Category Archives: 2015-16
Anthony Louis scored the first goal of the game and his team’s last one – which came in highlight-reel fashion – and that plenty of offense for Miami.
The junior forward recorded a pair of goals, giving him three in two games and six in his last nine, as the RedHawks beat Western Michigan, 4-1 at Lawson Ice Arena on Friday.
It was the fourth straight road win for Miami (13-13-3), which surged to the .500 mark for the first time since Oct. 30.
The RedHawks took the early lead when freshman forward Josh Melnick stole a puck in the neutral zone and lifted it ahead to Louis, who skated in and whipped a shot by goalie Lukas Hafner just 4:26 into the game.
With 2:42 left in the opening stanza, senior forward Kevin Morris banged home a loose puck off of a shot by sophomore defenseman Scott Dornbrock on the power play to make it 2-0.
Miami extended its lead to three when sophomore defenseman Louie Belpedio, who had his intitial pass attempt blocked, fed one to freshman forward Kiefer Sherwood, who roofed it from the side of the net 3:01 into the middle frame.
Louis came in from the right wing, was held as he approached the net and still was able to lift a shot over Hafner for the RedHawks’ fourth goal 1:06 into the third period.
The marker was highlighted by ESPN anchor John Buccigross on Twitter. It was just the second multiple-goal game for a Miami player this season.
Sophomore forward Conor Lemirande recorded a hat trick for the RedHawks on Jan. 23 at Nebraska-Omaha.
Just 33 seconds away from a shutout, Western Michigan (7-19-3) scored on a shot from Aaron Hadley that trickled past Miami senior goalie Jay Williams.
Williams stopped 27 shots to record the win. He did not have a victory this season in calendar year 2015 but has eight already in 2016 and 44 for his career, two away from tying Connor Knapp for fourth place on the team’s all-time leaderboard.
Sherwood has scored in three straight games, and Melnick has picked up a point in nine of 10. Senior forward Sean Kuraly picked up an assist to give him 13 points in nine games.
Parlayed with losses by Nebraska-Omaha and Minnesota-Duluth, the RedHawks’ third straight win moved them into a tie for fourth place with both of those teams in the NCHC standings with 25 points apiece.
There was more good news for Miami, which surged to 15th in the PairWise rankings. It will probably take a final ranking of 13 or 14 to ensure a trip to the NCAA Tournament via an at-large bid, coupled with a winning percentage of .500 or better, but the RedHawks were as low as the high 30s earlier this season.
The teams wrap up the weekend series at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday. Miami returns home to host last-place Colorado College next weekend in Cady Arena’s final games this regular season.
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – Friday’s game was an interesting mix of both halves of Miami’s season: The first portion when the RedHawks couldn’t score and the most recent segment when they could.
Miami scored four times in the final 28 minutes to beat Bowling Green, 4-1 at BGSU Ice Arena after failing to hit the net on 16 first-period shots and a handful more in the middle stanza before breaking through.
The RedHawks scored an average of 2.07 goals in calendar year 2015 of this season and are netting 2.92 in 2016. Not coincidentally, Miami was 5-9-2 on New Year’s Day and is 7-4-1 since.
And the RedHawks have found scoring from other sources than Jack Roslovic and Josh Melnick. They’ve had to, as both have two markers in their last 11 games.
Sean Kuraly is back to his 19-goal form of 2014-15. Anthony Louis is doing his Anthony Louis second-half studly thing. Kiefer Sherwood was coming into his own before joining Roslovic’s top line and he’s thriving now.
BoB has said since August that with its core of veteran defensemen and goalies, this team would be fine if it can score enough. Now it is.
Miami has allowed five goals three times in its last 11 outings, all losses. MU is 7-0-1 when allowing three or fewer in that stretch.
Friday’s crowd was a hostile one as well, and seeing the RedHawks play so well in that environment bodes well for them the next couple of weeks, as they will visit Western Michigan and Minnesota-Duluth, sandwiching a home series vs. Colorado College to wrap up the regular season.
Five wins in those final six would be optimal, four would get Miami over .500 but probably not where it needs to be in PairWise. Three or fewer would be a disaster against the fourth, seventh and eighth place teams in the NCHC.
The way the RedHawks are playing right now, there’s an excellent chance they win the majority of their remaining regular season games and earn home ice for the first round of the NCHC Tournament.
– This was a tough game to watch as a Miami fan, because one (OK, I) got the feeling the hot goalie – BGSU’s Nell – might steal one. He made some good saves and the RedHawks missed some great chances. The Louis goal seemed to open the floodgates, and after the Kuraly goal, MU did an outstanding job of fending off the Falcons’ ensuing surge at the end of the second period.
– Speaking of Louis, I have no idea how he scored the equalizer. He had no apparent angle to shoot at and somehow was able to roof one. What a great way to make up for fanning on a high-quality opportunity earlier.
– Really impressed with Kiefer Sherwood since January. Having a future NHL star in Roslovic on your line doesn’t exactly hurt, but it feels like he’s going to put up huge offensive numbers in his four years in Oxford. He was involved in a pushing match in the first period with a chippy BGSU team, and that seemed to elevate his game, the sign of a strong player.
– These were definitely not NCHC officials. There were 11 total power plays – seven for Miami, tying a season high – including a pair of two-man advantages. Don’t have the stats for it, but I can’t remember Miami or an opponent having a 5×3 all season. It’s rare to see a team with four or more power plays in a game with NCHC referees. Definitely inconsistent.
– Great BGSU crowd. The rink was sold out, and the Falcons fans were enthusiastic and into the game, which unfortunately is not always the case in Oxford. Best of luck to Bowling Green the rest of the season in its quest for the NCAAs.
FORWARDS: A-. Really liked the Melnick-Gacek-Louis (AJA – Anthony, Josh, Alex) line. The Crash Cousins line was also strong, barring a bad turnover by Conor Lemirande at his defensive blue line which fortunately didn’t result in a goal. Loving that top line, of course, which accounted for two goals. If we had to nitpick, and that’s what we do, Roslovic is still too committed to carrying the puck through multiple defenders, and as a result he turned it over too often.
DEFENSEMEN: A. Bowling Green was super aggressive, leading to some solid scoring chances, but this corps did a great job of shutting most down. Louie Belpedio broke up a 3-on-1, and Chris Joyaux and Grant Hutton shut down quality opportunities as well. Taylor Richart did his unsexy shut-down thing as well, as did Matthew Caito, who pumped in the clinching empty netter.
GOALTENDING: A. Jay Williams had to deny a clean breakaway 52 seconds into the game, and he shagged it cleanly to set the pace for the rest of the game. He had to make his best stops in the first period, and Bowling Green scored on a point-blank tip that he had little chance on. Williams has appeared in 11 straight games with no end in sight, and hopefully he won’t tire down the stretch run, as it appears he is this team’s only option for the immediate future.
LINEUP CHANGES: Joyaux was back in the lineup, replacing Colin Sullivan on the blue line, and Andrew Schmit was back on the fourth line, replacing Ryan Siroky, who sat for just the second time in 2015-16. Devin Loe centered the Crash Cousins’ line, which played well with the exception of the aforementioned Lemirande turnover. Still no word on goalie Ryan McKay, who is suspended indefinitely. Evan McCarthy remains Miami’s backup in net.
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – Miami’s seven-game road losing streak seems like an eternity ago.
The RedHawks fell behind early before scoring the final four goals en route to a 4-1 win vs. Bowling Green at BGSU Ice Arena on Friday, extending their winning streak to three games away from Oxford.
MU’s last road loss came over two months ago at Colorado College.
Senior center Sean Kuraly netted the game-winning goal, the 12th of his career, as he moved into a tie for third place all-time on the Miami leaderboard, tying him with Andy Miele and Reilly Smith.
Kuraly finished with a goal and an assist, giving him four multi-point games in his last six contests and 12 points in his last eight (4-8-12).
In the first minute, Miami senior goalie Jay Williams was forced to stop a breakaway after a stretch pass.
With 8:18 left in the first period, BGSU (16-10-6) took the lead when Brent Tate tipped home a blue-line wrister from Sean Walker in the closing seconds of a power play.
But the second period was kind to the RedHawks once again.
Miami (12-13-3) tied it when junior forward Anthony Louis roofed a shot from the side of the net on a two-man advantage with 7:23 left in the frame.
Less than three minutes later, Kuraly tipped in a change-up wrister from the blue line by sophomore defenseman Scott Dornbrock to put the RedHawks ahead for good, 2-1.
That was the sixth goal in a row Miami had scored in the second period. Fortunately for the RedHawks, they bucked that trend in the final stanza.
Freshman forward Kiefer Sherwood banged home a loose puck with 6:09 left in regulation to give Miami a two-goal lead.
Senior defenseman Matthew Caito iced it with an empty netter in the closing minutes.
Kuraly has scored four times in his last six games, and Sherwood netted his fourth in seven. Louis has pumped in four in eight games.
Caito scored his 16th career goal, moving him into seventh on the school’s career leaderboard, tying him with 1996 graduate Pat Hanley.
Freshman defenseman Grant Hutton recorded his first multi-point game, tallying a pair of assists. He has four helpers in his last three games after picking up just one through 25 contests.
Freshman forward Josh Melnick has recorded a point in eight of nine games, finishing with one assist.
Senior goalie Jay Williams stopped 21 shots to earn the win, the 43rd of his career. He is three away from Connor Knapp for fourth place all-time at Miami.
The RedHawks jumped to a tie for 19th in the PairWise rankings with the win. They would likely need to be in the top 13 to be a safe bet for an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament.
Nebraska-Omaha won on Friday, moving into a tie with Miami for fifth place in the NCHC standings, and the Mavericks have a game in hand over the RedHawks.
Miami is off until next Friday, when they travel to Kalamazoo, Mich., for a series at Western Michigan.
at BGSU 1-0-0–1
First period–1. BGSU, Tate 4 (Walker, Bednard), ppg, 11:42.
Second period–2. Mia., Louis 7 (Melnick, Belpedio), ppg, 12:37; 3. Mia., Kuraly 6 (Dornbrock, Hutton) 15:15.
Third period–4. Mia., Sherwood 7 (Kuraly, Roslovic) 13:51; 5. Mia., Caito 4 (Hutton), eng, 18:13.
Power plays–Miami 1 for 7; Bowling Green 1 for 4. Shots on goal–Miami 16-14-19–49; Bowling Green 8-7-7–22. Goalies–Miami, Williams (21 of 22 shots saved); Bowling Green, Nell (45 of 49). Referees–Tommy Albindia, Brett Klosowski. Linesmen–Andrew Hempel, Frank Hempel. Attendance–4,025. Time–2:16.
OXFORD, Ohio – In its second game since being assembled, the all-Columbus line accounted for a pair of goals.
That was the difference on Saturday in Miami’s 3-2 upset win over No. 3 St. Cloud State at Cady Arena.
It was a risky move by Coach Enrico Blasi, as the RedHawks’ offense was scoring at its best clip of the season.
It was senior center Sean Kuraly scoring the go-ahead goal that made it 2-1 midway through the second, and minutes later freshman forward Kiefer Sherwood banged home the third Miami tally.
Freshman forward Jack Roslovic set up the latter with an NHL-caliber pass through multiple defenders and the top of the SCSU crease.
Scoring has been an issue all season, and Miami was held to one goal on Friday but quietly there is cause for optimism.
The Columbus line lit the lamp twice in this game. The Garden Gnome line (Josh Melnick-Anthony Louis-Alex Gacek) netted the other two this weekend.
The combination of Kevin Morris and Zach LaValle have lit the lamp four times in the past seven games, and the Crash Cousins line accounted for three – all on Conor Lemirande’s hat trick – two weeks ago at UNO.
This team won’t make people forget about the 1983-84 Edmonton Oilers, granted, but in a brutal six-game stretch that saw the RedHawks face UNO on the road and Denver and St. Cloud State at home, Miami averaged 3.3 goals.
The back-to-back losses were tough because they were at home and every game is so important now, but ultimately Miami went 4-2 during arguably its toughest three-week stretch of the season and played some very good hockey in the process.
These guys hung with the third-best team in Division I for most of the weekend.
Now the RedHawks will have to take that success to the road, where they play five of their final seven regular season games.
– The RedHawks did not get a PairWise boost from this win. In fact, they dropped a spot despite beating the second-ranked team in college hockey. That means it’s more likely Miami will have to win the NCHC Tournament to secure an NCAA berth. But the RedHawks have gone to the NCHC final both seasons of the league’s existence, winning one title and posting a 7-2 overall record in the conference tourney.
– Ryan McKay was still not with the team this weekend. He is still on an indefinite suspension, but he is still in Oxford. Not sure what’s going on behind the scenes, but while McKay’s actions when he left his last start were clearly wrong, it’s been four weeks and he’s a senior. Here’s hoping he and the coaching staff can make amends soon. It’s hard to watch a player’s final stretch run go down like this, especially somehow who has contributed so much to this team. The Brotherhood is more than just lip service, right?
– SCSU entered play with a power play north of 31 percent, the second-best clip in Division I, but Miami allowed just five man-advantage opportunities on the weekend and killed all of them. The RedHawks retain the title of college hockey’s top PK unit at 93.5 percent.
– Very disappointed that only 2,534 watched Miami’s biggest home win of the season. North Dakota isn’t coming to Oxford this season, so this is the best team that visits Cady Arena. Granted Miami isn’t ranked, but really? Less than 70 percent of capacity? Still, that almost doubled the attendance for the Miami-Bowling Green basketball game played a few blocks north hours earlier.
FORWARDS: B. It was a fantastic second period, especially by the newly-formed Columbus line. Melnick scored as well, but linemate Alex Gacek got beat 1-on-1 for the first SCSU goal. And yes, that fourth line was caught deep again on a St. Cloud goal. Freshmen Jack Roslovic, Melnick and Kiefer Sherwood have been three of the best Hawks in terms of offensive production recently, which bodes well for the next couple of seasons. Kuraly is the hottest with 10 points in seven games.
DEFENSEMEN: B. Speaking of freshmen, really liked the play of Grant Hutton this weekend. Beyond the two assists he played very well in his own end. Colin Sullivan had a rare start and did his typical solid thing. Louie Belpedio scared everyone in the first period when he went down the tunnel but he returned and picked up a key assist. Holding SCSU to 23 shots is an impressive body of work.
GOALTENDING: B+. Williams probably should’ve had the first goal with his glove, but as usual, he got better as the game went on. He stole the show in the third period with 11 saves, including several on excellent scoring chances. Williams had no chance on the tic-tac-toe second goal.
LINEUP CHANGES: Blasi went with Devin Loe over Andrew Schmit on the fourth line. Loe had sat eight straight games and is another player you’d like to see on the ice more, although he went minus-1. Sullivan had not dressed in six contests and replaced Chris Joyaux, who was a scratch for the first time since opening night.
OXFORD, Ohio – A five-minute scoring outburst resulted in just enough for Miami on Saturday.
The RedHawks netted three second-period goals and held off No. 3 St. Cloud State, 3-2 at Cady Arena in the series finale as the teams split the weekend series.
Like Friday, the game remained scoreless until the final minutes of the first period, and the Huskies again took the early lead, as Jimmy Schuldt penetrated from the blue line to the top of the faceoff circle and wristed one that deflected off the glove of Miami senior goalie Jay Williams with 1:45 left in the opening frame.
The RedHawks’ goal binge started 5:54 into the middle stanza when freshman defenseman Grant Hutton threw a pass through the top of the crease to freshman forward Josh Melnick, who slammed it home to tie the score.
Miami (11-13-3) took the lead for good when senior center Sean Kuraly drove down the left wing and roofed a forehand shot just 1:22 later.
Freshman forward Jack Roslovic threaded a pass through traffic to freshman forward Kiefer Sherwood for a one-timer that ended up in the net with 9:29 remaining in the second period, making it 3-1.
Patrick Russell cut the lead to one for SCSU (23-6-1) with 6:38 left in that frame when he tapped in a pass by Mikey Eyssimont at the side of the cage.
Three of the four goals in the second period were scored off of high-quality passes.
Williams stopped made 11 of his 21 saves in the third period to preserve the victory, including multiple point-blank opportunities. He earned his 42nd career win and is fifth on Miami’s all-time victories list, moving to within four of fourth place.
Kuraly was the only RedHawk with multiple points, finishing with a goal and an assist. He has 10 points in his last seven games, including three of his five goals this season.
Melnick scored for the second consecutive game, and Sherwood has three makers in his last six contests.
Despite the quality win, the RedHawks dropped one spot to a tie for 25th in the PairWise rankings. They moved into solo control of fifth place in the NCHC with 22 points, three ahead of Nebraska-Omaha and three points behind Minnesota-Duluth.
Miami plays its final non-conference game at Bowling Green at 7 p.m. on Friday.
OXFORD, Ohio – Sometimes in hockey the final score is not indicative of the game itself.
That was the case on Friday, when St. Cloud State beat Miami, 5-1 at Cady Arena despite being badly outshot and having the RedHawks dictate play for much of the night.
That’s not in any way to say the wrong team won, as the Huskies were masterful at creating chances off of the transition and burying shots when they had their opportunities.
In a way it was a microcosm of the season: SCSU finished its chances and Miami did not. That’s a key reason the Huskies have eight players with 20 or more points and the RedHawks have one.
Against a team as good as St. Cloud State, a team has to convert its chances, and Miami had plenty in the first period but went into the first intermission down one.
At that point it felt like the night might have been lost.
To the RedHawks’ credit, Melnick scored 15 seconds into the second period to tie it, but MU spent way too much time chasing Huskies down the ice the rest of the game, and SCSU made Miami pay.
Time is quickly running out on the RedHawks if they hope to have any chance of earning an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament or home-ice advantage for the first round of the NCHC Tournament.
Miami remained 24th in the PairWise and would need to climb to at least 14th for an at-large, which would require at least at 6-2 record and a first-round NCHC win (preferably a sweep). That’s the bare minimum, and a win on Saturday would be a great start.
In terms of NCHC standings, the RedHawks are tied for fifth but are only three points out of fourth with fourth-place Minn.-Duluth and the two lowest teams – Western Michigan and Colorado College – left on the schedule.
It comes down to winning, and Miami will need to do a lot of that in the next few weeks or it will need to run the table in the NCHC Tournament to get into the NCAAs.
– Starting to think the Conor Lemirande hat trick may not have been the best thing for the Crash Cousins line, as they were caught down the ice twice on odd-man chances that resulted in St. Cloud State goals. That’s at least three times since the offensive breakout game at UNO. The grind line’s job is to neutralize the other team’s offense and to make sure nothing bad happens for 30 seconds, and this line is becoming way too aggressive since its three-goal game.
– Sean Kuraly was moved to center of the Kiefer Sherwood and Jack Roslovic line, and they created tons of scoring chances but couldn’t find the net. Roslovic has been outstanding the past couple of weekends, and after fanning on two first-period chances from the left side of the net, he set up countless more for others.
– Of course loading up a line comes at a cost to another, and Justin Greenberg’s line with Kevin Morris and Zach LaValle did little (Morris did have five shots but non high quality).
– All in favor of defensemen pinching in the right spots, but one really has to pick one’s spots against a high-powered team like St. Cloud, and too many times Miami’s D got caught in this one. This RedHawks team is not built to match speed and offensive chances with a team like the Huskies, so expect a lot more conservative play on Saturday unless the Huskies have the lead late.
– Like the idea of the red and white checkered effect in the stands, but most did not adhere to it. Section 12 was white, and the only white Miami attire this fan has is his jersey, which did come down off the mantle, but it’s coat weather at the rink, and few have white coats. Maybe they could coordinate with the pre-meds next time they attempt this?
FORWARDS: D. For a team that had 36 shots – 32 by the forwards – only a handful were quality chances, and almost all of them were created by the Roslovic line. One exception was the goal, of course, and honestly, the shot by Gacek should’ve been handled cleanly and Melnick shouldn’t have had a rebound opportunity. Anthony Louis was not tough on defense and gave too much space when SCSU scored its first goal. On the next two the Crash Cousins line got caught deep.
DEFENSEMEN: C-. As mentioned above, too much pinching and too many high quality shots against. Louie Belpedio has been very good since returning from World Juniors for the most part but did not have a strong game, going minus-3. Even dependable Taylor Richart made an errant pass in the offensive zone that ultimately ended up in the net. And they did not contribute on offense, although Grant Hutton did have a small hand in Miami’s lone goal by holding a puck in the zone, giving his a secondary assist.
GOALTENDING: C-. Sort of like last Saturday, Jay Williams had no chance on some goals, made a couple of great saves and gave up a goal he would’ve liked back. The first goal was an NHL-caliber backhand. No. 2 was on a breakaway, and neither goalie has been great on those this season. The third one snuck through on the backhand, and Williams should have been able to make the stop. SCSU’s fourth and fifth goals were on odd-man chances with wide-open players at the side of the net. He did make an unbelievable save on a point-blank one-time chance in the second period. If Ryan McKay was an option, Game 2 would be a good time to change it up in net with 10 goals against in two games, but it looks like Williams in the team’s only real option right now.
LINEUP CHANGES: Coach Enrico Blasi switched pairings and tweaked lines but went with the same 19 for the sixth straight game. With consecutive decisive losses a change or two might be in the cards for Saturday’s finale.
OXFORD, Ohio – Despite dominating in the shot column, firing 36 for the game including nearly half in the first period, No. 3 St. Cloud State was much better in the category that counts: Hitting the net.
The Huskies pounded the RedHawks, 5-1 at Cady Arena on Friday, netting four straight goals after Miami tied the score at one in the opening seconds of the second period.
The first frame was played almost exclusively in the SCSU end, as Miami led, 17-3 in shots heading into the final minutes.
But St. Cloud State (23-5-1) put the final three shots on goal, including a wicked backhander by Ethan Prow that snuck just under the crossbar with 39 seconds left in that stanza.
The RedHawks (10-13-3) tied it 15 seconds into the second period when freshman forward Josh Melnick batted home a rebound from a bad angle off the initial shot by senior forward Alex Gacek.
The Huskies took the lead for good when David Morley went in alone and backhanded one over the pads of senior goalie Jay Williams with 8:25 left in the middle stanza.
Less than three minutes later, Judd Peterson made it 3-1 when he pitchforked one past Williams from the side of the net off a 3-on-2.
Blake Winiecki tapped home a back door pass from Ryan Papa with 13:50 left in regulation, and Patrick Russell scored from his forehand on a 2-on-1 with 4:07 to play to cap off the scoring.
St. Cloud State extended its unbeaten streak to seven games and Miami dropped its second straight.
Melnick, who had his five-game point streak snapped last Saturday, started a new one with his goal. Gacek now has five points in six games.
The RedHawks are now 0-3 vs. SCSU this season and have been outscored by the Huskies, 11-1.
The teams wrap up their weekend series at 7 p.m. tonight at Cady Arena.
WHO: No. 3 St. Cloud State Huskies (22-5-1) at Miami RedHawks (10-12-3).
WHERE: Cady Arena, Oxford, Ohio.
WHEN: Friday–7:05 p.m.; Saturday–7:05 p.m.
TV: Friday–Fox Sports Alternate (DirecTV Ch. 608); Saturday–None.
ST. CLOUD STATE RADIO: Both nights–KCML-FM (99.9).
MIAMI RADIO: Both nights–WMOH-AM (1450), Hamilton, Ohio; WKBV-AM (1490), Richmond, Ind.
NOTES: St. Cloud State has 123 goals or 4.39 per game, the second-best clip in college hockey.
The Huskies have eight players with 20 points or more, compared to Miami, which has just one (Jack Roslovic), and six SCSU skaters have scored at least 10 times.
Kalle Kossila has 11 goals and 24 assists for a team-best 35 points, and Joey Benik leads the team in markers (17) and is second in helpers (16).
Rounding out the team’s 30-point club is David Morley with a line of 10-21-31.
Captain Ethan Prow leads all blueliners in points with 26, including five goals.
In net, Charlie Lindgren leads all of college hockey in wins (21) and minutes (1,562). He has a 2.04 goals-against average and a save percentage of .927.
St. Cloud State is second in college hockey with a power play percentage of 31.7.
If the Huskies have an Achilles’ heel, it’s their penalty kill. Opponents are converting 22.8 percent of their chances on the man advantage.
SCSU is riding a six-game unbeaten streak and has won four in a row, during which the team has scored 25 goals.
Miami leads the all-time series, 13-9-2, but has lost four of its last five meetings. This is the first time these teams have played in Oxford since Feb. 21-22, 2014.
The RedHawks have just one more home series after this weekend.