UMD’s Cates crushes Miami
Miami saw quite enough of Noah Cates on Friday, as the Minnesota-Duluth freshman finished with more points than the RedHawks had goals.
The No. 3 Bulldogs won the series opener, 4-2 over MU at Amsoil Arena, as the Philadelphia draft pick scored the first two goals of the game and assisted on UMD’s third marker.
After falling behind by two, twice Miami pulled to within a goal but the Bulldogs (20-9-2) were able to reextend the lead each time.
RECAP: Following a scoreless first period, Cates wristed one from the top of the left faceoff circle that beat RedHawks goalie Ryan Larkin on the stick side 4:25 into the middle stanza.
Less than four minutes later, Cates scored on another wrist shot from the upper edge of the opposite faceoff circle, sneaking one inside the far post.
Miami (11-19-4) answered 81 seconds later, as Jonathan Gruden skated around a defender and backhanded a pass through the slot to Phil Knies for a one-timer.
A streaking Cates took a pass from Peter Krieger and returned the favor, setting him up at the edge of the crease for a tap-in goal to give the Bulldogs a 3-1 lead 55 seconds into the third period.
Miami again trimmed its deficit to one when Ryan Siroky tipped home a Derek Daschke wrister on the power play with 15:27 left in regulation.
But Cole Koepke snuck a wrister through the five hole with 11:56 left to seal it.
STATS: Siroky’s 2018-19 goal total has eclipsed that of his first three campaigns combined.
His eighth goal of this season also gives him three in his last three games. Siroky had netted seven goals in 2015-18.
— It was the second goal in four games for Knies, which is a positive sign.
The sophomore, who found the net 11 times in 2017-18, scored for just the fifth time this season. Knies did miss six games with an upper-body injury earlier this season.
— Miami extended its winless streak at Amsoil Arena to 12 games (0-10-2), dating back to Halloween of 2014.
Overall the Bulldogs have won five straight games vs. MU.
— The RedHawks did not have to kill a single penalty, the first time that has occurred for Miami in the NCHC era.
THOUGHTS: Miami was manhandled early and although the RedHawks pulled to within one on two occasions you never really felt like they were going to earn points.
MU could barely clear its defensive zone in the first period, generating just two shots.
Larkin was a save-ior in the first 20 minutes, turning aside 11 shots including multiple stops on A-plus chances.
Then things evened out in the second period, as shots Larkin probably would’ve liked back found twine.
Miami showed better life in the final frame, where was that intensity the first 40 minutes?
Inconsistency has been a major issue for the RedHawks this season.
But their record against Duluth in recent years has been very consistent.
— So Miami came back from 2-0 down and made it 2-1, which was the score heading into the third period.
Then the guy who had scored both UMD goals is allowed to skate into the zone uncontested, receive a pass and return it for an easy tap-in.
Grant Hutton, the right defenseman, was caught out of position and forwards Gordie Green and Knies also were caught flat-footed on that crucial Krieger pass.
The Bulldogs’ fourth goal also was the result of players skating into the zone on the left wing unchallenged.
— Gruden’s move and backhand pass to Knies for Miami’s first goal was one of the highlights of the year.
LINEUP CHANGES: River Rymsha was suspended by the NCHC for his hit at the end of last Saturday’s game vs. Denver. The league is wrong on that, by the way.
Christian Mohs also sat after dressing for 16 straight games, and Scott Corbett missed his third straight game with an upper body injury.
Carter Johnson was in the lineup after sitting for three of the last four contests, and Noah Jordan played for just the sixth time this season.
It was the sixth consecutive start for Larkin.
FINAL THOUGHTS: With Miami’s fate as a road team to open the NCHC Tournament sealed, the goal is getting better heading into the tournament.
We saw no evidence of this on Friday.
The RedHawks should’ve been down by at least two in the first period but Larkin bailed them out, then he gave up two he maybe shouldn’t have, and Miami answered with a goal twice but surrendered a third and a fourth on shaky defense.
Doesn’t exactly sound like a team that could make a run at an NCHC Tournament title.
Miami is currently in league tournament prep mode, which is a larger body of work than just one game, so it’s unfair to summarily judge based on a single night.
But the point is that this is the caliber of team Miami will face to open up the league tournament in two weeks, and the RedHawks did nothing to show they have a chance to steal a road series and advance to the Twin Cities for the first time in four years.