Category Archives: St. Cloud State Huskies

Analysis: Why the sudden turnaround?

OXFORD, Ohio – One of the more captivating things about hockey is how teams that appear dead on the frozen water at one point of a season can quickly reverse that negative trend.

The Miami everyone wanted to play in November and early December has made a significant move in the conference and PairWise the past month, as it won its fourth straight game on Saturday, 4-1 over St. Cloud State at Cady Arena.

The RedHawks (7-8-5) were in last place in the NCHC after their 10th straight non-win on Dec. 9 and dipped as low as 42nd out of 60 teams in the all-important PairWise Rankings, which determine at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament and seeding.

Thirty days later, Miami has shifted into a tie for fifth in the conference and is a point away from fourth. In theory the RedHawks could move as high as third with a pair of wins next week.

MU is up to 28th in PairWise and has much work to do to warrant at-large consideration, but the team is still up 14 spots in a month with plenty of hockey remaining against high-quality opponents.

So what’s the difference? A quick summary…

Health. A young Miami team already lacking a ton of depth couldn’t catch a break in this department the first 16 games. Carson Meyer, Louie Belpedio, Ryan Larkin, Jared Brandt and Josh Melnick – all major contributors on RedHawks Version 2016-17 – missed a combined 15 games with various injuries and illnesses. All are currently healthy now and playing at a high level.

Third-period turnaround. As documented previously, Miami was outscored, 14-3 during its 0-7-3 run in the third period. During their winning streak, the RedHawks have netted 11 goals in the last frame. Opponents: 2. They’re finishing stronger and appear in better shape than earlier in the campaign. Miami found ways to lose games it led the first couple of months and now is pulling them out late.

Power play. With plenty of minutes under its belt as a unit, the Belpedio-Melnick-Anthony Louis-Kiefer Sherwood-Meyer group has impressed with its puck movement, and after going six straight games without a goal on the man-advantage (0-for-19), Miami is 4 of 13 (30.8 percent) in the three contests since.

Melnick on fire. The sophomore scored one time in the first 16 games but has found the net in four straight, netting five goals and setting up another in that span. That includes two overtime winners and the tying goal on Friday. He wins the hardest-to-figure-out-how-he-scored award, as after watching his Saturday goal live and several more times on replay it was still unclear how the redirected the puck in. Both OT goals were highlight-reel quality but also required slow-mo.

Confidence in other forwards. Forgive if anyone is left out, but among freshmen, Gordie Green is getting better every game, so is Willie Knierim. Alex Alger is a solid fourth-line pest, and Karch Bachman has a great shot and better speed, and he has huge upside.

Defense is a little more stable. Miami isn’t quite where it was last season, but that’s because Matthew Caito and Taylor Richart were about as steady as it gets in the NCAA in terms of shut-down D-men. With their departure the returning blueliners are higher in the depth chart consistently facing better forwards, and it’s a tough adjustment. But Grant Hutton, who was so strong as a freshman, is becoming more consistent, and Grant Frederic continues to improve and has been better about staying out of the box. The RedHawks allowed 90 shots in a weekend series in Denver – remarkably tying both games – but has surrendered an average of just 24.0 in the eight games since and had outshot opponents in seven straight before Saturday’s game.

Sherwood is taking over portions of games. There are times now when no one can take the puck away from Sherwood, and he’s exponentially tougher to defend with his passing game evolving. His double-clutch before sliding a pass through to Green for Miami’s second goal on Saturday is a prime example: Teams can no longer play for that lethal shot from the left faceoff circle. The NCHC clearly has the scouting report on Sherwood’s happy zone, but he is moving around on power plays and inflicting damage elsewhere, having adjusted to the conference’s adjustment. And he scored the RedHawks’ first shorthanded goal of the year to open the scoring.

And of course, a little puck luck. As everything seemed to be going wrong for Miami, that intangible made things worse at times, as the RedHawks hit posts and were victimized by bad bounces. The Hockey Gods appear to be balancing things out recently, as opponents are drawing iron and not getting breaks they were the first couple of months.

GRADES

FORWARDS: B. This corps scored a goal shorthanded, at even strength and on the power play. The forwards really didn’t generate a ton of chances, but they cashed in on the Grade-A opportunities. And St. Cloud State always seemed to have sticks and bodies in the shooting lanes. If we had to nit-pick, the bottom two lines didn’t do a whole lot and haven’t scored much all season. We could also mention that 12 forwards managed just 17 shots and a few were weak one at an idle goalie.

DEFENSEMEN: B. It’s been a gradual process, but the blueliners are getting beaten less often than in weeks past. The Huskies entered this weekend averaging nearly 3½ goals per game but had limited chances and just one marker in this game, thanks largely to this group. This was one of Hutton’s better games, and he added the cherry on top with the ENG in the final minute after intercepting the puck at center ice. Scott Dornbrock blocked five shots.

Ryan Larkin makes one of his 28 saves on Saturday (Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

Ryan Larkin makes one of his 28 saves on Saturday (Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

GOALTENDING: A. Notice how goaltending wasn’t mentioned before. The reason is that Larkin has been steady throughout, and without him Miami would not have seven wins. That said, he was even better than usual in this game, stopping 28 shots, with his lone blemish being a heat-seeking laser off a drop pass. Larkin faced some difficult shots but as is his MO allowed a very limited number of rebounds.

LINEUP CHANGES: Same six on D, same goalie, just one change up front. Carter Johnson was scratched for the first time this season in favor of Alger. With four straight wins and the team playing its best hockey of the season, the lineup card probably won’t change a whole lot.

Big third keys Miami win over St. Cloud

OXFORD, Ohio – The third period that was the bane of Miami the first half of the season has become the team’s best friend.

From right to left, Kiefer Sherwood, Louie Belpedio and Anthony Louis celebrate during Saturday's win (Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

From right to left, Kiefer Sherwood, Louie Belpedio and Anthony Louis celebrate during Saturday’s win (Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

The RedHawks scored three times in the final stanza to secure a 4-1 win over No. 20 St. Cloud State at Cady Arena on Saturday as Miami recorded its first weekend series sweep since last February.

MU also extended its winning streak to four games and is now unbeaten in its last five. The RedHawks had gone 0-7-3 prior to their winning streak.

Miami (7-8-5) tallied its first shorthanded goal of the season midway through the first period when Kiefer Sherwood stole the puck at center ice, skated in and buried a shot on the far side just under the crossbar.

The score remained 1-0 until the crucial third period. Sherwood double clutched before threading a pass through two defenders and onto the tape of Gordie Green, who scored from the side of the net with 18:58 left in regulation.

The Huskies (9-10-1) cut the MU lead in half with 6:02 to play when Jimmy Schuldt left a drop pass for Jake Wahlin, who wired one past RedHawks goalie Ryan Larkin.

But Miami regained its two-goal lead 72 seconds later when a power-play blast from the blue line by Louie Belpedio was tipped home by Josh Melnick, making it 3-1.

Grant Hutton intercepted the puck, skated in uncontested and tapped home the RedHawks’ final goal with 43 seconds left.

Miami had scored nine third-period goals in its first 16 games but has netted 11 in its past four contests and at least two in each game during its winning streak.

Melnick extended his goal-scoring streak to four games with five in that span. Sherwood has four markers in his last four contests.

Sherwood finished with a goal and an assist, giving him points in five straight and eight during his streak. Anthony Louis picked up a season-high two helpers and also had a five-game point streak (2-5-7).

That gives Louis 112 points for his career, tying him for 39th on the team’s all-time career leaderboard with Pete Shipman and Rob Vanderydt.

Larkin stopped 28 shots to earn his third consecutive victory.

The win moved Miami into a tie for fifth with the Huskies in the NCHC standings with 13 points, and the RedHawks are just one behind fourth-place Western Michigan.

MU jumped one spot to 28th in the PairWise Rankings.

The RedHawks’ next four games will be on the road. They will travel to North Dakota next weekend for two games and head to Nebraska-Omaha the following weekend for a pair.

Analysis: Miami thriving in overtime

OXFORD, Ohio – After playing enough free hockey, Miami has gotten quite good at it.

Having gone to the extra session eight times in 19 games, the RedHawks won their third overtime game of the season on Friday, 3-2 over St. Cloud State at Cady Arena.

The paragraph would’ve generated ample laughter if written six weeks ago, but Miami has been clutch late in games.

The biggest statistical difference between the RedHawks’ 0-7-3 stretch and their current 3-0 run? They were outscored, 14-3 in the third period and beyond during the former and have notched 10 goals to their opponents’ one in the three since, all wins.

Miami celebrates after Josh Melnick's overtime game winner (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

Miami celebrates after Josh Melnick’s overtime game winner (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

Instead of giving games away late, Miami is pulling off wins thanks to third-period rallies.

Two of those three wins have been decided in overtime, with Josh Melnick netting the game-winning markers in both. He also scored late in the first period at Ohio State with five seconds left in the first period to cut Miami’s deficit to one, 2-1, completely changing the course of that eventual 6-3 MU win.

Yes, St. Cloud State has dropped to No. 20 and was without a top player and coach Bob Motzko, holdovers from the World Juniors who were unable to reach Oxford by game time, but the Huskies are still an excellent, well-coached team that is outstanding at shutting down shooting lanes.

The RedHawks definitely had to earn this win, and despite all of their first-half issues are just two games under .500 with a chance to climb into a tie for fifth in the NCHC with another win on Saturday parlayed with a Nebraska-Omaha loss (the Mavericks fell to North Dakota, 9-1 on Friday).

Sure, Miami had some bad luck with key injuries and illnesses early, but the team just didn’t look confident in these clutch situations the first two months of the season. The RedHawks found ways to lose, but now they’re finding ways to win these tight contests against quality opponents.

Even if it isn’t showing up on the score sheet, you can see certain players evolving, which from a fan perspective is one of the most fun things about college hockey.

Carson Meyer and Ryan Larkin have been the co-valedictorians of this Miami freshman hockey class to this point, no doubt, but Gordie Green is playing with so much more confidence, and so is Willie Knierim, who has a ton of upside largely – pun somewhat intended – because of his size. a great example. So is Karch Bachman, who has blazing speed and a wicked wrister but doesn’t seem to get put into situations that could garner success.

Defenseman Grant Frederic also quietly seems to get better every game, and Jared Brandt has been that steady defensive D-man Miami always seems to bring in to shore up that corps.

This team is so much better now that in was during the 0-7-3 skid, and a key win like this is a major validation of that statement.

Other thoughts…

– Not sure I’ve seen a game in which dumb penalties have resulted in all of the final three critical goals. Miami’s Colin Sullivan, a fifth-year senior who we’ve praised here repeatedly and at times questioned why he hasn’t played more, drove a player into the boards late in the third period of a 1-1 game despite seeing the number on the back of his jersey from the Indiana border. And St. Cloud went ahead on a power play goal it scored as a result, but fortunately for Miami the Huskies took an even dumber penalty a half minute later, and the RedHawks’ Melnick scored both the tying and go-ahead goals on the resulting major.

– (continued) With his team leading, 2-1, Jacob Benson targeted the head of Meyer on an open-ice hit and rightly drew a five-minute major and was booted from the game. Fortunately Meyer wasn’t hurt, but Melnick scored both of his goals on that penalty, which were the tying and game-winning goals. Guessing Benson isn’t a really popular player on SCSU right now.

– Is it really that hard for linesmen to drop pucks for faceoffs? Does anyone really want to see multiple re-drops?

– The power play. Miami had its struggles early on the man-advantage but scored both of its late goals on Melnick PPGs, giving the RedHawks three tallies in their last 10 chances over the past two games. They were 0-for-19 in their previous six contests. Still looking for that first shorty though – MU is one of only nine D-I teams without one this season.

– On a personal note, a win like this, and the OSU one, and the Colorado College one, make it a lot more fun to come to the rink. I can’t wait for Saturday’s game. At 3-8-5, it was harder to get psyched for the 65-minute drive to Cady Arena.

– Understand the J-term concept but still hate seeing the rink mostly void of students and fans overall. The attendance was 1,717. Not much expected for Game 2 either.

– On another personal note, I apologize for not doing more in terms of pro and FutureHawks updates the first half of the season. Lots going on, but hope to rectify that during this critical final months of the season, and we promise to write some player features down the stretch. Thanks for everyone’s patience and understanding.

GRADES

FORWARDS: B+. This was a tough gig for this group, as Miami’s forwards faced a quality group of shut-down defensemen and goalie, but they managed three goals, all in the final 10 minutes of regulation and OT. Finishing with 34 shots is good, but a few too many were weak looks with no traffic that had zero chance to hitting the net. In addition to the obvious (Melnick-Louis), really liked Meyer’s all-around game, and Kiefer Sherwood and Justin Greenberg have really improved on their faceoffs, although I admit I’ve never seen anyone win draws consistently like Sherwood does, dropping to one knee each time.

DEFENSEMEN: B-. In 11 years of watching every minute of every game at Cady Arena, I’ve never seen a group that is so hard to grade. Grant Hutton got beaten badly on a drive to the net that was stopped by Larkin but was solid otherwise. Scott Dornbrock didn’t have a particularly strong game. Louie Belpedio was excellent overall and picked up two helpers. Miami seriously missed him as a the power play quarterback when he was injured.

GOALTENDING: B+. Larkin had no chance on the first SCSU goal, as he made the initial save on a point-blank rip but no one picked up the goal scorer. The second one was on the power play and hit a post before dropping at the top of the crease for a tap-in. He was 29 of 31 for a .935 save percentage. He did seem a hair shaky early but was outstanding the final 40-plus minutes.

LINEUP CHANGES: Chaz Switzer and Bryce Hatten both sat on defense for the second straight game, and this is about the time the starting 18 solidifies, so they may be the odd men out down the stretch. Hatten was injured almost all of 2015-16 and Switzer logged 121 USHL games before turning 19 and heading to Oxford, so both have bright futures, but their games are still evolving. Karch Bachman was out with an illness last week but returned, sending Alex Alger to the stands. Alger has been a pest and has played well as a fourth-liner, and one wonders if his playing time would be more substantial had he not been absolutely robbed on a blast from the slot earlier this season and rang one off the post on another. Will Ryan Larkin be in net for the remainder of Miami’s games? There’s a good chance, although Chase Munroe’s win vs. Colorado College had to help the team overall, as he proved himself a solid backup.

Melnick’s late 2 lift Miami over St. Cloud

OXFORD, Ohio – The Mel Man definitely delivers late.

Josh Melnick scored the tying and game-winning goals – with the latter coming in overtime – both on a power play stemming from a major penalty as Miami edged out No. 20 St. Cloud State, 3-2 at Cady Arena on Friday.

Miami's Josh Melnick (37) bangs home the game-winning goal in overtime (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

Miami’s Josh Melnick (37) bangs home the game-winning goal in overtime (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

Melnick had scored one goal in the first 16 games of the season but has found the net in three straight, with four tallies overall in that stretch. It was also the first multi-goal game of the sophomore’s career.

The game was scoreless until 6:13 remained in the second period, when the Huskies’ Mikey Eyssimont corralled a loose puck in the slot and fed Patrick Newell on the side of the net, and after RedHawks goalie Ryan Larkin denied the initial point-blank backhander by Newell, Eyssimont was there at the side of the net to jam home the rebound.

The goal by St. Cloud State (9-9-1) was the only marker of the contest until the final nine minutes of regulation and overtime, which more than made up for the first 51 low-scoring minutes.

Miami’s Carson Meyer tried to put a shot on from a bad angle, but it hit a sliding defender. The puck bounced right back to Meyer at the side of the net, and he centered one to Anthony Louis in the slot, and Louis buried the one-timer through the five hole to tie it with 8:14 remaining.

After the RedHawks’ Colin Sullivan was assessed a minor for cross checking, Eyssimont sent a cross-ice pass to Jacob Benson, who ripped one off the post. The rebound popped into the air and hit the chest of teammate Blake Winiecki, who tapped the puck in to give the Huskies a 2-1 lead with 2:59 remaining.

Thirty-four seconds later, Benson was kicked out of the game for contact to the head of Meyer for an open-ice hit.

And Melnick took it from there.

An offensive-zone pass by Kiefer Sherwood hit a St. Cloud State skate and came back to Sherwood, who threaded a pass through traffic to a wide-open Melnick at the side of the net, and Melnick hammered it home to tie the score on a 6-on-4 with 56 seconds left in regulation.

At the 1:23 mark of overtime, Louis put a close-range shot on net, and the rebound popped out to Melnick, who made a quick toe drag before whipping the puck into the cage to win it.

It was the third straight win for Miami (6-8-5) following an 0-7-3 stretch, and the RedHawks are now unbeaten in their last four – their longest such span since last January.

They have gone to overtime in eight of their 19 contests, winning three and tying the other five.

Since its lowest point, Miami has climbed 11 spots in the PairWise rankings – used to determine NCAA Tournament seeding – to 29th, and while MU remains in seventh place in the NCHC, it is just two points behind Nebraska-Omaha and three back of SCSU with a chance to tie the Huskies with a win on Saturday.

Melnick has five points during his current three-game points streak (4-1-5) and has three multi-point games in his last six.

Louis finished with a goal and an assist, giving him points in four consecutive contests (2-3-5). He moved into solo control of 42nd place on Miami’s all-time points leaderboard with 110, passing former long-time NHLer Brian Savage.

Meyer has the longest points streak on the team at six games, going 3-5-8 since coming back from an illness. He has recorded a helper in four straight.

Ryan Larkin stopped 29 shots to earn the win for Miami.

These teams wrap up their weekend series at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday.

NCHC Snapshot: St. Cloud State

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St. Cloud State finished second in the conference in 2015-16.

The Huskies took three of four from Miami last season, falling in Oxford 3-2 back in February. The Huskies played well throughout conference play in 2015-16 campaign, finishing 17-6-1 for a .750 winning percentage.

NCAA TITLES: 0.

COACH: Bob Motzko (12th season 235-164-42 .694 winning percentage).

2015-16 RECORD: 31-9-1 (.729); 17-6-1 in NCHC (.750, 2nd place in the league).

POSTSEASON RESULT: Lost 5-4 to Ferris State in the regional semifinals.

RINK (capacity): Herb Brooks National Hockey Center, St. Cloud, Minn. (5,159).

LAST SEASON VS. MIAMI: 3-1 (Oct. 30-31 at St. Cloud: SCSU won 3-0 and 3-1; Feb. 5-6 in Oxford SCSU won 5-1, lost 3-2 in Oxford).

ALL-TIME SERIES: Miami leads, 14-10-2.

SCHEDULE VS. MIAMI: In Oxford Jan. 6-7, in St. Cloud Feb. 10-11.

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: D/F (C) Ben Storm (COL 153rd pick overall in 2013), F Patrick Russell, G Charlie Lindgren.

KEY NEW FACES: D Dennis Cholowski (Selected 20th overall by DET in 2016). F Jack Poehling, F Nick Poehling, F Ryan Poehling, F Jack Wahlin.

NOTES: St. Cloud State has finished first, sixth, and second in the eight-team NCHC in the past three seasons.

The Huskies scored 175 goals last season, while only allowing 90 goals to pass through the SCSU defense. Five of the top six point leaders for St. Cloud have graduated, including 2015-16 top goal scorer Joey Benik (23-25-48).

Patrick Russell is the team’s top returning scorer with 41 points, including 21 assists, and Russell was third on the team in goals (20), averaging exactly one point per game.

The SCSU defense corps will be led by 6-feet-7 senior captain Ben Storm. St. Cloud will also return sophomore Jimmy Schuldt and senior Niklas Nevalainen who tallied 21 assists each, tops among returning blue liners.

Senior goalie Charlie Lindgren will be back between the pipes for the Huskies. Lindgren was solid in the crease in 40 games last year, totaling a 30-9-1 record with a .925 save percentage, shutting out five opponents along the way.

St. Cloud State led the NCHC in scoring within the conference averaging 4.33 goals per game. The Huskies took advantage of opponents’ penalties, scoring 21 times on 81 power plays, for a conference- best 25.9 percent on the man advantage.

The Huskies have plenty of optimism coming off a second place finish in the NCHC. SCSU are predicted to finish fourth in the early pre-season polls in the stacked conference. St. Cloud State will be a team to keep an eye on throughout the season, as it begins the year seventh in the NCAA.

Photos: St. Cloud State at Miami

Images from the series played between St. Cloud State and Miami at Cady Arena in Oxford, Ohio, on Feb. 5-6, 2016. All photos by Cathy Lachmann.

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Analysis: Columbus line thriving

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.

Josh Melnick (right) celebrates his goal with teammate Louie Belpedio (photo by Cathy Lachmann).

Josh Melnick (right) celebrates his goal with teammate Louie Belpedio (photo by Cathy Lachmann).

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.

Other thoughts…

– 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.

GRADES

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.

Miami pulls off upset of No. 3 St. Cloud

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.

Miami's Josh Melnick rips this shot home for the first RedHawks goal (photo by Cathy Lachmann).

Miami’s Josh Melnick rips this shot home for the first RedHawks goal (photo by Cathy Lachmann).

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.

St. Cloud pounds Miami

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.

Josh Melnick scores Miami's lone goal on this shot (photo by Cathy Lachmann).

Josh Melnick scores Miami’s lone goal on this shot (photo by Cathy Lachmann).

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.

Preview: St. Cloud State at Miami

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.

Miami's Jack Roslovic (photo by Cathy Lachmann).

Miami’s Jack Roslovic (photo by Cathy Lachmann).

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.