Photos: North Dakota at Miami

Images from the series between North Dakota and Miami at Cady Arena in Oxford, Ohio, played on Nov. 9-10, 2018. All photos by Cathy Lachmann/BoB.

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Miami holds off UND for split

OXFORD, Ohio – Not only did Casey Gilling score the goal that put No. 19 Miami ahead for good, he assisted on the other two RedHawks tallies.

Miami’s Casey Gilling (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

The sophomore’s three-point night powered MU to a 3-2 win over the No. 11 Fighting Hawks at Cady Arena on Saturday as the teams split their two-game weekend series.

Miami (8-4) snapped a two-game skid and ended UND’s winning streak at five.

RECAP: With 6:01 left in the first period, Gilling fired a shot from the right wing that hit off a skate and caromed to Josh Melnick at the left faceoff circle, and Melnick roofed it to give the RedHawks the early lead.

The Fighting Hawks’ Jordan Kawaguchi tied it when he took a one-time pass from Jasper Weatherby and whipped it past Miami goalie Ryan Larkin from the right faceoff circle just 3:38 into the third period.

That goal came seconds after Larkin had made a highlight-reel stop on a one-timer from the slot.

The RedHawks took the lead for good when Gilling deflected a blue line wrister from Derek Daschke with 10:23 left in regulation, giving MU a 2-1 lead.

Gilling fired a pass to Karch Bachman on the left wing, and Bachman blew past the defense and fired a shot under UND goalie Adam Scheel with 3:40 remaining, extending Miami’s lead to two.

The Fighting Hawks (5-3-1) cut the deficit to one with 22 seconds left as a wrister by Matt Kiersted hit Miami’s Brayden Crowder and bounced to Kawaguchi for his second goal of the night.

Kawaguchi had not previously scored this season.

STATS: Gilling’s three points ties a career high and he earned two assists for the first time in his career.

It was the third goal in six games for Melnick, and Bachman found the net for the first time in eight contests.

Larkin stopped a season-high 35 shots, as he made over 30 saves for just the second time in 2018-19.

THOUGHTS: Miami came out flat to start Friday but did not have that issue in this game.

The RedHawks earned this win against one of college hockey’s flagship programs during a supposed rebuilding year.

This is the biggest quality victory for Miami this season, which has seen MU beat a lot of downtrodden teams.

— And the crowds are coming back. This was the best of 2018-19 in terms of numbers and intensity, and UND’s vocal contingent helped build this rivalry.

Miami’s so-called rebuild for this season seems to be happening more quickly than anticipated.

— Phil Knies was injured on a hit along the boards, and he may miss some games to a resulting upper-body injury.

GRADES

FORWARDS: B. Much better puck possession by this corps than Friday, when UND put on a clinic. We mention the top guys all the time, but Zach LaValle has really stood out in his opportunities. River Rymsha jumped up from the blue line to anchor the Melnick-Gordie Green line.

DEFENSEMEN: C+. North Dakota generated a lot of scoring chances against the defense corps, not surprising considering the Fighting Hawks’ resume. With Knies being injured, Brayden Crowder and Andrew Sinard played together for a 13-feet, 1-inch pairing, and both stood out. Crowder made multiple key defensive plays with his stick and Sinard used his backside to impede opponents and shut down a UND breakaway with his backchecking.

GOALTENDING: A-. Larkin stopped 36 shots, and the the two goals he allowed were on a cross-crease one-timer and a fluky bounce off a blocked shot. Seconds prior to the first UND goal Larkin flashed the pad on a 2-on-1 for his best save of the season.

LINEUP CHANGES: LaValle was back in up front and Sinard was in the lineup as the extra skater.

F Carter Johnson and D Chaz Switzer did not dress.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Miami has played one-third of its games and has a record of 8-4.

Yes, the team schedule hasn’t been as strong but any sane person would’ve taken a .667 winning percentage to this point if asked about it prior to the season.

Miami has also brought its recently-dormant crowd back into the mix, giving it another advantage as the RedHawks enter the crux of their schedule.

Slow start dooms Miami vs. NorDak

OXFORD, Ohio – North Dakota took advantage of a sluggish Miami start and rode an early two-goal lead to victory, handing MU its second consecutive loss.

Miami’s Ryan Siroky (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

The No. 11 Fighting Hawks, who won their fifth straight game, scored twice in the first period and held the RedHawks to 17 shots on goal en route to a 3-1 victory at Cady Arena on Friday.

Ryan Siroky scored the lone No. 19 Miami goal in the closing seconds of the second period, and RedHawks goalie Ryan Larkin stopped 25 of 27 shots in the loss, with the third UND goal coming on an empty netter.

RECAP: North Dakota (5-2-1) opened the scoring at the 8:28 mark of the first period when Joel Janatuinen reversed course behind the Miami net and centered a pass to a wide-open Matt Kiersted in the slot, and Kiersted deposited it into the net on the power play.

The Fighting Hawks extended their lead to two when Mark Senden wired home a drop pass from the top of the faceoff circle with 4:41 left in the opening stanza.

Miami (7-4) cut the lead to one with a second left in the middle frame when a wrister from the point by Derek Daschke was deflected in by Ryan Siroky from the top of the faceoff circle.

But the RedHawks were unable to capitalize on a pair of third-period power plays and North Dakota’s Rhett Gardiner stole a pass from Grant Hutton and fired it into an open net with 10 seconds to play.

STATS: Siroky’s third goal tied a career high and gives him 10 career markers.

Daschke picked up his sixth point in six games, and Monte Graham also earned an assist, his second point of the season.

Miami failed to score on the power play for the first time in six games and has allowed five PPGs in its last three contests.

The RedHawks’ 17 shots were their fewest of the season. In their last game vs. UNO they generated 23, their previous low.

THOUGHTS: In terms of puck possession, North Dakota took Miami to school.

The hope was that in the third period, the Fighting Hawks may have tired due to skating circles around the RedHawks in the offensive zone.

UND had the better chances the first 35-37 minutes, but Miami began to flip that trend late in the second period, culminating in Siroky’s goal in the final seconds.

The RedHawks could not take advantage of that momentum, however, as they generated a total of one shot on two power plays in the final nine minutes of regulation. That’s not how you beat a perennial power like North Dakota – teams in that situation have to take advantage of such opportunities.

GRADES

FORWARDS: D. Just didn’t create enough offense. Passing wasn’t crisp, and the faceoff percentage – a strength coming into this weekend – was in the low .300s.

DEFENSEMEN: C. Daschke was integral in Miami’s lone goal, and it looked like he was tripped on North Dakota’s eventual first goal. Rourke Russell also was juked along the end boards before the centering feed. On the Fighting Hawks’ final goal Grant Hutton played the puck to himself along the boards but it was picked off and fired in.

GOALTENDING: B. Larkin allowed two goals: One on a wide-open point-blank rip from the slot and the other on a laser-perfect snipe by Senden.

LINEUP CHANGES: Defenseman Chaz Switzer dressed for the second time this season, and Carter Johnson was in the lineup for the fourth straight Friday.

Out were F Christian Mohs and D Andrew Sinard.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Ultimately Miami didn’t play well enough to win. The RedHawks hung with North Dakota the final 40 minutes but had already dug themselves a two-goal hole, which is huge against such a talented opponent.

The Fighting Hawks were certainly the better team and played like a top-20, and at this point their No. 11 ranking seems about right.

Preview: North Dakota at Miami

We’re just a handful of days into November, but there is always a playoff feel to the rink whenever North Dakota comes to town.

Especially with both teams ranked and Miami off to a 7-3 start.

The Fighting Hawks began the season 0-2-1 but have won four straight as they open their NCHC season.

BoB takes a look at the series between NorDak and the RedHawks this weekend.

WHO: No. 11 North Dakota Fighting Hawks (4-2-1) at No. 19 Miami RedHawks (7-3).

WHERE: Cady Arena, Oxford, Ohio (3,642).

WHEN: Friday – 7:35 p.m.; Saturday – 7:05 p.m.

ALL-TIME SERIES: North Dakota leads, 13-6-3.

LAST SEASON HEAD-TO-HEAD: Teams both finished 1-1-2. Nov. 10 – North Dakota, 4-1; Nov. 11 – Tie, 3-3; Feb. 23 – Miami, 4-3, OT; Feb. 24 – Tie, 2-2.

NORTH DAKOTA RADIO: Both nights – KQHT-FM (96.1), Grand Forks, N.D.

MIAMI RADIO: Both nights – WKBV-AM (1490), Richmond, Ind.

NOTES: North Dakota was winless through three games, going 0-1-1 in a home-and-home vs. Bemidji State and losing, 7-4 at home to Minnesota State.

But the rejuvenated Fighting Hawks have won their last four, all against ranked non-conference opponents.

Up front, Nick Jones leads UND in points with six, five of which have come on assists. He has scored three goals in five career games vs. Miami.

Jordan Kawaguchi is second among forwards with five points, all on helpers.

Grant Mismash and Rhett Gardner are both 3-1-4, and Gardner has scored four goals and added two assists against the RedHawks.

Forwards Cole Smith and Collin Adams also have four points.

On defense, Colton Poolman is tied for the team lead with three goals, also earning two assists.

UND has had heavy production from its blue line, as Gabe Bast and Jacob Bernard-Docker are both 2-2-4, Hayden Shaw has four assists and Matt Kiersted has a goal and two helpers.

Peter Thome had a strong 12-game showing in net as a rookie last season, but after a poor game early freshman Adam Scheel has gone 4-1-1 with a 1.58 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage.

Scheel has keyed the Fighting Sioux’s four-game winning streak, so barring sub-par performance he should play both nights.

UND is third in the NCAA in faceoff percentage at 59.0, with Gardner leading college hockey at 66.2 percent.

This has been a Miami weakness in recent seasons but the RedHawks are tied for 16th in Division I this season with a winning percentage of 53.8.

North Dakota leads the conference in NHL draftees with eight.

Miami’s Gordie Green (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

Special teams have been a struggled for the Fighting Hawks, who are 47th in the NCAA in power play percentage (14.3) and tied for 12th-last at 75.0 on the penalty kill.

Miami’s Gordie Green enters this weekend having scored in four straight games with five tallies in that span. His points streak is at five games, and he has 10 points during that streak.

The RedHawks went four straight games without a power play goal earlier this season but have netted at least one marker on the man advantage in five consecutive contests.

Miami is 1-1 in the NCHC, and these will be the first conference contests for North Dakota.

Major costly as UNO rallies past Miami

A major penalty was a key reason Miami’s four-game winning streak ended on Saturday.

The No. 20 RedHawks led by two goals early but lost, 6-3 to Nebraska-Omaha in the series finale at Baxter Arena, partly due to three power play goals scored during a Mavericks five-minute man advantage.

Miami’s Josh Melnick (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

Miami went up, 2-0 in the first period but allowed a Mavericks goal with 61 seconds left in the opening frame.

RedHawks captain Josh Melnick was given a major and game misconduct for spearing midway through the second period and UNO scored three times on the ensuing power play to give the team a lead which it would not relinquish.

It was the first win of the season for the Mavericks and the most goals against for the RedHawks in 2018-19.

RECAP: Miami (7-3) took the lead on a 5-on-3 when Melnick slid a lateral pass across the top of the faceoff circles, and Grant Hutton one-timed a rip past goalie Evan Weninger.

With one UNO (1-6-1) skater back, Hutton had a shot blocked, but the puck trickled to Phil Knies in the right faceoff circle, and he whipped one just under the crossbar to make it 2-0 a minute later.

But Taylor Ward batted home a bad-angle shot off a rebound from a point-blank Mason Morelli chance with 61 seconds left in the opening frame.

Melnick’s penalty put Miami down two men, and UNO’s Fredrik Olofsson roofed one from the right faceoff dot to tie it.

Kevin Conley scored from nearly the same spot on a partly-deflected pass 96 seconds later, giving the Mavericks their first lead of the weekend, 3-2.

Another 1:57 passed before Chayse Primeau one-timed a backdoor pass from Conley at the side of the cage, giving UNO a two-goal lead.

Miami cut its deficit to one when Gordie Green knocked home a long rebound from the inside edge of the faceoff circle less than two minutes into the final stanza.

But UNO’s Tristan Keck extended his team’s lead to two late in the third period, and Morelli netted his second of the night when he poked home a centering feed from behind the net.

Miami’s Gordie Green (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

STATS: Green scored for the fourth straight game and extended his points streak to five games.

He has five goals and five assists during his hot streak.

— Melnick has a four-game points streak (2-6-8), and Hutton and Jonathan Gruden both picked up points for the third straight contest.

— After a slow start on the power play, Miami has scored on the man advantage five straight games, going 6-for-19 in that span.

THOUGHTS: The elephant on the ice in this game is the Melnick penalty. The ensuing power play was obviously critical.

There was no replay on the UNO feed on NCHC.tv, so here’s what I think after going reviewing that segment of the game on the site:

— It appears Melnick rammed his stick between the legs of an UNO skater after the two battled for the puck along the boards for an extended time.

— The case could be made that said skater interfered with Melnick as he attempted to vacate the area.

— The NCAA is tightening up in certain areas, and while I’ve certainly witnessed way worse hits in recent years that have not been called, college hockey is now replaying nefarious incidents and is obviously not afraid to dish out majors.

— All that said, a minor was certainly warranted. Considering what we’ve seen called majors the first four weekends, it’s not out of line that Melnick received a major.

The upgrade was extremely costly to Miami, as the Mavericks scored twice in the final three power play minutes that wouldn’t have happened had the call been a minor. Those three goals flipped a 2-1 Miami lead to a 4-2 UNO advantage.

— The Mavericks had already tilted the ice in their direction heading into their scoring barrage, having trimmed the RedHawks’ lead to one after Miami jumped out to a 2-0 lead, and the penalty provided UNO the fuel to seize control of the game.

Miami’s Andrew Sinard (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

LINEUP CHANGES: Forwards Zach LaValle and Carter Johnson did not dress.

Christian Mohs and defenseman Andrew Sinard did, giving Miami seven defensemen.

FINAL THOUGHTS: This is the first disappointing loss of the season, not because UNO was winless but because Miami had the lead and let it get away.

To be fair, Nebraska-Omaha is definitely better than the 0-6-1 record it sported entering this contest, but good teams rarely lose when they take two-goal leads.

The series ends in a split and Miami finishes its first 10 games with a 7-3 record, and not to put words in anyone’s mouth but I’m guessing under the off-season circumstances the coaching staff is happy with a .700 winning percentage through the first weekend in November.

But the schedule gets a lot tougher the rest of the way, and the RedHawks can ill afford to have discipline lapses turn would-be wins into losses.

Miami wins first road game at UNO

Miami’s ninth game of the season was its first true road contest, but the No. 20 RedHawks kept up their MO of winning by wide margins.

Miami’s Gordie Green (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

Gordie Green found the net twice as MU scored the final three goals in a 4-1 win vs. Nebraska-Omaha at Baxter Arena on Friday, extending its winning streak to four games.

This was also the NCHC opener for the RedHawks (7-2), who played six of their first eight games this season in Oxford and the other two in Erie, Pa., in the Ice Breaker Tournament.

During their recent hot spell, the RedHawks have surrendered just three goals and none in the third period.

Forward Jonathan Gruden (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

Miami goalie Ryan Larkin won his fifth straight game, stopping 19 of 20.

RECAP: Jonathan Gruden scored his first career goal when he skated behind the UNO net and shot it off the back of goalie Evan Weninger on the power play just 79 seconds into the game.

The Mavericks (0-6-1) tied it with a Taylor Ward goal on a tic-tac-toe passing play as he swept in a pass from the top of the crease with 2:53 remaining in the first period. That tally was also scored on the man advantage

Miami regained the lead 66 seconds later on a blue line blast by Grant Hutton that was deflected in by Brian Hawkinson for his first career goal.

With 5:27 left in the middle stanza, Gordie Green jarred the puck from an UNO defender in the Miami zone, and Scott Corbett seized it and fired a shot off the crossbar. The puck skipped through the top of the crease and Green batted it out of the air as it dribbled into the back of the cage.

Green picked up his second marker of the night with an emphatic rip into the empty net from the outside edge of the faceoff circle with 22 seconds to play after controlling a Josh Melnick two-line outlet pass.

STATS: The Green-Melnick combo on Miami’s top line continues to dominate, as Green extended his multi-point game streak to four and Melnick picked up multiple points for the third consecutive contest.

Miami’s Brian Hawkinson (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

Green has scored in three straight games and is 4-5-9 during his points streak. Melnick has scored twice and earned five assists in his last three.

— Hawkinson also has points in three straight, including his first career goal in this one.

— Larkin has allowed just three goals during his five-game win streak and has stopped 123 of 126 shots in that span (.976).

— This was the fourth straight game in which Miami did not allow a third-period goal, and the RedHawks have given up just three in nine contests this season.

In 2017-18 they surrendered 46 tallies in 37 games after the second intermission, including a pair in overtime.

THOUGHTS: Miami, once again, played a full 60 minutes against a team they were supposed to beat, and the RedHawks won for the seventh time, with six of those wins coming by three or more goals.

In other words, they’re beating teams they should beat and doing so in decisive fashion.

This was both the first true road game and the inaugural league contest for Miami, which passed both tests with high grades.

And UNO may be winless but it is not a bad team, or at least the Mavericks didn’t play that poorly. Their shot total of 20 is somewhat deceiving because they generated a lot of chances.

A road win in this league, regardless of the opponent’s status, is a major accomplishment, and in this game Miami pulled out the victory on hostile ice and looked good doing so.

— Great job answering the tying UNO goal late in the first period goal by regaining the lead before intermission. That was the Hawkinson deflection on the Hutton blast and eventual game winner.

Miami’s Derek Daschke (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

— Can’t say enough about how well Green is playing. He has nine points in four games and his defense is as good as his offense. He made his first goal happen with his forechecking, as he knocked the puck loose and scored on the rebound from Corbett’s ensuing shot.

— I’d been to all of the first eight games and this was the first one I’d seen on TV, but Derek Daschke looked even better on the tube than live. Twice a last-second desperation play prevented a slam-dunk goal, and he picked up two assists, giving him five points in his last four.

Daschke was probably even more amped to play against the school he was formerly committed to. Mentioned this last weekend but he continues to better every game.

— Prior to this game, only four Miami forwards had played every game but had not scored, and Hawkinson and Gruden both took their names off that list.

Gruden had been snakebitten, as the Ottawa Senators’ fourth rounder was expected to contribute right away.

Yet Hawkinson played three full USHL seasons – 164 games – and only scored 10 times with just 16 assists. Despite his lack of scoring in juniors Hawkinson has a 1-5-6 line in nine games with Miami.

Gruden has tons of raw talent and it should be fun to watch him develop, and Hawkinson has taken complete advantage of his opportunity in Miami’s lineup and has already become a regular on the penalty kill.

— Karch Bachman hit a post early and then a crossbar-and-post later in the game. He had three goals in the first four games this season and continues to get better in other aspects.

He is scoreless in five straight but has been pretty unlucky recently and it feels like he’s going to break out again soon.

— This game was broadcast nationally on one of the regional Fox Sports Channels, and UNO announcers Dave Ahlers and David Brisson did a fabulous job.

Both are very fair in their announcing – regularly complimenting Miami players for their play – and extremely knowledgeable.

Ahlers is a former AHL announcer and Brisson played briefly in the pros after graduating from UNO.

GRADES

FORWARDS: A-. A well-played game by this entire corps, up and down the lines. Green was the standout with Melnick not far behind. Gruden still makes too many high-risk passes but hopefully this goal will vault his game another level.

Rourke Russell (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

DEFENSEMEN: B+. Especially liked Daschke’s play although he did turn one over for a near-goal. Rourke Russell also stood out, and watching from a higher vantagepoint it was easier to appreciate his geometrical smarts in his usage of the boards on defensive-zone passes.

GOALTENDING: A. The goal against was on a magnificent passing play that was basically a 2-on-oh at the top of the crease. Larkin is a key reason for Miami’s hot start and his rebound control is as good as it’s ever been since he came to Oxford.

LINEUP CHANGES: Only one: Up front, Carter Johnson was back in the lineup after sitting last Saturday. He has now played three straight series openers but has sat in consecutive finales.

He replaced Andrew Sinard, who was the seventh defenseman in Game 2 vs. Colgate last weekend.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Winless or not, UNO played pretty well and Miami was better.

The Mavericks hurt themselves with undisciplined penalties early and the RedHawks took advantage with a power play goal.

Omaha is obviously in a down year but this was still a quality win for Miami.

Preview: Miami at Nebraska-Omaha

How appropriate is it that Miami faces Nebraska-Omaha to commence league play?

Miami associate head coach Peter Mannino (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

Six teams begin their in-conference schedules this weekend, and the RedHawks open their NCHC slate against the Mavericks after landing associate head coach Peter Mannino and multiple commits from UNO last off-season.

BoB takes a look at this weekend’s series between Miami and the Mavericks.

WHO: Miami RedHawks (6-2) at Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks (0-5-1).

WHERE: Baxter Arena, Omaha, Nebraska (7,898).

WHEN: Friday – 8:07 p.m.; Saturday – 8:07 p.m.

ALL-TIME SERIES: Miami leads, 20-17-6.

LAST SEASON HEAD-TO-HEAD: UNO, 2-0-0. Jan. 12 – UNO, 11-7. Jan. 13 – UNO, 4-3.

UNO RADIO: Both nights – KZOT-AM (1180), Bellevue, Neb.

MIAMI RADIO: Both nights – WKBV-AM (1490), Richmond, Ind.

NOTES: Though the teams had identical 10-13-1 conference records last season and UNO finished just two games better than Miami, with Mannino behind the RedHawks’ bench his new team is 6-2 and earned the No. 20 spot in this week’s USCHO poll.

Miami’s Derek Daschke (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

Without Mannino and his commits – including defensemen and MU starters Derek Daschke and Bray Crowder – UNO is 0-5-1, losing five straight after an opening-night tie at Union.

The acquisition of those now-Miami blueliners is especially noteworthy because the Mavericks have hemorrhaged in the goals against department this season. UNO has allowed 33 goals, including 11 on the power play and three shorthanded in just six games.

Opponents are averaging 37 shots and scoring on 15 percent of them.

The Mavericks have played all three goalies on their roster, and they have a collective 5.42 goals-against average and .851 save percentage.

Evan Weninger has started five games and has a GAA of 5.01 and team-best save percentage of .872. He stopped 74 shots in last weekends losses at Arizona State but surrendered 12 goals, getting the hook after letting seven in Friday.

Alex Blankenburg and Matej Tomek both have save percentages well below .800 in limited action.

Dean Stewart is the lone Maverick defenseman to find the net this season, as he has scored twice and earned three more assists.

The rest of UNO’s blueline corps has combined for just five points, all on assists, led by Ryan Jones’ two. Stewart, Jones, Lukas Buchta and Jalen Schulz are all returning regulars, having logged at least 30 games for Nebraska-Omaha last season.

Up front, Fredrik Olofsson leads the team in assists (6) and points (7). Zach Jordan – a 16-goal scorer in 2017-18 – and Mason Morelli are tied for the team lead with three goals and are second and third in points, respectively.

Tristan Keck and Teemu Pulkkinen have identical 1-2-3 lines.

Four of the Mavericks’ top five points producers from last season graduated, and freshman and sophomores have a combined three goals and five assists in 2018-19, so UNO needs to hit the recruiting trail hard in the coming months.

By comparison, Miami has generated 21 points from its first-year skater class.

Miami’s Phil Knies (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

Last season, these teams met for one series, which was played at Omaha, and the RedHawks allowed 15 goals in the two-game sweep.

While Phil Knies did score four times that weekend, Miami would like to see a better defensive effort at Baxter Arena this season.

A couple of online sites list this game as being televised on one of the FOX Sports regional channels, but it’s not showing up on the DirecTV schedule.

If it does pop up we’ll send an update on Twitter.

Photos: Colgate at Miami

Images from the series played between Miami and Colgate at Cady Arena in Oxford, Ohio, on Oct. 26-27, 2018. All photos by Cathy Lachmann/BoB.

Miami shuts out, sweeps Colgate

OXFORD, Ohio – Ryan Larkin had one shutout in his freshman season and one more as a sophomore.

Ryan Larkin (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

Six starts into 2018-19, the Miami junior has already blanked more opponents than in his first two years combined.

On Saturday, he recorded his third clean sheet of 2018-19, a 30-save effort in a 6-0 win over Colgate at Cady Arena that wrapped up a weekend sweep for the RedHawks.

It was the fourth straight win for Miami in the all-time series, as the RedHawks have outscored the Raiders, 18-2 during their winning streak vs. CU and 40-17 overall.

MU wrapped up its four-game homestand with three consecutive victories and is 5-1 on its home ice this season.

RECAP: Just 2:48 into the first period, Josh Melnick backhanded a pass to Gordie Green at the blue line, and Grant Hutton received a drop pass from Green, skated into the high slot and wired one home on the stick side on a 4-on-4.

It remained 1-0 until the 7:49 mark of the middle frame, when Green fed a pass to Melnick from the point to the side of the cage, where Melnick rammed in a bad-angle one-timer on the power play.

With 3:14 left in that period, a shot from the top of the right faceoff circle by Alec Mahalak handcuffed goalie Andrew Farrier, and Scott Corbett was there to knock in the rebound on the opposite side for his first career goal, making it 3-0.

Melnick and Green connected again, as Melnick threaded a pass through two defenders from the inside edge of the faceoff circle to a wide-open Green, who fired it into the vacant half of the net with five seconds left in a second period that saw MU score three times.

Midway through the final stanza, Casey Gilling fed a one-time pass to River Rymsha, who was crossing the blue line, and Rymsha found the top corner of the net as he stepped into a slap shot.

Hutton wrapped up the scoring as he eluded three defenders while carrying the puck from the blue line to the slot before backhanding one in to the stick side with 5:03 left in regulation.

STATS: Larkin leads all of Division I in shutouts with three. His save percentage of .966 is second in the NCAA and he is third in goals-against average (0.83).

His five career clean slates moves Larkin into a tie with Dan Kodatsky for seventh all-time on the Miami leaderboard.

Green finished with a goal and three assists for four points, the second-highest total of his career only to his five-point effort vs. Maine on Oct. 20, 2017.

It was his second three-assist game as a RedHawk.

Hutton ended the night with two goals and a helper, becoming the first skater to score twice or more in a game this season. It was his fifth career multi-goal game and the fourth time he has picked up three points.

Melnick also notched three points – the third time he has done so in a Miami sweater – on a goal and two assists.

Green has seven points in his last three games including six this weekend and Melnick picked up five points this series.

It was the third career multi-point game for Mahalak, who tallied two assists and wrapped up the series with three points.

Miami scored in all six periods this weekend and has goals in seven consecutive frames overall.

THOUGHTS: Miami played with maximum effort from the opening faceoff to the final horn, as the RedHawks were still bombarding the offensive zone in the closing minutes trying to add another score.

Too many times for too many years Miami has had trouble closing out wins, but at least for the first month of this season, the RedHawks have wielded a killer instinct late in games.

Colgate didn’t play poorly on Friday but fell behind early in this one and sort of threw in the proverbial towel the final 20-25 minutes on Saturday, and rather than sit back and play not to lose, Miami absolutely took it to the Raiders in the sixth period of the weekend, punishing them physically and on the scoreboard.

At this point, the RedHawks are better than Colgate. They aren’t 6-0 better though, but both teams got the outcomes they deserved: Miami didn’t let up the entire game and the Raiders did.

And good teams take advantage when that happens. That’s the difference between the first eight games of 2018-19 and their 110 contests the previous three seasons.

And that’s what makes this such a big win heading into NCHC play.

— Corbett returned to the Green-Melnick line and all three ended up finding the net. They combined for eight points (Green 1-3-4, Melnick 1-2-3, Corbett 1-0-1).

We heaped praise on this line for its play on Friday but it was even better in this game at both ends.

— This is as locked in as Larkin has been since coming to Oxford. In his last four starts he is 4-0 with a .981 save percentage, stopping 104 of 106 shots.

He’s second in the NCAA in save percentage at .966 only to a Lake Superior goalie whose last name is Mitens (how do you compete with that)?

And that’s been a big difference in Miami’s start: It’s virtually impossible to have a successful season when your team save percentage is .883 and your starter finishes at .886, which was the case in 2017-18.

Quality goaltending can help a decent team become a great one, and while there’s no way Larkin maintains his current save rate, he has the ability to steal wins for the RedHawks.

GRADES

FORWARDS: A. The passing by this corps was so much crisper than in any other game this season. Yeah, Green and Melnick were studs, but their supporting cast was strong as well. Karch Bachman continues to generate chances with his speed. Gilling keeps winning key draws and impressing with his defense, plus he set up Rymsha’s goal. Sophs Ben Lown and Phil Knies continue to play above their size. Zach LaValle is earning playing time by stepping up. Corbett scored his first career goal and plays a high-energy, physical style. Etc., etc.

DEFENSEMEN: A. Hutton, Mahalak and Rymsha were the standouts among this group. This was Hutton’s best game at both ends, and probably the same could be said for Mahalak, who picked up two assists and earned some power play time. Rymsha’s goal was an absolute blast with pinpoint accuracy.

GOALTENDING: A+. About as perfect of a game as a goalie could play. He turned 30 shots aside and faced some Grade-A chances. He seemed more comfortable going side to side this weekend and gave up almost zero second chances.

LINEUP CHANGES: Corbett replaced Johnson, both on the first line and in the lineup, as Johnson was a scratch.

Defenseman Andrew Sinard dressed for the second time this season as Christian Mohs sat out.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Percentagewise, this equals Miami’s best start through eight games since 2010-11.

The locker room is much more unified than in recent seasons.

Goaltending has been phenomenal. Defense has been solid. The RedHawks are starting to score goals.

Even those in the stands are having a lot more fun, and hopefully more will show up as we enter the cold-weather months and super-skilled league opponents come to town.

Miami has a lot going for it, but the RedHawks also haven’t played a true road game yet, suiting up for six at home and two on neutral ice. They also haven’t started league play.

MU will tackle both of those obstacles next week in its NCHC-opening series at Omaha.

Maybe Miami, picked to finish last in the conference, ends up being the biggest surprise in the NCAA. Maybe the RedHawks do struggle in league play as was predicted.

But if they keep up the kind of effort they put forth this weekend, the dividends will eventually come for this program.

At least by playing the game the right way the foundation is now being laid for future success.

Larkin stays hot as Miami tops Colgate

OXFORD, Ohio – Ryan Larkin extended his personal winning streak to three games for the third time in his career, and he stopped 12 shots in the third period – including several high-percentage chances – to preserve the win.

He finished with 28 saves as Miami beat Colgate, 4-1 at Cady Arena on Friday. In his last three outings, Larkin has turned aside 74 of 76 shots or 97.4 percent.

The RedHawks (5-2) improved to three games over the .500 mark for the first time since the end of the 2015 season.

Miami scored twice before the Raiders generated their first marker, and the RedHawks closed the win out with two more unanswered goals.

MU has won three straight meetings vs. Colgate (2-2) – all at Cady Arena – outscoring the Raiders, 12-2 in that span.

RECAP: Fourteen minutes into the first period, Derek Daschke centered a pass to Gordie Green, who juked before whipping a shot home on the forehand from the slot to open the scoring for the RedHawks.

Miami extended its lead to two when Phil Knies snuck home a short-side wrist shot from the left wing 96 seconds into the middle stanza.

Colgate’s Josh McKechney netted his first goal of the season with 7:35 left in the second period with one second left on a Raiders power play, cutting their deficit to one.

But Miami reestablished a two-goal lead six minutes later when Alec Mahalak sprung Josh Melnick loose up the middle, and Melnick eluded two defenders, penetrated the zone and ripped one over Mitch Benson’s blocker from the high slot.

Zach LaValle capped off the scoring for the RedHawks, as he corralled a puck on the left faceoff dot, maneuvered it to the sweet spot and wired one top shelf just inside the near crossbar with 6:19 left in regulation.

STATS: Green and Melnick finished with a goal and an assist each. It was the second tally of the season for both.

Knies’ goal was also No. 2 of this campaign, and it was the first for LaValle, his first since March 10, 2017.

Daschke picked up a career-high two helpers. He and River Rymsha ended the night a team-best plus-2.

THOUGHTS: Miami actually started the night a little soft on defense, allowing multiple quality chances early, but overall the team played well all night.

The final score is a tribute to the RedHawks’ effort and execution, as Colgate was better than 4-1 indicates.

Fortunately for Miami, Larkin was on form from the opening whistle, as he had to turn aside five shots in the first few minutes.

Even when Colgate pulled to within one, it never felt like the game was in doubt, and Melnick’s pure-effort goal made it 3-1 and really seemed to deflate the Raiders.

— This was Green’s best game of the early season, and he and Melnick showed off their chemistry in this one.

And they did so with Carter Johnson as their third, as he moved onto that line with Scott Corbett scratched.

Miami’s early-season success had come without huge offensive contributions from the Melnick-Green tandem, but they were a force in this win.

— Derek Daschke has seemed to get better every game. His first assist was on a high-precision feed to Green in the slot, and he also picked up a secondary helper on Knies’ marker.

— Monte Graham’s faceoff percentage is north of .700 – which is insanely high – and he won a draw in the third period that went right to LaValle, who loaded up for Miami’s fourth goal.

Graham was 4-0 in the circle.

GRADES

FORWARDS: B+. Melnick and Green (Grelnick?) were stars 1 and 1a among this corps. Knies and LaValle both found the net on well-located shots. Brian Hawkinson played his grinder role and provided energy. Ryan Siroky was his physical self and played solid defensively. Christian Mohs – limited to nine games last season after knee surgery the previous year – looked a step better than in previous games, especially early.

DEFENSEMEN: B-. A little sloppy early but solid enough overall. Daschke was the standout in this group, both with his passing and his shut-down play as his stock continues to rise. Rourke Russell also seems to be in a constant state of improvement as he seems to be gaining confidence every night. River Rymsha has been a pleasant surprise as he impresses with his two-way play and hockey IQ.

GOALTENDING: A. Couldn’t see the Colgate goal live and there is no clear replay, so no idea if Larkin had a chance on it, but either way he made some excellent stops early and turned 28 shots aside overall. A strength of his as a freshman was his rebound control, and once again in 2018-19 opponents are rarely getting second chances vs. Miami with him on net. The Raiders created quality chances throughout but Larkin was having no part of it.

LINEUP CHANGES: Corbett was a head-scratching scratch up front, as Johnson was not only back on the lineup card but moved to the top line with Green and Melnick. The move didn’t seem to affect the duo, as each went 1-1-2.

Mohs was also back in the lineup, dressing for the fourth time this season.

Grant Frederic did not play after skating in the finale vs. UMass-Lowell.

FINAL THOUGHTS: True, Miami hasn’t played an NCHC contest yet, and this hasn’t been as a brutal of a non-conference schedule as in 2017-18 but considering the RedHawks’ off-season, 5-2 is a solid start.

Miami should’ve beaten Colgate and it did. Same with Alabama-Huntsville, same with Mercyhurst.

Sounds axiomatic, but at times in recent seasons the RedHawks have underachieved against lesser-skilled opponents.

And this is another example of Miami not only getting into the win column but leaving little doubt late.

In this game plus the three others vs. UAH and Mercyhurst, the RedHawks have scored five times in the third period. MU’s lead after 40 minutes has been at least two in all four of those contests.

That means Miami is establishing the lead in the opening two periods and pulling away late.

Will the RedHawks be able to keep that MO against its league foes, all of which will be better than Colgate?

We’ll see, but winning these October non-conference games in decisive fashion has to give the RedHawks confidence heading into NCHC play.