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.

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Posted on December 12, 2016, in 2016-17, analysis, Colorado College and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Anyone ever think about a change of management for the program? Our beloved ‘Hawks have been largely eclipsed and outclassed for the last 3 seasons. Ultimately in business and the military, management/leadership is held accountable and I believe the same should apply to this hockey program. Soon it may be times for some changes.

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