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Duluth continues dominance of Miami

OXFORD, Ohio – Puck luck played a major role in Friday’s outcome.

And Miami had none.

The RedHawks hit four posts and were unable to convert several other close chances as they fell, 3-1 to No. 14 Minnesota-Duluth at Cady Arena.

The Bulldogs extended their unbeaten streak against MU to 11.

Miami (4-6-1) controlled play during the first 14 minutes, but after a defensive-zone turnover, a wrister from the high slot by the Bulldogs’ Jared Thomas was partially deflected by RedHawks goalie Ryan Larkin, popped over the netminder and rolled across the goal line to give UMD the lead.

Miami’s Carson Meyer (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

A pane of glass broke in the corner of the rink, causing a 15-minute delay and killing any energy remaining from MU’s surge.

Miami tied it less than four minutes into the third period when Louie Belpedio connected on a pass from along the boards to Carson Meyer, who was in the slot. Meyer whipped an off-balance shot that found twine with seven seconds left on a power play.

But Minnesota-Duluth (6-5-2) regained the lead on a man-advantage of its own. With 5:09 left in regulation, Thomas blasted a one-timer past Larkin from the center of the faceoff circle after a long shift in the offensive zone.

Thomas had not scored this season entering Friday.

Again, MU had dictated play prior to that decisive power play.

The Bulldogs sealed it 76 seconds later on a slap shot by Scott Perunovich from just inside the blue line, as his shot slipped through Larkin’s pads.

Miami had rang the puck off posts twice in the same shift earlier in the period and finished with 15 shots on goal in that frame.

The RedHawks outshot UMD, 29-19 and have led on the shot counter in eight of their 11 contests this season.

Meyer snapped a six-game scoreless streak. Belpedio picked up a point for the second streak tilt, and Karch Bachman picked up the other helper, his second point in three games.

Miami’s power play goal was its first in five games.

The RedHawks are now 0-9-2 in their last 11 games against Minnesota-Duluth. MU’s last win against the Bulldogs came on Feb. 21, 2015.

Miami falls to 1-3-1 in the NCHC and is winless in its last four, going 0-3-1.

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

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Late again: Melnick goal delivers tie

There’s no leaving early at Miami games this season.

For the second time in eight days, the RedHawks scored with an extra attacker late in the third period as they salvaged a 3-3 tie vs. No. 2 North Dakota at Ralph Engelstad Arena on Saturday.

Melnick

Miami’s Josh Melnick (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

And once again it was Josh Melnick rallying Miami. He scored the overtime winner on Nov. 3 vs. Colorado College.

This time he evened it up with 1:24 left, sending the game to the extra session, a 3-on-3 and eventually a shootout, the latter of which Fighting Hawks won and earned an extra conference point.

The RedHawks managed one of a possible six points on the weekend, as they lost on Friday. They dropped to 0-8-3 in their last 11 conference road games.

Miami actually led, 2-0 in this game. Gordie Green put the RedHawks ahead when he took a feed from Josh Melnick, turned and fired it in from the high slot with 3:53 left in the first period.

Miami’s Ryan Siroky (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

MU went up by two when a rebound off a blue line blast from Grant Frederic kicked out to Ryan Siroky, who shoveled it in off his backhand from the side of the goal eight minutes into the middle stanza.

But North Dakota (7-2-3) answered 37 seconds later when a rip by Colton Poolman from just inside the zone deflected off a RedHawks defender and in.

The Fighting Hawks evened it up 33 seconds into the third period when Dixon Bowen skated into the zone and fired one past Miami goalie Ryan Larkin from the top of the faceoff circle.

UND went ahead, netting its third straight goal, with just 3:38 remaining. Grant Mismash was left alone for a brief 2-on-0 with Larkin but went behind the net when Larkin closed down his shooting lanes.

At a terrible angle, Mismash was somehow able to lift a pass to the other side of the crease for Shane Gersich, who batted it out of the air and into the net.

Down 3-2 with time running out and in front of nearly 12,000 UND fans, Miami defenseman Louie Belpedio somehow completed a slap pass through heavy traffic to Melnick at the inside edge of the faceoff circle. Like Siroky, Melnick hit twine with the backhand.

Melnick nearly won it in the closing seconds of regulation, but the game went to overtime, during which the Fighting Hawks outshot Miami, 4-2.

With the game officially recorded as a tie, the teams skated to a scoreless five-minute 3-on-3, and finally Christian Wolanin scored in the fourth round of the ensuing shootout to give UND an additional point in the NCHC standings.

It was the first league game this season that had advanced beyond standard 5-on-5 overtime. Miami received one point for the tie and the Fighting Sioux two for the tie plus shootout win.

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

Melnick was the lone RedHawk with multiple points, accomplishing that feat for the third time this season with a line of 1-1-2.

Green is now tied with Grant Hutton for the team goal-scoring lead with five, and Melnick has three – all in the past five games. Siroky’s marker was his first of the season.

It was the third time in 2017-18 a Miami game was decided in the final two minutes of regulation or overtime. In addition to Melnick’s two late tallies, Providence scored a game winner against the RedHawks in the final second of the third period.

Miami is currently in sixth place in the NCHC with four conference points in four games. The RedHawks return home to host Minnesota-Duluth next weekend.

Miami downed by North Dakota

After a scoreless first period that saw Miami outshoot North Dakota, 9-4, the Fighting Hawks clicked off three straight crucial goals in the middle stanza.

That was more than enough offense for UND, which beat the RedHawks, 4-1 at Ralph Engelstad Arena on Friday.

One of those early Fighting Hawks shots was a 5-on-3 slam-dunk one-timer that Miami goalie Ryan Larkin was somehow able to keep out of the net.

But North Dakota (7-2-2) broke through seconds after a later RedHawks power play ended. Nick Jones, who had just been released from the penalty box, took an outlet pass and went in for a breakaway, skating around a sprawling Larkin for a tap-in goal four minutes into the second period.

Rhett Gardner made it 2-0 when he skated behind the Miami net and tucked the puck inside the post on a wraparound with 3:43 left in that frame.

Miami forward Karch Bachman (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

Less than two minutes later, UND extended the lead to three when Jones located a loose puck at the top of the crease and banged it home.

Karch Bachman got the RedHawks (4-5) on the board off a rebound when he poked a loose puck in the crease around a defender and into the net with 13:34 left in regulation.

But the Fighting Hawks regained their three-goal lead with 8:34 left. Grant Mismash poked at a loose puck that was under Larkin, and it crossed the goal line to make it 4-1.

Miami’s Alec Mahalak (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

Bachman’s goal was his second of the season, and both defensemen Grant Frederic and Alec Mahalak picked up their first assists of 2017-18. It was the first point of Mahalak’s career.

Despite the final three-goal disparity, Miami outshot North Dakota, 28-26, thanks largely to a 9-4 advantage in the first period.

The RedHawks have now logged 10 conference road games without a win, going 0-8-2 in that stretch. MU’s last away victory was at North Dakota in January.

These teams will wrap up the weekend series at 8:07 p.m. on Saturday.

Last-second goal dooms Miami

OXFORD, Ohio – For the second time in six home games, a Miami opponent scored the game-winning goal in the final second of a period.

Westin Michaud found the net with one tick remaining in the second period to lift Colorado College to a 2-1 win over the RedHawks at Cady Arena on Saturday.

The first weekend of the season, MU gave up the winning goal in the final second of the third period in a 3-2 loss to Providence.

Miami’s Conor Lemirande (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

With 4:09 left in the first period, Miami took the lead when Ryan Siroky carried the puck into the zone and slid a pass to Conor Lemirande, who beat Alex Leclerc inside the far post.

The Tigers (6-4) tied it two minutes into the second period when Christiano Versich fed a pass from along the boards to Tanner Ockey in the slot, and Ockey ripped a one-timer past goalie Ryan Larkin on the glove side.

The decisive goal with time running out in the middle frame came when Michaud took a backdoor pass from Nick Halloran as he joined a power play rush late and blasted one past Larkin from the inside of the faceoff circle.

Colorado College appeared to take a two-goal lead midway through the third period but that marker was waved off because a Tiger was in the crease.

Miami (4-4) outshot Colorado College, 11-3 in the final frame but was unable to generate the equalizer.

Miami’s Austin Alger (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

Lemirande’s goal was his first since Nov. 11, 2016, Siroky picked up his first assist of the season and Austin Alger earned his first career helper on the play.

The RedHawks were 0-for-6 on the power play and Miami was shut out on the man advantage for the weekend.

The loss snapped a three-game RedHawks winning streak, and Miami fell to 1-1 in the conference.

Miami heads to North Dakota next weekend for its first conference road games of 2017-18.

Another OT winner for Melnick

OXFORD, Ohio – Josh Melnick loves overtime, especially when Miami plays Colorado College.

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

The last time the RedHawks played the Tigers, MU won, 3-2 in overtime at Cady Arena, with the winner coming from Josh Melnick.

Copy and paste, as Miami won by the same score at the same venue with the same guy scoring the OT winner on Friday.

It was the third career overtime goal for Melnick.

The extra session came after a wild third period that saw the RedHawks go from up one to down one and finally even after tying it with 51 seconds remaining.

Following a scoreless first period, Miami (4-3) took the lead when Louie Belpedio juked at the blue line and whipped into the top corner of the net with 12:34 left in the second period.

It remained 1-0 until the 6:51 mark of the third period, when Trevor Gooch’s tip-in tied it on the power play.

Colorado College (5-4) went ahead with 4:40 remaining when a blue-line shot snuck past Miami goalie Ryan Larkin in heavy traffic.

But with the extra attacker on, Gordie Green gloved down a puck and slid a pass across the slot to Casey Gilling for a game-tying one-timer with 51 seconds remaining.

In overtime, Ben Lown chipped a centering pass to a streaking Melnick, who was able to bat the puck past goalie Alex Leclerc and into the back of the net with 2:23 left in that stanza.

It was the third straight win for Miami and it snapped an 0-9-1 skid for the RedHawks against conference foes.

Green finished with two assists, giving him a team-best 13 points, all in the last five games.

Ryan Larkin stopped 28 shots to earn the win for Miami.

It was the NCHC opener for the RedHawks, who are in a five-way tie for first with three points.

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

Miami nets 5 late to blow out UConn

OXFORD, Ohio – For the second straight night, Miami put a game away with a flurry of goals.

On Saturday, it was a four-goal outburst over a six-minute span of a five-marker third period that lifted the RedHawks to a 7-1 win over Connecticut.

That completed the series sweep, the first for Miami since early January.

Defenseman Louie Belpedio (photo by Cathy Lachmann).

Defenseman Louie Belpedio netted two goals and tallied three points, both tying career highs, and Gordie Green finished with a goal and two assists as he extended his points streak to four games.

At 3:40 of the first period, Kiefer Sherwood put Miami on the board with a power play blast from the top of the faceoff circle that snuck in the short side off a feed from Scott Dornbrock.

With two minutes left in the opening stanza, MU defenseman Grant Hutton carried the puck the length of the ice and temporarily lost it before regaining possession and sliding it through the top of the crease to a wide-open Green for a one-timer to make it 2-0.

That score remained until the 18:45 mark of the second period when UConn (2-5-1) forward Adam Karashik emerged with the puck along the boards in the offensive zone, skated across the top of the crease uncontested and deposited the puck in the back of the net shorthanded.

It was 2-1 at the second intermission, but the RedHawks’ offense awakened in the final frame.

Sherwood dropped a behind-the-back pass to Phil Knies, who skated around the back of the net and dumped it into the open side of the cage just 1:25 into the third period.

Then it was Belpedio’s turn. Josh Melnick skated behind the net to the sideboards and connected with Gordie Green in the faceoff circle, and he sent a pass to Belpedio for a high wrister that snuck under the crossbar less than two minutes later.

Green next set up Melnick, feeding him at the top of the crease. Melnick tipped the puck under Adam Huska on a change-up shot, as the puck sat just across the goal line at the 6:13 mark of the period.

Belpedio struck again 1:24 later, hitting the corner of the net from the slot for an unassisted tally.

Austin Alger capped the scoring on a late power play, notching his second goal of the season as he slammed home a deflected puck thrown at the net by Conor Lemirande.

Thirteen Miami (3-3) players recorded at least one point. Melnick and Sherwood also notched two points.

The RedHawks led, 19-3 on the shot clock early in the second period and ended the night with a 44-18 edge.

It was the third time in four games Miami recorded at least three power play goals. The RedHawks were 4-for-7 in this game and are 52.4 percent during that stretch.

Miami will host Colorado College next weekend as it opens its NCHC slate. The teams will play at 7:35 p.m. on Friday and 7:05 p.m. on Saturday.

Analysis: Good job preserving lead

OXFORD, Ohio – The last 50 minutes might not have been the most exciting in Miami history, but with the RedHawks allowing 17 goals the first four games, the shut-down hockey over the final two and a half periods was welcomed.

Miami scored three times in the first 10 minutes and coasted to a 3-0 win over Connecticut on Friday.

The RedHawks held the Huskies to 11 shots over the final two periods – in other words they did an excellent job of preserving the lead.

This weekend’s games are so important because the NCHC season begins next weekend for Miami, which doesn’t want to enter league play under .500.

Posting a winning record in this conference is hard enough, the RedHawks don’t need the additional burden of chasing victories against top 10 teams.

Whatever position in which Miami finds itself during NCHC play, this game had to help the RedHawks gain confidence in their ability to hold a late lead.

As exciting of a sport as hockey is to watch, sometimes an unsexy period or two are good for a team.

For Miami, the final 40 minutes of defensive, grind-it-out hockey were exactly what it needed.

Other thoughts…

– It must’ve been in Miami’s scouting report to throw the puck at the net from the left side of the blue line. Scott Dornbrock did this twice early in the first period: Once Carson Meyer tipped home a goal and the other time Dornbrock’s shot got all the way through.

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

– Boy did Ryan Larkin need a solid performance. The sophomore entered the weekend with an .840 save percentage and a goals-against average well north of 4.00. He also wasn’t bombarded with A-plus scoring chances. Hopefully with this win Larkin’s confidence sores. So does the confidence of his teammates in Miami’s goaltending, because when the skaters don’t have faith in the guy between the pipes, it can takes players out of their game.

– The only downer is that as many NHL draftees as Connecticut has, it wasn’t a very impressive squad. At least it wasn’t very impressive in this game. The Huskies didn’t have much of an offensive punch, and they lacked a high level of team speed. One doesn’t get the feeling UConn is going to compete for a Hockey East title.

– Realized recently that only one or two file photos are loaded for some of Miami’s newsmakers, so BoB (read here: I) promise to add some very soon.

GRADES

FORWARDS: B-. Not a bad effort. There was nothing doing after the top two lines, really, as forwards not named Gordie Green or Kiefer Sherwood combined for just nine shots. Coach Enrico Blasi has never had any fear of throwing freshmen into the penalty kill, and Casey Gilling et al are doing a solid job. Both goals were sweet to watch: Meyer re-directed one from the slot and Green one-timed a thread-the-needle pass from Josh Melnick for the other marker by this corps.

DEFENSEMEN: A. This group not only held its own defensively, helping hold Connecticut to 19 shots and very few of high quality, it is also chipping in on offense regularly. Grant Hutton’s five goals are well documented, and he and Louie Belpedio racked up 10 shots on goal between them. Dornbrock scored on a beautifully-placed wrister. The freshmen are playing somewhat conservatively but aren’t making mistakes. Four shots allowed in the third period with a three-goal lead is pretty much optimal.

GOALTENDING: A. There were only a few good scoring chances for UConn, but Larkin looked his old self, playing technically sound but with lightning reflexes and top-notch instincts. Most of the Huskies’ good chances came early, and Larkin made the necessary stops late to preserve the shutout. His rebound control was outstanding as well.

LINEUP CHANGES: On defense, Mahalak was back in the lineup after being scratched for the finale in Maine. Up front, Zach Lavalle and Ben Lown returned the ice, as Alex Alger and Christian Mohs did not dress.