a common theme for the young netminder: He doesn’t face a ton of shots, but a lot of the ones he sees are Grade-A.
LINEUP CHANGES: As expected, Grant Frederic was back in the lineup with Switzer suspended. He was the seventh defenseman last Saturday and is playing a lot better than he did early in the season. With Gilling out, it was Johnson in.