#3 Miami splits with Lake Superior
Last night, Lake Superior junior goaltender Kevin Murdock out-dueled Miami freshman Ryan McKay by making 46 saves and dealing Miami its second shutout loss of the season as the Lakers defeated the RedHawks 1-0. The loss snapped Miami’s 8-game unbeaten streak and continued a stretch of frustration for the RedHawks against the Lakers. Miami is now just 2-4 against Lake Superior over the past two seasons.
On Friday, Miami again trailed 1-0, but netted two in the second as freshmen Kevin Morris and Sean Kuraly both scored their third goals of the year. In the third, freshman Riley Barber found the net with an impressive wrister on the rush from the left circle for his 7th goal of the season – and the eventual game-winner. Barber’s tally gave Miami a 3-1 lead and they held on to defeat the Lakers 3-2. Freshman goaltender Jay Williams earned the start and his team-leading 8th win of the season as he made 21 saves on the night.
The words of the weekend were “special teams” as Miami’s units were anything but. All three Laker goals came on the powerplay as they went 3-for-7 on the weekend while Miami’s powerplay was a dismal 0-for-10. In Saturday’s loss, Miami outshot the Lakers 46-29 including 19-3 in the first period, but Murdock stood tall in net and denied the RedHawks at every chance.
Frankly, Saturday looked more like Miami teams of the past rather than what we’d seen so far this season. There’s clearly no reason for panic as the RedHawks sport a 10-3-3 overall record (7-3-3-2/2nd CCHA) to this point but losses to teams like Lake Superior can hurt down the road in terms of the final CCHA standings. This game while certainly a shooting gallery, did not feature Miami’s skill, nor did they move the puck from side-to-side settling for shots around the perimeter and from bad angles. Doing that certainly makes the goaltender’s job easier even when stopping 46 shots on goal. Of course, some of that can be attributed to Lake’s style of play – collapsing and protecting the net – but Miami did a much better job of getting to the net on Friday night getting a couple grittier goals. I call this out simply because we’ve seen this over and over from Miami teams in the past and it’s strange that we never seem to see an adjustment to these tactics regardless of the roster. I believe it’s a major reason why we struggle against Ferris State and Lake Superior who play a very similar style.
Fortunately for Miami, they’ll have an opportunity to get back on the winning track in their final CCHA league series before the winter break as they head to Columbus to take on duhOSU in a two-game series at Cheap Furniture Arena. The OSU series will be the first of three consecutive games against the Buckeyes (7-5-4, 6-2-2-1/4th CCHA) as they will face them after a bye week in Pittsburgh in the first game of the Three Rivers Classic at Consol Energy Center.