Monthly Archives: December 2016

Photos: Colorado College at Miami

Images from the series played between Colorado College and Miami at Cady Arena on Dec. 9-10, 2016. All photos by Cathy Lachmann/BoB.

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Analysis: Nice win but lots more needed

OXFORD, Ohio – It was a fun way to end a not-so-fun streak.

Miami trailed, 2-0 midway through the third period but ended up beating Colorado College, 3-2 in overtime at Cady Arena on Saturday.

The RedHawks (4-8-2) finish the first half of the season with <— that record.

It was a bittersweet win for a number of reasons.

Miami goalie Chase Munroe (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

Miami goalie Chase Munroe (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

PROS: Great comeback. Some of the most intense hockey Miami has played in the final stretch of the game. The RedHawks were physically involved. The win gives the team some momentum heading into the break. Chase Munroe was solid in net, earning his first career win.

CONS: Colorado College was ranked 48th in college hockey entering the weekend. Miami shouldn’t have needed motivation to play the first 50 minutes. Any momentum from this win could be squelched by 20 days off.

Not to be a downer, but the first con should count double. Last season it seemed like the RedHawks were ready to take the NCHC by ice storm after Jay Williams shut the Tigers out for a two-game series, becoming the first MU player to accomplish that feat.

They were the last wins of the season for Miami.

This fall, people see the team record and ask what the team’s problem is. It’s not an east question to answer and most don’t accept the offer to have a few pints and discuss.

As a season ticket holder for 11 years one tries to dwell on the positives, but one has also seen a couple hundred games in this rink and knows to keep perspective after an emotional regular season win or loss. It’s a long season with many, many ups and downs.

The coaches say the process is paramount, but with the exception of the occasional bad bounce and goalies stealing games, process and record typically are directly proportional.

This comeback win with a spectacular ending was great for the team and the fans, but it only counts as one win, and because of the 16 games before it, Miami has to put together a lot more ‘W’s in the next three months.

Other thoughts…

– If you haven’t seen Josh Melnick’s game winner, the link is at the end of this explanation, but it requires setting up because it’s hard to see the puck, even after several views.

Go to the 3:35 mark and change the setting to “slow”. Carson Meyer shoots the puck from along the boards, and it goes out of sight for a second, but keep an eye around Melnick’s right knee. The puck reappears, drops toward the ice and he bats it into the net. Amazing goal.

Link is here:

– Loved seeing Karch Bachman use his speed to create Miami’s first goal. He threw the puck into the corner, chased it down and fed it to Willie Knierim in front of the net. Look forward to seeing him showcase his skills more the next 3½ years.

GRADES

FORWARDS: B. Was hovering around a flunking grade halfway through the third period. This corps still didn’t help create a power play goal, but the puck movement and chances were a lot better. Coach Enrico Blasi is still adjusting the lines but overall the line chemistry seemed improved over Friday. Meyer has been a huge help since returning.

DEFENSEMEN: C. Chaz Switzer’s turnover ended up in Miami’s net, and a total breakdown resulted in the odd-man chance that became Colorado College’s second goal. Mistakes will happen but they will get a lot harder to overcome when the RedHawks play the loaded schedule they have awaiting them in January and February.

GOALTENDING: B+. Munroe’s first and second starts were polar opposites. He looked calm on Saturday and nervous in his starting debut. He controlled his rebounds and stopped all of the routine shots in this game. The first goal was on a breakaway. The second was on a 2-on-0 that he made a spectacular initial save on before the follow-up was banged in. So neither were on him.

LINEUP CHANGES: Blasi benched two-thirds of his third line on Saturday – Ryan Siroky and Zach Lavalle. Alex Alger was back in the lineup after sitting for three games, and Knierim returned to the ice and scored the first Miami goal. On defense, Jared Brandt was scratched again but should be fine in three weeks. The Munroe start was a bit of surprise, since regular starter Ryan Larkin played well on Friday, but it worked out well. Perhaps Blasi was sending a message to his team about its overall play in Game 1 of the series, or maybe he thought this was a rare chance to give Larkin a break before an arduous second half.

Miami scores 3 late to edge CC

OXFORD, Ohio – It took three late unanswered goals, including an overtime winner by Josh Melnick, but Miami’s winless streak is finally over.

Miami forward Josh Melnick (photo by Cathy Lachmann).

Miami forward Josh Melnick (photo by Cathy Lachmann).

The RedHawks rallied from a two-goal deficit in the third period and ultimately topped Colorado College, 3-2 in the extra session at Cady Arena on Saturday.

That snapped a string of 10 straight games without a win for Miami, its longest such span since 1991. It was also the RedHawks’ first NCHC victory of the season.

The Tigers (3-12-1) took the lead 4:47 into the game when Alex Berardinelli went in on a breakaway and beat Miami goalie Chase Munroe.

Midway through the second period, Nick Halloran and Berardinelli had a 2-on-0, and Berardinelli was initially denied by Munroe but recovered the puck, skated behind the net and centered to Mason Bergh in the slot for a one-time goal, making it 2-0.

Miami (4-8-5) had been held scoreless for 111 minutes until the 10:02 mark of the third period, when Karch Bachman dumped a self-pass into the corner, skated behind the net and centered to Willie Knierim, who poked it past goalie Alex Leclerc to cut the lead in half.

The RedHawks tied it less than four minutes later. Anthony Louis whipped a wrister on net that was blocked at the top of the crease, and the puck bounced to Josh Melnick. Leclerc made a spectacular toe save to deny Josh Melnick, but the puck slid to the side of the net, where Kiefer Sherwood slammed it home on a delayed penalty.

Ninety-four seconds into overtime, Carson Meyer threw one toward the net, and it hit off Melnick, who batted it into the net on the short side to win it.

Melnick and Sherwood both finished with two points on a goal and an assist apiece. Melnick has five points in his last four games and Sherwood recorded three points on the weekend.

Meyer picked up a helper and owns a team-best four-game point streak. Louis notched his 107th career point and moved into a tie for 44th with Blake Coleman on the RedHawks’ all-time scoring leaderboard.

Goalie Chase Munroe turned 18 shots aside to earn his first collegiate victory.

It was the first win for Miami since Oct. 28 – which also came in overtime. The RedHawks moved into solo control of seventh place in the conference.

Miami is off the next two weekends and resumes play at 4 p.m. on Dec. 31 at Ohio State in the back end of a home-and-home series. The teams tied when they met in Oxford on Oct. 15.

Analysis: Win Saturday is a must

OXFORD, Ohio – Surely Miami’s winless streak has to end on Saturday, right?

If the RedHawks can’t at least earn one win on its home ice against Colorado College, MU will have to beat a top-20 team to snap its skid, since every one of its remaining opponents is ranked.

The RedHawks skated to their 10th straight non-win on Friday, tying the Tigers, 1-1 at Cady Arena. It was Miami’s third consecutive NCHC deadlock, and the team has yet to win in conference play (0-4-3).

After its series finale vs. CC on Saturday, MU is off the next two weeks, then it’s off to Ohio State. The Buckeyes are ranked No. 10 in the USCHO poll.

Here’s the remaining schedule with team rankings.

at No. 10 Ohio State
No. 17 ST. CLOUD (2)
at No. 8 North Dakota (2)
at No. 20 UNO (2)
No. 18 W. MICHIGAN (2)
at No. 17 St. Cloud (2)

(then it really gets fun)

No. 2 DENVER
at No. 1 Minn.-Duluth
No. 8 NORTH DAKOTA

Now back to this series.

The Tigers entered this weekend having lost seven straight and had allowed 31 goals in that span. Only one of their first 14 opponents had been held to one goal, yet Miami was unable to get out of the binary range.

Considering both teams’ woes, it’s sort of fitting that neither team would come away from Friday with a win.

But this can’t happen for Miami on Saturday if it wants to salvage this season.

The RedHawks’ finale against CC is their 17th game of the season. A win would put them at 4-8-5, and they would probably need to go at least 12-5 for get into PairWise-at large consideration.

A tall order, certainly, but a loss in this one would force a 13-4 finish or better. Reference the above remaining schedule to see Miami’s chances, or any NCAA team’s odds of winning 13 of 17 against those opponents.

Twelve wins in 17 would give Miami 43 points with a win vs. Colorado College and 40 with a loss. That could be the difference between an all-important fourth seed and home-ice advantage in the first round of the NCHC’s or a fifth seed and a road trip in a hostile rink to extend its season like in 2015-16.

The RedHawks have a ton of work to do if they hope to get back into NCAA consideration but that workload increases substantially if they can’t pick the only low-hanging fruit remaining on their schedule.

Other thoughts…

Miami's Gordie Green (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

Miami’s Gordie Green (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

– This game was actually pretty boring, which can be expected when two teams that aren’t playing well show why their records are where they are. But just based on Friday’s 65-minute sample, it doesn’t look like Colorado College has the talent to compete in this league, while Miami is underachieving among other issues. Heading into the second half of the year, the RedHawks are in the better position to turn things around.

Miami forward Karch Bachman (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

Miami forward Karch Bachman (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

– Coach Enrico Blasi has been playing with the lines, and one interesting combination was Gordie Green, Josh Melnick and Karch Bachman. Green was a solid point producer in the USHL but he has just four this season and two since opening night. Bachman has blazing speed and a great shot but he hasn’t been cast into a role in which he can thrive. Green set up Bachman with a couple of great passes and Bachman nearly found the net. It’s a small line with a ton of speed and has a lot of potential.

Miami forward Josh Melnick (photo by Cathy Lachmann).

Miami forward Josh Melnick (photo by Cathy Lachmann).

– Speaking of Melnick, he was double-shifted nearly the entire second period, joining the fourth line as well as his own. Colin Sullivan was listed as a forward but played a significant amount of defense and Melnick absorbed much of his ice time up front.

– Can’t take credit for this line – heard it used by Mike Babcock but not sure if he was the originator either – but if Miami’s power play gets much worse the RedHawks want to consider declining penalties. In six minutes on the man advantage Miami generated one shot. MU has not scored a PPG in five games.

– The attendance for this one was a season-low 1,992 despite class still being in session. That’s the worst gate total at Cady since Jan. 9 during the J-term. If this team doesn’t get better expect a half-empty arena the second half of the year.

GRADES

FORWARDS: D+. Colorado College isn’t an impressive lot yet Miami scored just one goal. The RedHawks had some dominant stretches but that should be a given against a team that is 3-11 and ranked in the bottom 20 percent of college hockey. Louis did have eight shots. Justin Greenberg continues to get better on faceoffs and may be the team’s best forward on draws at this point.

DEFENSEMEN: B. This corps kept the mistakes to a minimum, which has not always been the case this season. Grant Frederic quietly seems to get better every game. The strange thing with Miami’s defensemen is that three seasons ago only Matthew Caito appeared to have the green light to join the rush, and the other blueliners would act like they had bungie cords tied to them when they reached the blue line. Now all six/seven jump in all the time, sometimes even going behind opponents’ nets. Can there be a happy medium?

GOALTENDING: B+. Ryan Larkin was solid as usual but didn’t see a ton of high-percentage shots. He continues to do a fantastic job with positioning and controlling rebounds. Not sure what happened on the goal – it was a weird angle and seemed to surprise Larkin. It didn’t look like he saw it very well. What a goalie allows one goal his team should win most nights.

LINEUP CHANGES: Can this team ever get completely healthy? Jared Brandt missed his second straight game with an upper body injury but shouldn’t be out much longer. He has been a solid stay-at-home defenseman on a Miami team that has really needed a solid stay-at-home defenseman. The RedHawks played their other seven defensemen, with Sullivan listed at forward to start the game. At forward, Willie Knierim was a rare scratch and Alex Alger sat for the third straight game.

Miami ties Colorado College

OXFORD, Ohio – At least Miami won the shootout.

Although the RedHawks officially tied Colorado College, 1-1 at Cady Arena on Friday, MU picked up the extra league point by topping the Tigers in sudden-death penalty shots.

Despite earning two of a possible three points, Miami (3-8-5) saw its winless streak extended to 10 games and has yet to win an NCHC game, as its league record is now 0-4-3.

The RedHawks’ last three conference games have ended in ties.

Miami's Anthony Louis (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

Miami’s Anthony Louis (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

Miami (3-8-5) took the lead early, as Anthony Louis netted his team-leading 10th goal. Kiefer Sherwood slid a short pass to Carson Meyer before being hit the blue line, and Meyer eluded a defender before connecting with a streaking Louis, and Louis buried the one-timer 3:16 into the first period.

Colorado College (3-11-1) evened the score with 3:36 left in the second period as Luc Gerdes stole a puck deep in the offensive zone and threw the puck in from a bad angle along the goal line.

The RedHawks outshot the Tigers, 28-18 over the final two periods and overtime but could not regain the lead, going scoreless over the final 61:44.

Miami is now 0-7-3 during its skid, the team’s longest winless stretch since 1991.

Despite leading the RedHawks in goals, Louis’ was his first in six games. He has picked up points in 12 of his last 14 contests.

Sherwood earned his first point in four games, and Meyer has now tallied a point in all three games since returning from an illness, going 2-2-4.

RedHawks goalie Ryan Larkin stopped 25 shots.

Miami moved into a tie for seventh with the Tigers in the NCHC by winning the shootout, however the RedHawks fell further in the PairWise, slipping to a tie for 43rd.

The teams wrap up their series at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday.

Miami skid reaches 25-year low

For the second straight night, Miami fell a goal short, and for the ninth straight game, the RedHawks came away without a win.

Miami dropped a 2-1 decision at Cornell on Saturday and is now mired in its longest winning drought in a quarter century, as the RedHawks are 0-7-2 since their last victory, which came on Oct. 28.

The last time Miami (3-8-4) suffered through a skid this long was in 1990-1991, when the RedHawks played 17 consecutive winless games.

The Big Red took the lead 10:53 into the first period when Dan Wedman whipped a shot from just inside the blue line over the shoulder of Miami goalie Ryan Larkin.

Cornell (7-3-1) made it 2-0 just 98 seconds into the middle period when a shot from along the wall was tipped by Jake Weidner, popped over Larkin and into the net.

The RedHawks’ lone goal came exactly three minutes into the third period. Josh Melnick won an offensive-zone faceoff back to Grant Frederic, who threw the puck off the end boards, and the carom was backhanded in by Carson Meyer.

Meyer has scored in both games since returning from an illness.

Miami forward Josh Melnick (photo by Cathy Lachmann).

Miami forward Josh Melnick (photo by Cathy Lachmann).

Frederic earned his third assist of the season and Melnick picked up his third helper of the weekend.

Miami outshot Cornell, 12-3 in the third period – and 26-20 overall, leading the Big Red in that department for the second straight night – but was unable to pull even.

The RedHawks were swept in a weekend series for the third time this season. Entering this weekend, MU had lost just one one-goal game, but in addition the slim losing margin in this game, it suffered a 4-3 defeat on Friday.

The RedHawks return home and will face Colorado College next Friday and Saturday at 7:35 p.m. and 7:05 p.m., respectively. Those will be Miami’s last home games of the calendar year.

Analysis: MU still reeling in 3rd period

A week off and the return of two key players were not enough to lift Miami out of the doldrums.

Despite a promising start that saw the RedHawks jump out to a two-goal lead, Cornell rallied to a 4-2 win over MU on Friday.

That makes eight straight games without a win for Miami (3-7-4), its longest winless span in two decades. And in the third period, the RedHawks have allowed 14 goals during their slump. They’ve scored twice.

Closing out games has been a residual theme for Miami over the past decade – since That Game That Will Not Be Mentioned, really – but right now this team is really in a third-period funk.

The parity in college hockey is too great to give games away, and this is the second time during this skid that Miami has done just that. Flip those losses to wins – not a stretch considering MU led by two late in the second period of both games in question – and the RedHawks are 5-5-4.

In the NCHC, one or two games over .500 is good enough for NCAA consideration, and Miami would be right there.

Youth becomes less of an excuse every time this team takes the ice. Yes, the RedHawks still have 14 freshmen on their roster, but they’ve been playing competitive games for two months now and most of these guys come in at 19, 20 or 21 now.

We’ll say it again: Having a young team means so much less in hockey than it does in the Big Two. There’s the older player factor (only Willie Knierim is a true freshman) and these guys play 70-game seasons in juniors prior to college.

Of the previous eight seasons, Miami has advanced in the NCAA Tournament three times. Twice it has been during the freshman-heavy recruiting campaign. The other was 2009-10, a team with eight sophomores and only four seniors, went to the Frozen Four.

That’s not to say this team won’t get better as the season progresses. But there’s no excuse for any team to squander multiple multiple-goal leads late.

The RedHawks play 34 regular season games. This was Game 14, with Game 15 set for Saturday night. Miami returns home to host Colorado College for a pair, which will take the team to the midway point of its schedule.

Granted, four ties essentially equals two wins, but the RedHawks need to string together some W’s quickly or they could be looking at another short postseason and long off-season.

Other thoughts…

Miami's Carson Meyer (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

Miami’s Carson Meyer (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

– First a couple of positives. Carson Meyer returned after missing four straight games, and he scored Miami’s first goal. In 10 games he has three markers and eight assists for a freshman-best 11 points.

– Captain Louie Belpedio also was back in the RedHawks’ lineup, having sat the last six with a lower body injury. Miami was outshot in every game he was out – 220-151 in those contests – and the RedHawks actually led, 31-25 in SOG on Friday. On the flip side, he took three penalties down the stretch and Cornell scored Goal No. 4 on the second minor.

Miami forward Karch Bachman (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

Miami forward Karch Bachman (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

– Goals: Other than Meyer, Grant Hutton scored his fourth of the season after posting no goals and five assists in 2015-16. Also, freshman Karch Bachman recorded the first of his college career. This pair led the team in shots: Bachman finished with six and Hutton – a defensive defenseman – ended the night with five.

– Miami was only on the power play twice on Friday while Cornell (6-3-1) had six chances on the man-advantage. That differential of minus-4 opportunities was a season low for the RedHawks. MU was outscored, 1-0 on the man-advantage and obviously lost by one goal overall.

– Talk about a slick highlights reel: Check out the one the Big Red put together for Friday’s game. Or, considering the outcome, maybe just watch the first half.

Cornell sinks Miami with late goals

Another late breakdown by Miami helped extend the team’s winless streak reach its highest total in over two decades.

The RedHawks led by two late in the second period but gave up four straight tallies, including three over a five-minute span, as they fell, 4-3 at Cornell on Friday.

That makes eight straight games without a win for MU, which last went that long without a victory Oct. 20-Nov. 24, 1995. The last time the RedHawks went winless for a longer stretch was near the end of the 1990-91 season.

Miami (3-7-4) went ahead by two goals before its collapse.

Josh Melnick centered a pass through traffic to Carson Meyer, who buried a wrister from the slot to open the scoring 5:57 into the first period.

Miami's Grant Hutton (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

Miami’s Grant Hutton (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

With five minutes left in the second period, Ryan Siroky led a 3-on-2 and slid a pass to Grant Hutton, who buried a shot stick side from the high slot to make it 2-0.

But with 1:55 left in the middle stanza, Cornell’s Noah Bauld toe-dragged around Miami defenseman Grant Frederic and beat goalie Ryan Larkin to cut the RedHawks’ lead in half.

The Big Red tied it when Eric Freschi backhanded a pass to a streaking Beau Starrett, who slammed it home with 9:50 left in regulation.

Cornell (6-3-1) took the lead on another slam-dunk goal 73 seconds later, as uncontested Anthony Angello slammed home a centering feed from Mitch Vanderlaan at the top of the crease.

Trevor Yates tapped in a loose puck following a scramble in front of the crease to make it 4-2 with 5:02 to play.

Miami did trim the Big Red lead to one with 3:04 left as Karch Bachman chipped a backhand home off a feed by Hutton for his first collegiate goal.

The RedHawks’ last win was on Oct. 28 and their lone road victory was opening weekend in Providence, as they are 1-4-2 away from Cady Arena.

They have been outscored, 14-2 in the third period during their skid and have surrendered multiple goals in the final frame four times and three or more in three of those contests.

Hutton finished with a goal and an assist for his second career multi-point game and his first of 2016-17. He has points in three straight games.

Anthony Louis picked up an assist as he earned a point for the fifth consecutive contest.

These teams wrap up their weekend series at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday.