Miami drops opener at NMU, 2-1
Northern Michigan’s Brian Nugent scored at 17:50 of the third period to break a 1-1 tie and someone named Jared Coreau made 25 saves as #18 Miami dropped a 2-1 decision on Friday night at the Berry Events Center in Marquette, Mich.
Miami outshot the Wildcats 26-17 on the evening but could muster just one goal, from junior defenseman Steven Spinell of all people. This against a team that dressed just 17 skaters, played its back-up goaltender, had three starting defensemen sit out due to suspension and had exactly one win in their previous eight games.
That pretty much says it all.
This team has me completely confused and sits tied with Michigan State for 6th place in the CCHA — though the Spartans have two league games in-hand. A loss in the series finale Saturday night would allow Northern Michigan to pass the RedHawks in the CCHA standings as their roller coaster season continues. Worse, the consistent manner in which this team continues to allow late third period goals is astounding. Here’s a quick run down of the late third period tallies that have doomed the season thus far.
Oct. 7 vs. Bemidji – score tied 3-3, BSU scores at 18:05, wins 5-3
Oct. 28 vs. Lake State – Miami trails 4-3, Lakers score at 18:03, win 5-3
Nov. 12 vs. Michigan – Miami leads 3-2, U-M scores at 16:06, game ends in 3-3 tie
Nov. 19 vs. BG – Miami leads 4-3, BG scores at 18:48, game ends in 4-4 tie
Dec. 2 vs. NMU – score tied 1-1, NMU scores at 17:50, wins 2-1
Needless to say, Saturday’s game is a must-win lest the RedHawks allow the momentum of the 6-0-2 streak and Denver Cup championship to waft silently away.
– Cody Reichard started the game allowing one goal on three shots before giving way to anointed starter Connor Knapp who entered at the 9:39 mark of the first period. Knapp was denied the chance to start by head coach Enrico Blasi because he was late to the team’s breakfast. Presumably Reichard starts Saturday night.
– Spinell’s goal was just the third of his Miami career (85 games).