Miami Falls to Denver 3-1: Quick Thoughts
Last night was a typical Miami showing: fast and furious action from the start, but as we have seen numerous times over the last several weeks, Miami couldn’t get the puck past a red hot goaltender and Miami would lose 3-1. Here are a few thoughts from last night’s action.
- The first period was the domination we are used to seeing, at least for the first 17 minutes. The likes of Austin Czarnik, Sean Kuraly and Alex Gacek had some great opportunities immediately and it seemed that at any minute, Miami could burst through and it would be 3-0 in the blink of an eye. But at the 17:02 mark, Denver countered with a seemingly harmless break up the ice. Ty Loney was credited with the goal, but replays showed that the puck was loose and as Loney and the Miami defender skated towards the net, the puck hit one of their skates and with Ryan McKay moving to his right, the puck redirected to his left and comically drifted into the net as if in slow motion.
After another 53 seconds, it was Denver 2 and Miami nothing after a puck squirted right to Trevor Moore after a Denver faceoff win. The quick shot from the slot was in the back of the net before McKay could do anything about it.
- Miami’s crowd was non-existant physically because of the storm. Not surprising, and highly frustrating, but we’ll try to contain ourselves on that topic. But after these two quick goals, the crowd was mentally not in it as well. When Miami scored, they came roaring back for an exciting 4+ minutes, but when the energy gets released out of that building, it REALLY gets quiet in there.
- Devin Loe looked really nice again last night. He was again matched up with the super-duo of Czarnik and Riley Barber for much of the evening again.
- Denver really plays a tight defensive game. With Sam Brittain standing on his head in net like he did last night, I’m not certain how they allow ANY goals. As it stands, they are 3rd in the country after last night’s games, allowing just 1.80 goals against over their 15 games played.
Last night’s Box Score.
Blake Coleman Status Update
During the second period, Blake Coleman was checked in front of the Miami bench and went down hard. Despite being right next to the door to the bench, Coleman couldn’t get off the ice for some time and never returned to the game. We can speculate all we want, but after seeing the replay a few times, Blake looked to be in a good amount of pain and I’m guessing we’ll get the “day-to-day (upper body injury)” indication on him. The injury had multiple impacts for Miami.
On the power play, Miami likes to deploy a 5-forward line as their top power play grouping. Usually, that’s Czarnik, Barber, Kuraly, Coleman and a rotating wheel at the 5th spot, but usually filled by Anthony Louis. Matt Caito (Miami’s best offensive defenseman) took his spot on the top PP line. While it isn’t a crushing blow to be without Coleman on the power play, it is a huge benefit to be able to play 5 forwards and have Czarnik be the quarterback (and the main defensive piece) on the power play.
In addition, Riley Barber was double shifting for about half of the game due to Coleman’s absence. Miami doesn’t keep time on ice (TOI) stats like the NHL does, but I’d be willing to guess he and Czarnik were above 25 minutes in ice time last night.
No matter what the status, it’s not likely that Coleman will miss much time. Again, we’re speculating here, but I’m going to venture a guess he won’t play tonight. On many occasions, Blake has taken a big hit, gone off the ice holding something and returned moments later. In my opinion, he appears to be the toughest guy on the roster. The fact that he didn’t return last night speaks volumes on the status of his injury.
After Saturday night’s game, however, Miami plays just once before January 10th and 11th at Western Michigan, and that game is an exhibition against the USNTDP Under-18 team. If Blake misses more than tonight’s game, I’d be shocked. We wish him and his team high 10 goals and 6 assists stat line a speedy return to the lineup.
Tonight’s puck drops at 7:07 pm and can be found on Miami All-Access.