RedHawks Take a Step Back, Tie BGSU
After last weekend and coming immediately off of a night where the RedHawks looked like they belong as the #7 team in the country and a pre-season #1 team, they took a rather large leap backwards tonight in a 4-4 tie with CCHA foe Bowling Green State University. After last night’s 4-0 picking apart of the Falcons, Miami gave up 4 1-goal leads on the night, and earned just a point in the CCHA standings. In the shootout, Miami failed to convert any of their 3 shots, and BGSU walked away with 2 points and the shootout victory. Although the ‘Hawks did extend their unbeaten streak to 6, I feel like I’m kissing my sister in saying that, as this could have been another 3 points and a victory for The Brotherhood over a weaker BG squad.
Starting off the scoring was the RedHawks leading scorer Reilly Smith, from freshman Austin Czarnik. Miami had come off of a penalty kill just seconds before the goal after having a great penalty kill to start off the evening. After BG’s Mike Fink scored to tie it up the first time, Czarnik quickly took matters into his own hands and scored his 4th of the season on a beautiful pass from Chris Wideman.
Miami’s Bryon Paulazzo headed to the penalty box just 3 minutes into the second period, and BG capitalized on the power play to make it 2-2 with a goal from Dan DeSalvo. To take their third lead of the night, Captain Alden Hirschfeld slammed home a Chris Wideman rebound to take a 3-2 lead. However with 1:45 left in the second, Bryce Williamson made a nifty move, and Miami had blown 3 leads in just 2 periods. Much of the second half of the second period was disjointed, ugly hockey from Rico Blasi’s squad, and you could sense BG starting to build some confidence by limiting the Miami attack.
Miami seemed to have turned that dial to mute in the third period, playing typical Miami hockey and keeping the puck in their end for much of the third period. Tyler Biggs had scored just 1:49 into the final period, and all the boys needed to do was protect the puck. Miami seemed to have the win wrapped up with 2 BGSU penalties in the last 5 minutes but with 1:12 to play, Ryan Carpenter slid a softie through Cody Reichard’s legs and Miami’s 4th lead of the evening went with it, and free hockey and another shootout were all that remained.
Miami again dominated in overtime, but could not find the back of the net. Finally, in a stark contrast from last weekend’s shootout, there were no fireworks, as Miami couldn’t convert on any of their 3 shootout chances by Czarnik, Smith and Paulazzo. On BG’s second attempt, Williamson got the puck past Reichard for the eventual game winner.
Last night I speculated that tonight would be a perfect time to get Connor Knapp back into the rotation, but Blasi stuck with the hot hand in Cody Reichard. With injury notes hard to come by from the Miami Hockey staff, we can only perpetuate the rumors that Cody is still playing because of the outstanding play of late. Connor Knapp did dress for each of the last 4 games, but did not see any time in net, lending me to believe that he is healthy, but riding the bench for the time being until Reichard cools off. And speaking of going cold, tonight may have been the night. Reichard only made 12 saves on 16 shots. The 4th goal was a squeaker right through the 5-hole on what should have been a routine save.
Up next for the RedHawks is a road trip to Denver to face the Providence Friars and Denver Pioneers. Miami and Providence play in the first game of the Denver Cup on Friday at 6:37 Eastern time. Saturday, Miami faces Cradle of Coaches member George Gwozdecky and the Denver in the evening matchup, starting at approximately 9:07 PM Eastern.
– Czarnik, Hirschfeld and Smith each had 1 goal and 1 assist on the night
– The CCHA referee committee and commissioner mush have read our column from last night as it seemed that John Philo and Kevin Langseth were back to their usual penalty-calling ways. Miami was called for a more Blasi-esque 7 minor penalties, and BGSU was whistled for 8 infractions. Miami was just 4 for 6 killing penalties and 1 for 7 on the power play, continuing a somewhat slow start to the season on special teams.
– Alex Wideman was still nowhere to be found on the Miami bench. After a promising start to the season, Alex has not played for several games and has us wondering why he has been in a suit for these latest games rather than the red and white.
– Austin Czarnik is Miami’s main faceoff specialist, even as a freshman. He took 25 out of 60 faceoffs on the night, winning 13 of them. With 4.1 seconds left in the third period and Miami needing a faceoff win to send one final shot on net, Czarnik was the man on the faceoff dot for Miami.