Secondary scoring huge for Miami
Miami broke out with seven goals on Saturday, and its scorers had a combined nine markers this season entering that game.
While it’s obviously insane to expect that kind of offense from second-, third- and fourth-line forwards on a regular basis, the RedHawks – at least for one night in a 7-3 win vs. Nebraska-Omaha at Baxter Arena – appeared to be over the forcefield-across-the-threshold-of-the-net blues that plagued them for many of their first 22 contests.
The reaction from 800 miles to east, behind a computer screen in a cozy back room, was 50 percent what-in-the-world-is-going-on-but-this-is-awesome and 50 percent it’s-about-time-some-of-those-shots-that-had-been-whistling-just-wide-or-off-posts-the-past-four-months-finally-found-twine.
The obvious question no one has the answer to is: Is the drought finally over or was this a three-hour reprieve?
Miami entered this weekend 53rd out of 60 in Division I in offense. The RedHawks aren’t that bad.
Miami scored seven times on Saturday, and only one of those was by a usual sniping suspect: Anthony Louis.
The RedHawks aren’t that good. No team is.
The word of the night, and the series, and the past nine days for that matter dating back to the Bowling Green win, is encouraging.
Two more words could determine how the rest of this season goes for MU: Secondary scoring.
Team leader Jack Roslovic, who had nine tallies this season, has one goal in his last 10 games. Josh Melnick is second overall with six but has one marker in 11 tilts.
Miami has still won three straight.
This team has seven excellent defensemen and two fantastic goalies. It doesn’t need to lead the NCAA in goals.
The RedHawks are now at 2.38 per game, up to 49th, and an average of 3.17 during their current 4-1-1 run. If they can come close to that clip, the back end should take care of the rest, and this could be a fun couple of months.
Only once in the past 11 games has Miami allowed more than three goals, so three should be enough most nights.
Back to the secondary scoring.
Could Kevin Morris could find the net a few more times during the stretch run like he did in both ends of this series?
Or is it a reach to suggest that Zach LaValle, who seems to get better every game, could start pumping in the occasional goal?
How about an occasion tally – not three a night, obviously – from wide-bodied Conor Lemirande, who showed an ability to use his hands to find the net and was able to tip in a shot while in the goalie’s face (with help from linemate and cousin Andrew Schmit, who picked up primary assists on two of his goals)?
The biggest question of this set is Sean Kuraly, since he has the potential to generate the most offense of this group.
Can he continue to play at the level he has the last three games, during which he has six points?
These don’t seem like outrageous questions to anyone who has seen this team frequently, and if the answer is “yes” to most, that goals-per-game average should continue to improve along with the team’s win total.
It was just one game, of course, but that’s on top of two other wins vs. highly-ranked teams, which has to have a confidence carryover for the entire team heading into a crucial four-game homestand and the second half of the NCHC slate.
– Miami did get a little sloppy with the big lead and could’ve finished better. Amazingly, the RedHawks were actually outshot overall, 30-27 after netting six goals on 12 shots in the second period.
– It was comical that when UNO scored late, the scoreboard operator initially gave the score to Miami, as the top of the screen read 8-2. Force of habit from the previous period, perhaps.
– Coach Enrico Blasi’s starting 19 were the same on Saturday as Friday. Evan McCarthy was still listed as the backup goalie.
– Speaking of Blasi, let’s give some credit to the coaching staff as well for this mid-season turnaround. Two weeks ago Miami was 6-11-3 and one point away from the NCHC cellar. Somehow they got this team to turn it around and win a couple of close games, followed by this not-to-close game.
– Segueing again, if Louis doesn’t score with two seconds left to beat Bowling Green last weekend, does Miami go into Omaha Friday and Saturday and pound the seventh-ranked team in Division I back-to-back nights on its own rink? Probably not?
Posted on January 24, 2016, in 2015-16, UNO Mavericks and tagged Anthony Louis, Conor Lemirande, Kevin Morris, Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks, Sean Kuraly, zach lavalle. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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