Miami finally ends winless drought

OXFORD, Ohio – The longest Miami winless streak in over a quarter century is over.

The RedHawks snapped a 15-game, 0-11-4 skid with a 4-2 win over Nebraska-Omaha at Cady Arena, giving MU its first win in nearly three months.

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

It was the second-longest victory drought in team history, with its worst — just two games longer — coming at the end of the 1990-91 season.

Gordie Green racked up three assists in the Miami win, and Josh Melnick and Scott Corbett finished with a goal and a helper apiece.

RECAP: Miami scored first for the first time in 14 games when Josh Melnick kicked a pass to himself and swept a short pass to Derek Daschke at the faceoff dot for a one-timer that snuck in the short side 7:50 into the first period.

Phil Knies appeared to have scored seconds later, but the initial call of good goal was waved off because it was ruled UNO goalie Evan Weninger’s helmet had been dislodged.

But Knies found the net found the net again at 11:06, and this time it counted. Casey Gilling fired a shot from the high slot that Weninger couldn’t handle, and Knies poked the loose puck in to make it 2-0.

Miami’s Scott Corbett (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

Knies had stolen the puck at the blue line, shielded the defense and dropped a pass to Gilling to set up his goal.

The RedHawks went up three when Green sent a cross-ice pass to Corbett, who trapped it with his skate and beat Weninger short side from the top of the faceoff circle midway through the second period.

The Mavericks cut the lead to one on a 2-on-1 goal by Chayse Primeau and a blue line blast by Jalen Schulz later that frame.

But Miami sealed it with just under four minutes left in regulation, as Green fed Melnick on a 3-on-2 for a rip from the center of the faceoff circle that snuck under the crossbar.

STATS: It was the second career three-assist game for Green, with the other coming earlier this season against Colgate on Oct. 27.

Miami’s Andrew Sinard (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

– Corbett recorded his first career multi-point game, and it was the first for Melnick since Miami’s last win, which came on Nov. 17 at Colorado College.

Andrew Sinard, whose outlet pass to Green resulted in Corbett’s eventual game winner, earned an assist for his first career point.

– Daschke is now tied with Grant Hutton for the team lead in defenseman goals with six, and Knies snapped a 13-game scoring drought.

THOUGHTS: What a relief for Miami.

In terms of standings, this win does little to help the RedHawks except increase the odds they don’t finish last in the NCHC.

But psychologically it had to do wonders.

The third period was the most entertaining frame MU had played in a while, with a high pace of play, plenty of physicality and tons of quality scoring chances for both teams with the score still close.

Miami will need the boost, as the remainder of its schedule is brutal, with all but two of its regular and postseason games almost certainly away from Cady Arena.

Not to take away from this sorely-needed win, but it’s fair to point out that Omaha is seventh in the eight-team league, and it took all Miami had just to split with the Mavericks in Oxford.

The RedHawks will need to play much, much better against much, much better teams, or they will be done by or on St. Patrick’s Day once again.

– Miami did not have a single healthy scratch in this game, as it had just 19 skaters and two goalies available. Bray Crowder, who was hurt on Friday, did not dress for the first time this season, leaving the team with 13 healthy forwards and six defensemen.

Fortunately for the RedHawks, they have a bye next weekend, giving their banged-up players additional time to heal.

– Not sure about the timing of the season ticket renewal offers. There was an announcement and accompanying note on the end zone monitors offering incentives and potential prizes for renewing this weekend.

As in now, as in over a month before this season ends.

One could smell the desperation in the air, and as of game time Saturday, apparently only a handful jumped on the early offer.

GRADES

FORWARDS: B-. The three goals by this corps were great, but they are still taking too many risks and getting out of position too often. For example, three times in the second period forwards played chicken with UNO skaters that had the puck, trying to strip them while they were on collision course to gain momentum the other way, and none succeeded. Miami wasn’t scored on during any of those occasions but each time the skater was taken out of position. That’s not smart hockey, especially with the lead. Only 15 total shots by 13 forwards against a team that allows 35 per game. Green was outstanding and was named first star but Knies was BoB’s choice, as he was all over the ice all night. Melnick and Corbett were also standouts, and Christian Mohs had good legs and gave the team much-needed energy.

Miami goalie Ryan Larkin (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

DEFENSEMEN: B-. A pretty average game defensively by this group, and Daschke’s laser of a goal boosts its grade into the ‘B’ range. Grant Hutton was solid on D, but it’s rare he is held without a shot.

GOALTENDING: A-. Larkin turned 31 shots aside, including a 2-on-1 that he sprawled across the crease to kick out and multiple other stops on high-percentage chances. The second UNO goal was a shot from the blue line he probably should’ve stopped, but overall he was excellent.

LINEUP CHANGES: Just one: Noah Jordan dressed in place of the injured Crowder.

Coach Enrico Blasi has tended to go with seven defensemen this season, but he has no choice with just six healthy.

STANDINGS: With the split, Miami remained two points behind seventh-place Omaha and is three points back of sixth-place Colorado College.

Denver holds that all-important fourth spot and is 10 up on the RedHawks with three games in hand.

After all of Saturday’s games, Miami is No. 38 in the PairWise rankings.

FINAL THOUGHTS: So this series split comes heading into an off-week before a pair of tough road series.

Will the time off be helpful at this point or will that kill any momentum the RedHawks may have gained from this win?

Considering the locker room has been essentially converted to a triage unit the week off will probably benefit Miami more than it hurts.

The pressure that the RedHawks – players as well as coaches – had to be under during their 0-11-4 had to be enormous. This win will hopefully have a cathartic effect.

With Miami almost certainly pigeon holed into one of the lower seeds heading into the NCHC Tournament, it’s still all about getting better heading into that all-important best-of-3 postseason series.

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Posted on February 10, 2019, in 2018-19 and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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