Analysis: BG finale a tough lesson for Miami
OXFORD, Ohio – Fans had to realize this season would come with growing pains.
They can chalk Saturday up to that, as Bowling Green fell behind early but scored the final four goals in a 4-1 win over Miami at Cady Arena as the Falcons salvaged a series split.
BGSU beat the RedHawks for the second time in 21 games. And the Falcons were 0-6-1 entering Saturday. Ouch.
Two things though: Bowling Green is better than its 1-6-1 record, and on Saturday, the RedHawks were worse than their 3-1-2 mark.
It’s a disappointing finish to an otherwise inspiring non-conference slate, although Miami does head to Ohio State on New Year’s Eve to officially conclude its out-of-NCHC schedule.
Bowling Green, with former RedHawks assistant Chris Bergeron at the helm, found a way to bottle up Miami’s fast, skilled forwards all weekend, and things will only get tougher for MU from an opponents standpoint, as the RedHawks play 24 of their last 25 regular season games against physical NCHC foes.
Much of what fans have seen the first month of the season has been encouraging, but that will need to translate to the ultra-difficult conference schedule Miami faces the next four months.
The RedHawks’ first test comes next weekend at Western Michigan.
FORWARDS: D-. Not really inspiring to watch from a fan’s perspective after the Louis goal. It seemed like that motivated Bowling Green, which dominated the remainder of this game. Bachman had the bad turnover that resulted in the Falcons’ second goal, although he was trying to do the right thing by clearing the puck to the boards. This corps finished with 15 shots.
DEFENSEMEN: D+. It seemed like a slower, less skilled BG team skated around this corps far too often for quality chances. Grant Hutton took three penalties and now has seven in seven games after taking three minors all of 2015-16. Obviously the fault doesn’t lie entirely with this group for the shot differential, but holy smokes, 41-18?
GOALTENDING: D+. Larkin has been a stud in net for the most part during the first leg of this season, partly because he has been stellar at controlling his rebounds. He gave up a huge on on the first goal, and on BGSU’s third goal, he failed to control a puck along the side of the boards, and a player poked it in off him from behind the net. He still stopped some great chances.
LINEUP CHANGES: As feared, Josh Melnick was out of the lineup on Saturday. He was in the concourse and walked with a noticeable limp. He is day-to-day with a lower body injury, and the hope is that he will be ready for this weekend. Willie Knierim dressed in his place. Carter Johnson centered the first line – he was on the fourth line previously! – and did a quality job, but Melnick is an exceptional player that is impossible to replace at this level. On defense, Chaz Switzer and Colin Sullivan were back in and Grant Frederic and Bryce Hatten were scratched. The three freshmen have all been OK but Sullivan has outplayed them all to this point. Sullivan, a former Montreal Canadiens draftee, should not be sitting.