OXFORD, Ohio – Through four games, Miami had been on either the giving or receiving end of a shutout three times.
On Friday, the RedHawks made that 4-for-5, and unfortunately for them they came out on the losing end, 3-0 vs. UMass-Lowell at Cady Arena.
Miami has held two opponents off the scoresheet and has been blanked twice this season. All of its 2018-19 contests have been decided by at least three goals.
RECAP: UMass-Lowell could not score on a 28-second 5-on-3, but after Miami returned one to the ice, Sam Knoblauch slipped a shot through the five hole of RedHawks goalie Jordan Uhelski with 2:20 left in the first period.
The Riverhawks extended their lead to two when Connor Wilson backhanded a shot just inside the far post on a 3-on-1 with 5:05 remaining in the middle stanza.
UMass-Lowell capped off the scoring when Connor Sodergren stole the puck from Uhelski behind the Miami net and fed Kenny Hausinger for a shorthanded tap-in.
STATS: Despite the lopsided loss, the RedHawks outshot UML, 36-22.
Special teams were a killer for Miami, which was 0-for-5 on the power play and allowed a shorthanded goal. UMass-Lowell also scored once on three chances with the man-advantage.
THOUGHTS: No offense to Alabama-Huntsville and Mercyhurst, but the RedHawks are better than those teams and won all three games against them, as they should have.
Providence is a top-5 team and Miami fell short.
This was an opponent that would be a true litmus test for Miami, a mid-level Hockey East school, and this series is in Oxford.
At least in the opener, Miami fell well short of expectations. The RedHawks’ passing was sub-standard and communication seemed poor at times as passes were thrown to no one in particular or sometimes right at Riverhawks skaters.
And despite outshooting UML by a wide margin, many of those shots were from the outside with no traffic in front, making for easy saves. To be fair to Wall, he made several outstanding saves and was deserving of first-star status.
It was kind of mind-boggling that with the power play struggling, the RedHawks went with a stay-at-home defenseman in Bray Crowder at the point in their first chance, although Miami is obviously still experimenting with combinations and seeing what works and what doesn’t. And right now the man-advantage clearly doesn’t.
FORWARDS – D-. Pass completion percentage among this corps was poor and the top players didn’t impress, although Josh Melnick did steal a puck and draw a penalty and Ben Lown skated with a lot of energy. Another positive is Monte Graham’s faceoff ability. He was 9-1 and is extremely innovative in earning draw wins.
DEFENSEMEN – B-. Grant Hutton was so-so and Rourke Russell lost the puck after pinching, which resulted in a 3-on-1 and the second UML goal. Other than that no one really stood out positively or negatively.
GOALTENDING – D. The first goal was on a nice power play shot through the five hole. The second was on a backhander to the far post. Uhelski probably should’ve come up with one of those two. He lost the puck behind his own net for an easy tap-in, which squarely falls on him. Uhelski made a couple of solid saves, flashing a quick pad to deny a shot in the first period and covering the post to prevent a goal.
LINEUP CHANGES: The biggest one was Uhelski is net for Larkin after Larkin had shut out Mercyhurst last Saturday, playing his best game in some time. Larkin did warm up and did not appear to be suffering from any injury. One of Uhelski’s roles is to push Larkin, so perhaps that’s why he got the start.
Carter Johnson returned after taking a devastating head shot in the season opener and was the extra skater.
On defense, River Rymsha was back on the ice after sitting vs. Mercyhurst. Andrew Sinard and Chaz Switzer were both a scratches.
FINAL THOUGHTS: It’s still a process of course, but at some point it will become a concern if Miami can’t score against mid- and high-level opponents. Against Providence and UML the RedHawks have zero goals in 120 minutes.
As for the power play, even though Miami has generated good chances during its drought — especially against Mercyhurst — lack of success may be getting into players’ heads.
Salvaging a split with a win on Saturday could be a real boost for this team, which seeks its first quality win of 2018-19.
WHO: UMass-Lowell Riverhawks (1-1) at Miami RedHawks (3-1).
WHEN: Friday – 7:35 p.m.; Saturday – 7:05 p.m.
WHERE: Cady Arena, Oxford, Ohio.
ALL-TIME SERIES: UMass-Lowell leads, 1-0-1.
UMASS-LOWELL RADIO: Both nights – WCAP-AM (980), Lowell, Mass.
NOTES: Funny that this will be the first-ever meeting between these teams on one of their campuses.
They’ve met twice: Once in the Frontier Classic in Anchorage in the fall of 2003, a game that ended tied, 4-4, and again in the first round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
The latter was a skate-to-the-throat 4-3 overtime loss that saw the RedHawks rally from three down to tie it only to surrender a goal in the extra session.
So in two all-time meetings, both games have gone past 60 minutes.
Miami might welcome a close contest, as each of its four games this season have been decided by three or four goals.
The RedHawks are coming off a third-place finish in the four-team Ice Breaker in Erie, Pa., that saw them drop a 4-0 decision to No. 5 Providence but handle host Mercyhurst, 3-0 in the consolation game.
The week before Miami swept an unimpressive Alabama-Huntsville team, outscoring the Chargers, 9-1.
The Riverhawks split their season-opening series vs. RIT, with both of those games decided by a goal. They won the opener, 2-1 but lost 4-3 in the finale.
Senior forwards Ryan Dmowski and Connor Wilson both went 1-2-3 the opening weekend and lead the team in points. Dmowski went 11-11-22 in 2017-18, leading the team in goals.
Kenny Hausinger scored twice vs. RIT. He scored 10 goals and set up 10 more last season.
Tampa Bay selection Ryan Lohin is the returning team leader in assists (16) and points (25), and freshmen Sam Knoblauch and Reid Stefanson have both scored in the team’s first two games.
Mass.-Lowell had three defensemen total at least 17 points last season but all were seniors. Croix Evingson and freshman Seth Barton have dished for two assists each, and Mattias Goransson has one helper.
Evingson was drafted by Winnipeg and Barton was taken by Detroit.
In net, Christoffer Hernberg was a stud last year with a 2.07 goals-against average and .921 save percentage. Ty Wall struggled in 12 games as his backup.
But last weekend Wall – a New York Rangers draftee – was 25-for-26 in a win while Hernberg suffered the loss, allowing five goals on 30 shots.
Oct. 11 was a memorable night for Miami hockey alumni.
On that date, a pair of former RedHawks reached NHL career milestones, as Las Vegas forward Reilly Smith scored career goal No. 100 and Los Angeles defenseman Alec Martinez dressed for his 500th game.
Smith found the net in the third period of a 4-2 loss in Pittsburgh. It was his second goal in as many games and he is currently third on the Golden Knights in points with four.
Martinez entered the season with 496 games played, and in his fourth contest of 2018-19, he picked up an assist and went plus-3 in the Kings’ 3-0 win over Montréal.
BoB takes a look at past Miamians’ noteworthy achievements in the pro ranks early this season:
NHL: A torn hamstring ended Ottawa defenseman Chris Wideman’s 2017-18 season after just 16 games, but he scored twice including the game winner in a 5-1 win over Los Angeles on Oct. 13.
Wideman gave the Senators a 2-0 lead midway through the first period of that win, and he also sealed it by netting Ottawa’s final goal of the game with eight minutes remaining.
Kiefer Sherwood made the Anaheim Ducks out of training camp and has recorded a goal and two assists in his first six games. Sherwood left Miami this spring following his junior year and entered this season with just 11 games of AHL experience with San Diego late last season.
His first NHL goal came late in Dallas on Oct. 13. His tally made it 2-0 late in the first period but Anaheim would eventually lose, 5-3.
Forwards and former classmates Austin Czarnik and Blake Coleman are off to hot starts.
Czarnik has three points in five games for Calgary after spending the majority of 2017-18 in the AHL and playing just 10 games for Boston.
Coleman has racked up a pair of markers in four games with New Jersey. He finished with 13 goals and 12 assists last season.
AHL: Despite a monster playoff season that saw him record 20 postseason points on Texas’ Calder Cup finalist team, Curtis McKenzie did not make the Vegas Golden Knights’ roster to open this season.
But he is tearing up the AHL.
Playing for Chicago, McKenzie is tied for 10th-best in the league in points (7) and fifth in helpers (6) while playing just four games.
When McKenzie is called up, he will join former Reilly Smith, his Miami roommate and fellow Dallas Stars draftee.
Toronto defenseman Vincent LoVerde tallied his 100th AHL assist on Oct. 6. He picked up the helper on the Marlies’ fifth goal in the third period of a 7-5 loss at Binghamton as Toronto’s comeback attempt fell short.
LoVerde has played in 369 AHL games – not counting 65 playoff contests – scoring 42 goals and picking up 142 points.
Carter Camper is Miami’s reigning AHL ironman, as he has played 447 games in that league with eight different teams.
He already has a goal and an assist with Grand Rapids this season.
ECHL: Justin Vaive scored in his first game of the season with Cincinnati. Alex Wideman also made the Cyclones but did not dress for the opener.
Taylor Richart opened his third season with Utah by picking up an assist after going 17-24-41 with the Grizzlies in 2017-18.
Jimmy Mullin also returns to Kalamazoo for his second pro campaign. He scored 21 goals and set up 24 more in his rookie season with the K-Wings.
Europe: Matthew Caito is enjoying Europe so far, as he has notched seven goals and five assists in nine games with Graz of the Austrian League.
Several other former Miamians have jumped the pond to play in Europe, including Pat Cannone, Chris Joyaux, Kevin Morris, Colin Sullivan and Jeff Zatkoff.
Cannone is 1-6-7 with Inglestadt of the German League DEL. Zatkoff is also in the DEL, tending net with Straubing where he’s 7-2.
Joyaux and Morris are teammates with EIHL (English League) Coventry while Tyler Biggs is playing for league rival Nottingham.
Sullivan joined Chamonix-Morzine of the French League.
Will Weber (Fischtown – DEL) and Tommy Wingels (Geneva – Swiss A) also jumped the Atlantic this off-season and are rookies with their new European teams.
Andy Miele joined the Russian KHL this season, and he is already 5-5-10 in 16 contests.
Here are the current statistics for former RedHawks playing round around the world, and you can check them on our site at any time at this link: https://blogofbrotherhood.com/redhawks-in-the-pros/stats-for-miamians-in-the-pros/.
|Reilly Smith||Vegas Golden Knights||F||7||2||2||4||3||0|
|Austin Czarnik||Calgary Flames||F||5||1||2||3||2||0|
|Kiefer Sherwood||Anaheim Ducks||F||6||1||2||3||4||0|
|Chris Wideman||Ottawa Senators||D||6||2||0||2||-2||4|
|Blake Coleman||New Jersey Devils||F||4||2||0||2||5||0|
|Sean Kuraly||Boston Bruins||F||5||1||1||2||2||9|
|Alec Martinez||Los Angeles Kings||D||6||0||2||2||0||2|
|Jack Roslovic||Winnipeg Jets||F||6||0||1||1||1||0|
|Andy Greene||New Jersey Devils||D||4||0||1||1||4||2|
|Carter Camper||Grand Rapids||F||4||1||1||2||-2||0|
|Trevor Hamilton||Grand Rapids||F||4||0||0||0||-4||4|
|Matthew Caito||Graz (EBEL)||D||9||7||5||12||4||4|
|Andy Miele||Nizhny Novgorod (KHL)||F||16||5||5||10||-4||36|
|Pat Cannone||Inglestadt (DEL)||F||11||1||6||7||1||2|
|Marc Hagel||Esbjerg (Denmark)||F||9||2||4||6||-4||4|
|Tyler Biggs||Nottingham (EIHL)||F||11||2||3||5||-5||28|
|Kevin Morris||Coventry (EIHL)||F||8||1||4||5||3||20|
|Will Weber||Fischtown (DEL)||D||9||1||3||4||0||36||Chris Joyaux||Coventry (EIHL)||D||8||1||2||3||1||4|
|Colin Sullivan||Chamonix-Morzine (France)||D||8||0||2||2||7||8|
|Cody Murphy||Bjorkloven (Allsvenskan)||F||8||0||1||1||-3||8|
|Ryan Jones||Cologne (DEL)||F||10||0||0||0||1||2|
|Matt Tomassoni||Bolzano (EBEL)||F||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Tommy Wingels||Geneva (Swiss-A)||F||1||0||0||0||0||0|
|Jeff Zatkoff||Straubing (DEL)||9||540||7||2||2.00||.900||1|
ERIE, Pa. – Through four games, Miami has beaten the teams it should’ve beaten and lost to the team ranked in the top five of the national polls.
The RedHawks sit at 3-1 two weeks into the season, having swept Alabama-Huntsville twice at home and shut out Mercyhurst in the third-place game of the Ice Breaker on Saturday. Their blemish is a 4-0 loss to No. 5 Providence in Friday’s semifinal round here.
Miami outscored UAH and Mercyhurst, 12-1, an encouraging sign that the RedHawks have blown out those teams since MU has 11 new players on its roster.
And really Miami played better than the final score indicated in the loss to the Friars.
Considering how the RedHawks’ off-season began, this quote-unquote rebuild could’ve been a whole lot worse.
Miami will get plenty of true litmus tests against teams of its caliber, but its start has been encouraging.
— 6-feet-7 defenseman Andrew Sinard made his collegiate debut on Saturday, and he handled his start well. He was listed as the seventh defenseman on Miami’s lineup card and appeared cool when the puck ended up on his stick while holding his own on D.
He threaded a pass to Jonathan Gruden that nearly resulted in a goal as well.
“He handled himself pretty well,” Miami coach Enrico Blasi said. “He’s a big boy, he’s got good reach and he made a nice play on the back door to Gruds that just kind of got away from Gruds a little bit, otherwise it was a tap-in, but he saw some limited ice but I thought he did a good job.”
— Sinard and Chaz Switzer made their 2018-19 debuts on Saturday as Miami dressed seven defensemen. River Rymsha sat for the first time this season. Switzer was banged up in preseason but logged 55 games his freshman and sophomore campaigns.
— After this weekend, eight blueliners have dressed in four games – Grant Hutton, Alec Mahalak, Rourke Russell, Brayden Crowder, Derek Daschke, Rymsha, Switzer and Sinard. The first five have skated in all four games, Rymsha has played in three games, Switzer and Sinard made their 2018-19 debuts on Saturday.
The fact Miami has trouble getting some of these guys in the lineup speaks to its depth.
“We’re pleased with that, and obviously we’ve got to keep going and keep pushing guys to get better,” Blasi said. “We want our guys to play their best every night, I think the depth and everyone buying into that helps.”
— Karch Bachman leads the team with three goals, including a breakaway tally and eventual game winner in the first minute on Saturday.
He forfeited some of his gold star when he took a spearing major and was assessed a game misconduct in the second period, but the Florida Panthers draftee has clearly found another gear early this season.
Finishing chances was an issue at times in 2017-18 but his shooting percentage is .200 in a small sample size this season.
Asked whether his improved play was a product of confidence, Blasi said “you let me know if you figure it out.”
— So playing the Canadian and U.S. anthems prior to games is apparently a thing for Mercyhurst, so we heard both each night at Erie Insurance Arena.
— Somehow missed this in the off-season but teams are allowed to dress a 19th skater this season. On Saturday it was Sinard, on Friday it was forward Noah Jordan. That was extremely helpful for Miami on Saturday since Bachman was sent to the dressing room early, and the RedHawks also benefitted in their opener when Carter Johnson was cheap-shotted.
— If there was a penalty killing first star for the weekend, it would go to Brian Hawkinson. The freshman is proving himself quite an agitator and is earning tons of PK time with his defensive ability.
— Attendance was listed at 2,387 for Saturday, but there were fewer than 500 for each of Miami’s games, including the third-place game against Mercyhurst, which is located in Erie. As many MU grads as there are living in Cleveland and Pittsburgh, there should’ve been more RedHawks fans in the seats.
ERIE, Pa. – Miami couldn’t get a single shot past Providence on Friday.
But it took just 29 seconds for Karch Bachman to generate a goal for the RedHawks on Saturday as they beat Mercyhurst, 3-0 in the third-place game of the Ice Breaker Tournament at Erie Insurance Arena.
“That’s huge,” Miami coach Enrico Blasi said. “You’ve got to score first – that’s one thing that you want to try to do in a game because all in the sudden now you’re playing on your toes and not your heels.”
Bachman accelerated through a pair of Lakers defenders, went in alone and buried a forehand shot on the glove side in the opening minute to open the scoring.
That was all the offense Miami (3-1) needed, as goalie Ryan Larkin turned 21 shots aside to earn his second shutout in three starts this season, which is already a career high. The junior now has four perfect sheets for his career, with one each his freshman and sophomore years.
Ahead by one, Ryan Siroky carried the puck around the back of the Mercyhurst net and stuffed the wraparound into the net to make it 2-0 with 13:51 left in the second period.
In the final minute of the middle stanza, Phil Knies stole the puck from a Mercyhurst (0-2-1) skater at center ice, went in alone and slid a backhander through the five hole of goalie Stefano Cantali.
“I would say maybe a little undisciplined today, so we had to kill some penalties, still trying to understand how to manage the game in certain areas,” Blasi said. “I think that comes with some youth – but I thought for the most part our effort and our structure was pretty good.”
Historically, Bachman and Siroky have not been huge goal scorers but both are off to hot starts.
Bachman, a junior, netted two goals as a freshman and six last season, but his breakaway tally was his team-leading third marker of 2018-19. Siroky is second on the team behind Bachman with two tallies in four games this campaign after the senior found the net just seven times his first three seasons.
Despite scoring three times, Miami was credited with just one assist, with Christian Mohs notching his first point of the season on Siroky’s goal. Bachman and Knies both scored unassisted.
Larkin has made 61 saves on 64 shots (.953), an encouraging sign after last season when his save percentage was just .886.
“I thought he struggled with a couple shots (vs. Providence) – or at least one for sure – but he made good saves today,” Blasi said. “Top of his crease was solid, and he played the puck well. It’s there, he just has to make sure he stays focused.”
The RedHawks were 0-for-4 on the power play and finished the weekend without a man-advantage goal despite 11 opportunities. After netting a pair of PPGs in its opener, MU has failed to cash on in 14 chances over the last three games.
Conversely, Miami’s penalty kill was 6-for-6 and has allowed just one power play goal this season. Bachman took a spearing major in the second period and was ejected.
“We had a lot of good chances on the power play, but right now it’s just not going in for us,” Blasi said. “But our PK did a great job and sometimes you’re going to have to play games like that.”
This is the first time the RedHawks have won three of their first four games since 2014-15, and Blasi said he is pleased with the start overall.
“You take four-game segments like that, they start to add up,” Blasi said.
Miami opens a four-game homestand with a two-game series vs. UMass-Lowell next weekend. Colgate comes to Oxford for a pair of contests on Oct. 26-27.
MIAMI U. 1-2-0 – 3
MERCYHURST 0-0-0 – 0
First period: 1. Mia., Bachman 3, uag, 0:29.
Second period: 2. Mia., Siroky 2 (Mohs), 6:09; 3. Mia., Knies 1, shg, 19:11.
Third period: None.
Shots on goal: Miami U. 8-18-5 – 31; Mercyhurst 7-6-8 – 21. Power plays: Miami U. 0-for-4; Mercyhurst 0-for-6. Goalies: Miami U., Larkin (21 of 21 saved); Mercyhurst, Cantali (28 of 31). Referees: Ryan Sweeney, Eugene Binda. Linesmen: Brendan Lewis, Joe Lewis. Time: 2:20. Attendance: 2,387.
ERIE, Pa. – Turnaround shot had a double meaning in the first period of the Ice Breaker Tournament opener.
After Miami dominated No. 5 Providence for eight minutes, a spin move followed by a wrister from the high slot beat RedHawks goalie Ryan Larkin to give the Friars the lead.
That marker completely swung the momentum toward PC, which won 4-0 over Miami at Erie Insurance Arena on Friday.
That shot by Greg Printz at the 8:45 mark was the first of the game for Providence (2-0) after the RedHawks had fired six.
The Friars’ second shot found twine as well just 1:48 later. Vincent Desharnais whipped one through traffic and past Larkin with 9:47 left in the first period.
“Obviously the better team won tonight – I didn’t think we generated enough chances to make a good push,” Miami coach Enrico Blasi said. “I thought our guys worked hard, but after they got the first two goals I thought we got a little bit off our game and weren’t able to generate anything.”
The score remained 2-0 until Spenser Young corralled a pass from Jack Dugan just inside the near faceoff circle and fired it into the back of the net with 6:09 left in regulation.
Young sealed it with time winding down by launching a puck down the ice and into the open net.
“We’ve got to generate a lot more second chances, and we didn’t do that,” Blasi said.
These teams meet regularly but Providence had only shut Miami out once prior to this game, and that was on Oct. 20, 2000. The RedHawks (2-1) were blanked four times overall last season.
MU was limited to 22 shots overall and just 13 after the opening 20 minutes despite seven power play chances. The last time the RedHawks went 0-for-7 or more on the man advantage was opening night 2017-18 vs. this PC team when they had nine opportunities squelched.
Despite allowing goals on the first two shots, Larkin stopped 29 of 32 overall. In the very small sample size, his goals-against average and save percentage are both substantially better than last season.
Miami will play the loser of the late Notre Dame vs. host Mercyhurst contest in the consolation game at 4 p.m. on Saturday.
“We’ve got to learn from how we reacted to certain situations and we’ve got to get better,” Blasi said. “The plan is still to get better – there’s lot of effort in our locker room but we’ve got to make sure that we play the game the right way.”
In addition to this meeting, Miami will face Providence in a traditional weekend series in Rhode Island on Jan. 4-5. The RedHawks have struggled to score in their last few meetings vs. the Friars, netting just five goals in their last four games.
“(Providence) did a great job defending and they’re a program that they are for a reason,” Blasi said. “Their entire team’s bought into what they do, and we’ve got to learn from that.”
PROVIDENCE 2-0-2 – 4
MIAMI U. 0-0-0 – 0
First period: 1. PC, Printz 2, 8:45; 2. PC, Desharnais 1 (Bryson, Tait) 10:13.
Second period: None.
Third period: 3. PC, Young 1, ppg, 13:09; 4. PC, Young 2 (Dugan), eng, 18:16.
Shots on goal: Providence 9-12-12 – 33; Miami U., 9-5-8 – 22. Power plays: Providence 1-for-3; Miami U. 0-for-7. Goalies: Providence, Hawkey (22 of 22 saved); Miami U., Larkin (29 of 32). Referees: Chris Ciamaga, Mike Schubert. Linesmen: Adam Tobias, Matt Terreri.
WHO: Miami RedHawks (2-0) vs. No. 5 Providence Friars (1-0).
WHEN: Friday – 4 p.m.; Saturday – vs. Notre Dame/Mercyhurst 4 p.m./7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Erie Insurance Arena, Erie, Pa.
ALL-TIME SERIES: Providence leads, 9-5-3.
PROVIDENCE RADIO: WHJJ-FM (104.7), Providence, R.I.
NOTES: Miami dominated Alabama-Huntsville in a home sweep to open its season last weekend, but the RedHawks will face at least one top five team as they participate in their first Ice Breaker since 2006.
MU will face either host Mercyhurst or No. 2 Notre Dame on Saturday, depending on the outcome in the openers. The last time the RedHawks participated in an Ice Breaker was the weekend Cady Arena opened in October 2006.
Miami finished second that weekend, beating Denver but falling to Vermont.
The RedHawks and Providence have frequently met in October the past few seasons, but typically on one of the teams’ campuses. The last time they met at a neutral site was the first round of the NCAA Tournament in 2015 when PC won 7-5 in Providence at a game hosted by Brown.
Hayden Hawkey was in net for all 24 Providence wins last season and is already 1-0 in 2018-19. He posted a 2.04 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage as he seeks his 50th career collegiate victory.
He is one of 17 returning members of the Friars, who have added three NHL draft picks including their fourth-ever first-round pick in Philadelphia Flyers selection forward Jay O’Brien.
Providence lost its top two points-producers from 2017-18 but has four of its double-digit goal scorers back, including Kasper Bjorkqvist, who tied for the team lead with 16 last season.
Josh Wilkins potted 15 and tallied 31 points, Scott Conway scored 13 times and is 1-1-2 already in 2018-19, and Vimal Sukumaran finished with 10 markers.
PC swept Miami last October at Cady Arena and beat American University, 3-1 in this season’s opener. Notre Dame is seeing its first regular season action this weekend, and Mercyhurst dropped an 8-2 decision vs. Bowling Green in its lone game last weekend.
OXFORD, Ohio – Ryan Larkin’s 2018-19 debut was worth the one-day wait.
The junior stopped all 11 shots he faced in a 4-0 win over Alabama-Huntsville at Cady Arena on Sunday, earning his third career shutout.
Jordan Uhelski, expected to back up Larkin, started and won on Saturday while Larkin did not dress.
The win completes a series sweep for the RedHawks (2-0), who have won their first two games for the first time since 2013-14.
RECAP: The game was scoreless through the first period, but Brian Hawkinson teed up River Rymsha with a pass across the blue line, and Rymsha buried it just inside the post 5:39 into the second frame.
Less than three minutes later, a blast by Alec Mahalak tricked off the glove of goalie Mark Sinclair, and Karch Bachman was there to slam home the rebound.
Early in the third period, Josh Melnick whipped a wrister from the top of the faceoff circle that beat Sinclair. With 6:14 left in regulation, Ryan Siroky was denied on his initial attempt at the side of the net but batted one into the air, off Sinclair’s back and into the net.
STATS: Rymsha and Hawkinson led Miami with two points apiece. Rymsha scored once and set up another and Hawkinson earned a pair of helpers.
Larkin’s last shutout was Oct. 27, 2017 vs. Connecticut. All of his perfect sheets have been in October and at home.
Miami was 37-15 on faceoffs for a .714 win percentage. Casey Gilling was 14-3 on draws and Melnick 13-3 in the circle.
How about a strange one: Grant Hutton was the lone MU defenseman without a shot. The others combined for 15.
THOUGHTS: The first period was slow but once Rymsha’s shot went in, Miami dominated the balance of the game.
When it came to 50/50 pucks, the RedHawks won almost every physical battle and not only were faster but outhustled UAH as well.
By the third period the Chargers (0-2) were a beaten team. The final shot totals reflect that: 45 Miami, 11 UAH.
— Let’s give one of the stars of the game to the facility. This was a 3 p.m. game when the temperature is about its highest, and it was 90 degrees out for opening faceoff.
The ice certainly wasn’t January-Edmonton-in-the-1990s-caliber but it held in the near-record heat.
— Alabama-Huntsville captain Kurt Gosselin, who was booted for his hit on Carter Johnson in the opener, was absent from Sunday’s lineup. It’s unclear if the team or an outside entity made that call.
He should miss multiple games for that hit. It’s everything hockey is trying to take out of its game for the long-term well being of its players.
— Not to bore about a non-sexy subject, but Miami’s faceoff success is an area in which it has struggled for several years.
Gilling has been key in this realm since Day 1 and isn’t afraid to voice concerns to officials when he thinks draws are unfair.
Melnick’s numbers are outstanding early, as are those of Monte Graham, who won a team-best 11 draws on Saturday.
— While the 2-0 start is exciting, Miami has been above .500 early each of the four recent seasons in which it has finished below that mark.
The RedHawks started 2013-14 at 6-2-1, were 3-1-1 to open 2015-16, 3-1-2 in their first six of 2016-17 and reached 4-3 last season before their descent.
Miami’s problem in recent unsuccessful campaigns has been earning wins in those cold-weather months.
FORWARDS: A. This was a solid effort by all. We saw some suspect passing on Saturday but this corps seemed to tighten that up in that game. Loved Siroky’s combination of persistence and athleticism on his goal. Thought Gruden was much better in this game than in the opener. Thought Bachman was as much as force as in the opener. In the second period he stole the puck and nearly scored despite having a defender draped on his during a shorthanded chance. As mentioned, MU dominated on faceoffs.
DEFENSEMEN: A. This corps actually outshot the opposition, firing 15 shots while the entire UAH team managed just 11. None of those chances were Grade-A. Rymsha went 1-1-2 including the first goal and eventual game winner, Hutton and Mahalak picked up assists. Granted UAH lacks a lot of elite offensive talent but Miami’s D-corps shut the Chargers down in this game.
GOALTENDING: A. Hard to slight Larkin for not facing a difficult shot. He was perfect, albeit on 11 non-high-quality chances. This has to be a confidence boost for Larkin after last season when he posted an .886 save percentage.
LINEUP CHANGES: Two key ones: Larkin started in net after Jordan Uhelski earned the win in the opener, and Carter Johnson was out up front after getting cheap-shotted on Saturday.
Zach LaValle also sat among the forward corps, and Noah Jordan and Christian Mohs took the ice in their place.
Coach Enrico Blasi stuck with his starting six on D for Game 2, which is even more interesting because it was 20 hours between starts instead of the normal 23:30, and often a coach will go with a rested player in such a situation, but Andrew Sinard, Grant Frederic and Chaz Switzer all sat out for the second straight night.
UP NEXT: Miami will play in Pennsylvania for the first time since Robert Morris hosted the RedHawks six years ago at the Penguins’ home rink.
MU faces Providence at 4 p.m. on Friday, and if it wins will face the Notre Dame-Mercyhurst winner in the championship at 7:35 p.m. on Saturday but would play in the consolation vs. the loser of the other game at 4 p.m. Saturday. All games will be played at Erie Insurance Arena, home of the OHL Erie Otters.
In late 2012, MU took second in Pittsburgh, beating Ohio State before losing to the hometown host. Both scores were 1-0.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This weekend will provide a much better indication of where Miami is in early-to-mid October.
A strong showing could earn the RedHawks some much-needed respect into a four-game homestand.
At least against UAH, the forwards, defensemen and goalies were all superior. Much tougher test against this weekend’s foes.