Analysis: Miami late losses mounting
In the you’ve-gotta-be-kidding-me department, Miami gave up two more late goals to turn a 1-0 lead into a loss to the second-worst team in college hockey – Colorado College.
The RedHawks lost, 2-1 to the Tigers at World Arena on Friday, giving away points for the fourth straight game and burying itself in an even deeper hole both at the NCAA level and in its conference.
Before we enter the sour grapes portion of this article – or are accused of it – the figurative hat needs to be tipped to CC. That team played better than MU, which may not be saying much lately, and deserved the win.
But seriously? Miami had to know what a hole it had dug itself in conference play, having earned eight of a possible 24 points in NCHC play. And this senior-laden team couldn’t possibly have forgotten 2013-14, when it sat home while the regional site it was guaranteed if it merely qualified for the NCAA Tournament was just 35 miles down the road, right?
How do you get outshot, 33-21 by a team that averaged fewer than 26 shots per game? Better question might be: How do you generate just 21 SOG vs. a Tigers team that had surrendered an average of more than 34?
And by the way, how do you score once against a freshman goalie that had given up at least three goals in each outing and entered play with a goals-against average well above 4.00?
How does CC score twice in the last 10 minutes after netting just 1.57 goals PER GAME in its first 14 tilts? And Colorado College had allowed 4.00 goals against per game entering Friday but the RedHawks were able to manage just one tally.
The Tigers were 59th out of 60 teams in NCAA in the all-important PairWise rankings entering Friday. Miami was 18th. Now it’s 27th.
The RedHawks deserve the substantial drop. A win on Saturday still guarantees a bad road trip and a disappointing first half of this season.
There is still time to turn it around, but it will be a difficult task.
– The lack of scoring by non-freshmen continues to be an issue. It was freshman forward Kiefer Sherwood finding the net for Miami in this game, giving RedHawks rookies 16 of their 31 goals. Defensemen have seven more tallies, meaning non-freshmen forwards have accounted for 25.8 percent of MU’s goals.
Think about that: a quarter of this team’s goals have come by non-freshmen forwards. In 2014-15, freshmen forwards scored once in the entire 40-game campaign (Conor Lemirande).
Hey, if there’s any positive coming from that stat, it’s that this team is looking good beyond this season. But how long Jack Roslovic will stay is a huge question mark and it’s way too early to look beyond this season anyway.
– I’ve never heard Pat Micheletti do color, but he was spot on in his analysis with the upstart American Sports Network broadcast on Friday, which was carried by the Altitude Network. He said Miami had trouble getting that put-away goal. He said the freshman scoring for the RedHawks was great, but they need production from veterans to have success.
He also clued in fans that Andrew Schmit suffered an upper-body injury, which is why he was out for this contest.
Even more importantly, he tipped off Miami fans that senior forward Sean Kuraly had some of his captain duties had waned, as Blasi told him to emphasize just playing in an effort to rejuvenate his offensive game.
Micheletti is the brother of Olympics and national telecast announcer Joe Micheletti.
– Axiom of the season: A win Saturday is crucial.
– Insert two quick positives: Kiefer Sherwood gets better every game and is a joy to watch, and goalie Ryan McKay deserved a better fate than a 2-1 loss.
FORWARDS: F. Generating 15 shots against this squad is embarrassing. Freshman Jack Roslovic was still able to make defenders look stupid but didn’t generate any major scoring chances, and same with classmate Josh Melnick. Sherwood was definitely the best forward on the team, and he seemed to be near or in possession of the puck every time he was on the ice. The Kuraly turnover really hurt, and the overall ineptness of this corps cost the RedHawks the game.
DEFENSEMEN: C-. Colorado College had at least three wide-open chances in the slot and a couple other good chances as the result of beating flat-footed blueliners. Again, this is a team that was 1-13 before Friday. Senior Matthew Caito crushed one of the Tigers early on but overall this group was not up to its standard.
GOALTENDING: A. Ahh, something positive to write about other than Sherwood. McKay absolutely deserved a better fate. He was very solid through two periods, making a stop on a 3-on-1, a 4-on-2 and another great look before the final 20 minutes. Patrick Roy couldn’t have stopped the tying goal and the final one was an open look that he had little chance on.
LINEUP CHANGES: As mention above, Micheletti said Schmit was out with an injury, and Mooney took over for him. With freshman Zach LaValle still injured, that leaves just Colin Sullivan as a healthy scratch. Unless he is somehow hurt as well, is there really no way this solid defender can get in the lineup with the team playing this poorly?