Analysis: Win critical for Miami
OXFORD, Ohio – A limited few have put the puck in the net regularly for Miami this season.
But on Saturday. when the RedHawks broke the three-goal threshold for the first time in 2015-16, none of their markers came from their normal sources.
Miami beat RPI, 4-2 at Cady Arena on Sunday to salvage a series split, with scoring from Andrew Schmit, Justin Greenberg, Alex Gacek and Chris Joyaux.
That foursome had combined for five prior goals this season and despite all four being seniors and regulars on the RedHawks’ lineup card the past four years – except for Schmit, who is a transfer – this group had a total of 22 career goals entering this game.
Good for them, and better for the team.
Anyone who has watched a game or followed the team this season knows Jack Roslovic can score, as he leads the team with nine tallies.
Josh Melnick has no problem finding the net, nor does Anthony Louis, and Sean Kuraly certainly should score more than two goals the rest of this season.
That’s five players who have a track record of netting goals regularly, and one is more of a projection.
All season this team has struggled with scoring depth, and it got it when it needed it most.
Winning was important, as Miami had gone 0-6-1 in its previous seven, and reaching the four-goal mark was important, even though it was on an empty-netter.
If ever a team needed a spark, it was the RedHawks, who had not won in two months, and league play resumes for Miami next weekend.
– Good offensive zone time in this game. Miami had several shifts in which it controlled the puck in its offensive zone for a minute-plus. The RedHawks absolutely dominated in the first few minutes and for the majority of the third period.
– Jay Williams won his first game of the year in net. The senior may be the most enthusiastic player on the team, and that can only help the team this point. He didn’t dominate but at least deserves more playing time.
– The officials were pretty inconsistent over the weekend and totally missed Roslovic getting hammered as he tried to return to the Miami bench in the third period. It was clear Roslovic was being run, and this would’ve been a great opportunity to assess one of those new interference major penalties.
– The third line of Zach LaValle, Justin Greenberg and Kiefer Sherwood was the team’s best, especially in the third period when it generated tons of scoring chances, including Greenberg’s goal.
– One negative: This power play is awful right now. Too many players stand still. Miami has not scored a PPG in six games, going 0-for-13 since. And oh yeah, RPI picked up shorthanded goals both nights, sending the RedHawks’ net goal differential on the power play to minus-2 in its last five.
– Not a fan of the Saturday-Sunday thing. Most importantly, it gives less time for someone who writes about the team in his or her leisure to put up stories and photos. And the Sunday attendance was listed as barely 1,500.
FORWARDS: A-. This was one of the best games this corps has played all season. Anthony Louis was outstanding all weekend, and Sean Kuraly had several good looks at the net. But it was Greenberg and Gacek coming up with the crucial third-period goals, both from the side of the net. As mentioned above, the Greenberg-Sherwood-LaValle line was this team’s best on this night, and all three figured in Greenberg’s clutch goal.
DEFENSEMEN: A. RPI managed just 19 shots and two good scoring chances. Unfortunately for Miami, the Engineers buried both attempts. Scott Dornbrock had an above-average game, and Joyaux knocked home the clinching tally from three-quarters ice. A rare turnover by Matthew Caito led to RPI’s first goal, as he had a rare off game overall.
GOALTENDING: B. Williams was only called on for 19 shots. He made a couple of solid saves, but the two top scoring chances he faced both went in the net. No one could say that he was outplayed by teammate Ryan McKay, so he may have earned another start next weekend.
LINEUP CHANGES: Forwards Michael Mooney and Conor Lemirande were out from Saturday’s lineup and Devin Loe and Ryan Siroky were in. Defenseman Louie Belpedio remained out, as he is playing for Team USA in the World Juniors in Finland. Williams replaced McKay, who had started the previous nine games.