Miami rallies late to beat Lowell
OXFORD, Ohio – Miami saw its scoreless streak reach 120 minutes after two periods on Saturday.
But the RedHawks finally broke through early in the third period, completely swinging the momentum their way as they eventually won, 2-1 over UMass-Lowell at Cady Arena.
Ben Lown scored the tying goal 1:05 into the final stanza of the weekend after Miami (4-2) had been shut out the first five periods.
Derek Daschke found the net for the game winner less than eight minutes later and the RedHawks survived a late Riverhawks surge.
RECAP: Both teams managed just five shots in a scoreless first period.
UMass-Lowell (2-2) finally broke through with 5:49 left in the middle frame when a Miami pass hit a teammate’s skate and was intercepted by Connor Wilson, who skated in and fired one past RedHawks goalie Ryan Larkin from the high slot.
Miami tied it when Ben Lown roofed a backhander after Karch Bachman surged into the zone and handcuffed goalie with a point-blank wrister 65 seconds into the third period.
On a 4-on-3, Daschke’s initial shot was blocked, but he corralled his own rebound and swept it just inside the far post with 11:02 remaining.
Ryan Larkin shut down a wide-open, point-blank chance by diving across his crease, and another high-quality chance hit the post down the stretch as Miami preserved the win.
STATS: Daschke is the first RedHawks defenseman to record his second goal this season, and Lown snapped an 11-goal skid without a marker.
Bachman remains tops on the team in points with five as he earned one in this game with an assist.
Larkin has allowed just four goals in four starts this season as he lowered his goals-against average to 1.00 and raised his save percentage to .956.
Miami snapped an 0-for-20 power play slump with Daschke’s game winner in the third period. The RedHawks scored on their last chance in their season opener vs. UAH and had not tallied a PPG since.
Also on special teams, this was the fourth time Miami did not allow a power play goal as its penalty killing rate improved to 90.5 percent. The RedHawks were 4-for-4 on Saturday.
THOUGHTS: It’s amazing that coaches and players can put in thousands of hours of recruiting, game planning, practices and workouts in preparation for games and yet Miami was pretty much flat all weekend until that tying goal.
Then, somehow, it clicked for the RedHawks and they were a completely different team.
They played with tons of energy and controlled play, ultimately leading to UML goalie Tyler Wall tripped Josh Melnick on a 4-on-4, setting up a Miami power play and Daschke’s decisive goal.
Then the RedHawks were really tested: A quality Hockey East team trailing by one threw all it had at Miami in an attempt to tie it.
Running out the clock was facilitated by a pair of undisciplined Riverhawks penalties in the final minutes.
MU didn’t play perfect hockey during UML’s surge but was good enough to survive its first close game of the season. And that experience is invaluable as the RedHawks – with 11 new members – form a cohesive unit.
No disrespect intended to Alabama-Huntsville or Mercyhurst, but Miami went 3-0 against those teams and should’ve gone 3-0 against those teams.
On multiple levels, this was the first quality win of the season for the RedHawks. Hopefully many more will follow.
– Miami kept its head during some rather chippy moments. If UML’s goal was to bait the RedHawks into penalties, it backfired because the Riverhawks spent most of the final five minutes in the box as they tried to tie the score.
– Bachman gave an example of what speed can bring to the game when he surged through the UML defense and fired a shot that resulted in Lown’s rebound goal. Brayden Crowder deserves credit for his outlet pass on that play as well.
– On that note, the Bachman-Lown-Casey Gilling line played well together. Like the chemistry of those three with their collective skills.
FORWARDS – C. Didn’t do a whole lot the first two periods and obviously this corps was much better in the third. Lown scored at a tough angle and Bachman made it happen with his speed. Melnick stood out and was 16-6 on faceoffs.
DEFENSEMEN – B. Again, this corps kept the Grade-A chances by opponents below that of the past couple of seasons. Daschke scored the winning goal and Grant Hutton picked up an assist on it.
GOALTENDING – B+. Larkin probably conceded a little more ground on the stick side than he should have on the UML goal, but it was an absolute snipe so it might not have mattered. He juggled a very easy chance in the first period but for the most part was extremely solid all night.
LINEUP CHANGES: After Jordan Uhelski started in net on Friday, it was Larkin between the pipes in this one. Larkin has now played in four games, Uhelski two.
Defenseman Grant Frederic dressed for the first time and was slotted in that “flex” spot, so every skater on the Miami roster has now played in at least one game. Forward Zach LaValle was also back on the ice.
Out were Fs Christian Mohs and Carter Johnson.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Can’t emphasize how big this split is.
As it stood through two periods, Miami was looking at a 3-3 record having played zero true road games with an 0-3 record against teams in the top 70 percentile of the NCAA if that score held.
This win showed Miami can not only play with good teams but can beat them.
A similar mid-range team in Colgate heads to Oxford next weekend, giving the RedHawks another chance to step forward.