Analysis: MU overcomes lapse
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – Comfortably ahead by two goals in the second period, Miami saw its lead evaporate in less than 4:00 and under 10 minutes of real time on Friday.
The RedHawks’ response? Score twice in the closing minutes of the decisive period, tack on an empty netter in the closing seconds and most importantly hold Bowling Green without a goal the remainder of the game.
That combination spelled a 6-3 win for Miami at the Slater Family Ice Arena in Bowling Green.
It was the sixth win of the season for the RedHawks, who won nine all of 2016-17. And the above is a major difference between that campaign and this one.
It seems like Miami was in a ton of games that got away last season. The RedHawks haven’t been exempt from the occasional collapse this fall, but they’ve still found ways to earn several wins when they’ve suffered through major in-game hiccups.
And on Friday they did that on the road and without faceoff leader Casey Gilling.
Things won’t always go Miami’s way the remainder of the season. Injuries, bad calls, unlucky bounces are all parts of the game.
But at least Miami is proving way better at handling them than last season.
– Forgot to mention in the preview that Chaz Switzer was suspended two games total for his fighting major last Saturday. One game is mandated by the NCAA and the other by the league. What a joke. – Meyer likes the off-balance shots.
– It was Carter Johnson’s first game of the season, as he was the fourth line left wing with Casey Gilling out, and Johnson played like every shift would be his last. It can’t be an easy season for Johnson, a scratch the first 12 games after logging 37 in 2016-17, but he proved Friday he can be counted on for quality minutes if/when his number is called again.
– Carson Meyer really likes taking off-balance shots, perhaps more than any Miamian in recent history. He scored while nearly falling down last weekend and accurately wired a pair of shots in the same manor on Friday from the slot.
– Bowling Green goals two and three both came on defensive breakdowns, which was a team MO last season and an area of improvement this year. Miami left the slot wide open for the second Falcons goal, and a BGSU forward burst through three RedHawks for a breakaway to tie it (and Miami was lucky it wasn’t assessed an additional penalty on the play). Gotta tighten up the D.
FORWARDS: B+. Crisp passing, solid puck control, four total goals by this corps. It was a good night overall despite missing Gilling. Three goals in three games for Meyer is a major pick-me-up, and Kiefer Sherwood was more involved in the game as well.
DEFENSEMEN: B. A couple of lapses but overall a solid game. Grant Hutton scored twice and Louie Belpedio assisted on two goals. Transition passing was above average as well.
GOALTENDING: B-. Ryan Larkin stopped just 11 of 14 shots, but he made a solid save right before the first goal, scored at the end of an extended shift. He had no chance on the second goal, and third was on a breakaway. Larkin did make a couple of outstanding saves. It’s a common theme for the young netminder: He doesn’t face a ton of shots, but a lot of the ones he sees are Grade-A.
LINEUP CHANGES: As expected, Grant Frederic was back in the lineup with Switzer suspended. He was the seventh defenseman last Saturday and is playing a lot better than he did early in the season. With Gilling out, it was Johnson in.