>Game No. 1
>A racuous crowd of 3,515 at the Goggin Ice Center saw one heck of a season opener on Friday night, as Miami defeated the visiting St. Cloud State Huskies 3-2. Oh, and they needed overtime to do it. More on that in a minute.
Both teams were slow to get going on this night. The neutral zone play of either team wasn’t particularly good, the RedHawks had trouble skating the puck into the zone (and keeping it there), but there were a few good scoring chances for each side peppered about the Cady Arena ice early on. Miami netminder Cody Reichard was great in the first period, making a spectacular save on a breakaway and taking a hard shot off of the mask as well. St. Cloud had quite a few rushes that Reichard had to fend off and his play kept his team in the game. The Huskies though, drew first blood at 17:42 of the first when defenseman Oliver Lauridsen, a 6’6, 228lb sophomore from Denmark, found the back of the net on a slapshot from the left point. Good traffic in front of Reichard never gave him a chance to see it and the visitors took a 1-0 lead to the dressing room.
The second period, however, was a study in contrast. It became an end to end game and the physicality picked up as well. Both teams were finishing checks and making big plays and, as was the case all night, there was a flurry of activity around each team’s goalcrease. That activity paid off for the RedHawks, when freshman Curtis McKenzie knocked home an Andy Miele pass off of a rebound just 1:36 in to the second frame, to tie the game at one. It was Miami’s first tally of the season and “C-Mac’s” first of his Miami career. Both schools were very good on the penalty kill tonight. Miami killed off 5 of 5, but it was the one that St. Cloud couldn’t kill that came back to haunt them. Exactly seven minutes after Miami lit the lamp, they did it again. Carter Camper made a nice play with the puck and found a waiting Pat Cannone, for a one-timer past the blocker side of St. Cloud goaltender Dan Dunn. That goal was as pretty as they get, folks. Camper and Chris Wideman drew assists and the RedHawks had in their posession, a 2-1 lead. St. Cloud finished 4 of 5 on the kill tonight and Cannone’s power-play goal was the only one on the man advantage for the home team.
The Red & White would hold that lead for 18 minutes in the third period. The game would once again become tied when Miami had issues clearing the zone…again. With Huskies on the doorstep, Reichard did all he could to stop the trickling puck from going past him, but it did just that…trickled past him, and the game was tied late in regulation. Junior Brian Volpei was credited with the goal.
Miami was clearly the better team in the overtime period, which only lasted 1:52. Carter Camper was the hero of the night, coralling a Tommy Wingels rebound, taking it behind the net and putting it over Dunn’s shoulder to give the good guys the win.
– The McKenzie-Miele-Palmer line was very good tonight. Jarod Palmer is so good with the puck, (as is Miele most of the time) and really provided some nice chances for McKenzie to bury. These guys are able to create a lot of offensive chances, as was evident on McKenzie’s goal early in the second period.
– Lots of shuffling around tonight on the RedHawks bench. Obviously Rico is still trying to find chemistry in his lines and it didn’t take him very long to start doing it. The defensive pairing of Tomassoni/Hartman was split almost half way through the first period. Hartman moved up to play with LoVerde (a great pair, in this blogger’s opinion) and Steve Spinell dropped down to play with Tomassoni. The Schilling/Wideman pairing was untouched. The mixing and matching was more so on the forward lines. Justin Vaive started with Gary Steffes and Brandon Smith, but eventually moved up to play with Camper and Wingels. Steffes eventually played with Reilly Smith and Pat Cannone and Brandon Smith with Miele and Palmer. Whew. Confused yet? Good, me too.
– The potential on the defense is astronomical. Cameron Schilling appears to have filled out a bit and Spinell and Hartman are both very physical players. Tomassoni played very well tonight, too. Hartman is a gem though. He handles the puck very well, posesses a great shot, takes good angles, and is suprisingly quick for his size. One can only imagine the player he’ll be in three more years.
– I long for the day when Justin Vaive will use his size to his advantage. He needs to fill out more and plant himself in front of the net. He did so, sparingly tonight and had a really good scoring chance result from it.
– Hartman and Wingels were the best players on the ice. Gary Steffes was very good too, as always, showing great hustle.
– I’m not one to normally judge officials, but the interference call on Vincent LoVerde in the second was bogus. LoVerde’s feet became tangled up with a St. Cloud player’s and both men fell to the ice, trying to get posession of the puck. How that merits an interference call is beyond me.
– St. Cloud is a very quick team, with a solid one-two goaltending tandem. Wouldn’t surprise me to see freshman Mike Lee get the nod on Saturday night. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Connor Knapp, for that matter, either.
– Dane Hetland, Will Weber, Devin Mantha, Steve Mason, and Garrett Kennedy were the Miami scratches tonight.
– Game two of the weekend series begins at 7:05 on Saturday night.