St. Cloud State completes sweep of Miami
It truly was Groundhog Day for Miami.
On Feb. 2, a night after the RedHawks lost, 5-1 at No. 1 St. Cloud State, MU fell to the Huskies by an identical score at the Herb Brooks Center.
Gordie Green netted the only Miami goal, with 7:34 left in regulation and the RedHawks down by five.
Blake Lizotte scored twice and added an assist to pace St. Cloud State.
MU dropped its eighth straight game and is winless in its last 14 (0-10-4). Its losing streak is its longest since 1995.
Miami’s winless streak equals its second-longest in team history.
RECAP: For the second straight night, the Huskies wasted no time taking the lead.
At the 2:25 mark, Ryan Poehling dished a pass to a streaking Lizotte, who redirected the pass into the net from the top of the crease.
Jack Ahcan made it 2-0 less than four minutes later, wristing a shot past Miami goalie Ryan Larkin on the stick side off a centering feed from Patrick Newell.
Lizotte scored again with eight minutes left in the middle stanza, as he was left alone at the side of the net and tapped in a feed from Robbie Jackson.
That duo reversed roles less than five minutes later, as Lizotte kicked a pass out to Jackson, who was alone for a bad-angle one-timer even with the goal line, giving St. Cloud State a four-goal lead.
Nick Pervix extended the Huskies’ lead to five in the final minute of the second period, as he skated from behind the net and stuffed one past Larkin.
Miami scored its lone goal when Grant Hutton fired a shot that hit the stick of teammate Jonathan Gruden and ended up on the stick of Green, who roofed it from the slot.
STATS: Green’s goal was his 10th of the season, extending his team lead, and he is tied with Josh Melnick atop the RedHawks’ point leaderboard with 20.
He picked up a point for the second straight game, as did Grant Hutton, who earned the secondary assist.
— Gruden picked up the primary helper, his second point in three contests.
— Miami is 1-23-6 when pursuing its 10th win the past three seasons.
— The RedHawks were 0-13-1 in early 1985, and their worst-ever winless stretch was a 17-game, 0-16-1 skid in 1990-91.
— MU has given up the first goal in 12 straight games.
— St. Cloud State improved to 12-0 on its home ice.
THOUGHTS: It was Groundhog Day in terms of the score, but unlike Friday, St. Cloud State dominated the first 40 minutes.
Dominated probably isn’t a strong enough word. It looked like the Tampa Bay Lightning playing a Midget Minor team. The shots were 31-9 after two periods.
The Huskies took their foot off the gas in the third period, playing their third and fourth lines a significant amount, and they were less aggressive pushing the offensive tempo.
St. Cloud State played great and deserves credit but Miami made it a lot easier on the Huskies by again failing to cover opponents close to the net and failing to get defensive sticks in the lane.
SCSU also seemingly won every boards battle and was first to every loose puck.
It’s really hard to remain competitive under those conditions.
LINEUP CHANGES: Larkin was in net for the third time in seven games, and this was the first contest he has completed in that stretch.
Scott Corbett returned to the lineup after sitting out Saturday, and Zach LaValle did not dress.
STANDINGS: Miami fell to last in the NCHC, two points behind Omaha, which split vs. Western Michigan this weekend.
The RedHawks are 3-11-2 in the conference with 12 league points, two behind the Mavericks. They are 13 points out of fourth, which is the last home-ice spot for the NCHC Tournament.
Eight games remain in both the regular season and conference schedules.
Miami is now 38th in the PairWise.
SCHEDULE: The RedHawks host Omaha next weekend, then after a week off they face Denver and Minnesota-Duluth, both top five teams and both on the road, before wrapping up their regular season slate vs. Western Michigan in Oxford.
FINAL THOUGHTS: It was a tall order to earn points on this trip, but Miami didn’t come close, and with the RedHawks plummeting in the league standings, this is one of the teams they would have to beat on the road just to earn a berth in the Frozen Faceoff.
Realistically, MU now has very little chance of earning home ice for the first round of the NCHC Tournament, which means an extremely difficult road series just to advance to the conference semifinals.
And at No. 38 in the PairWise, Miami can forget about any chance of an at-large, even if somehow the team won out.
With their postseason fate somewhat sealed, that may take the pressure off the RedHawks somewhat, as they can concentrate more on getting better for the league tournament.
But this is the type of matchup that awaits when the regular season ends, it will be a sisyphean task for to earn a trip to Minneapolis in March and beyond.
St. Cloud pulls away from Miami late
For two periods, Miami remained competitive with the top-ranked team in Division I on the road.
The RedHawks were down just one goal after 40 minutes, but No. 1 St. Cloud State ran off three straight markers in the final frame to seal Miami’s 5-1 loss at the Herb Brooks Center on Friday.
Ryan Poehling, the Montréal Canadiens’ first-round pick in 2017, scored twice and added a pair of assists for the Huskies.
Grant Hutton netted the lone goal for Miami, which lost its seventh straight game and extended its winless streak to 13 (0-9-4).
RECAP: Just 38 seconds in the game, Jack Poehling slammed home a one-time feed from brother Ryan Poehling on a 2-on-1 to give St. Cloud State (19-4-2) the early lead.
Miami (9-14-4) appeared to have tied it midway through the period when Gordie Green stuffed a wraparound just inside the post, but it was ruled no goal on the ice and no conclusive angle showed the puck completely across the goal line.
The RedHawks legitimately evened the score when Hutton wound up at the top of the faceoff circle, pump faked and aimed a modified slap shot into the far corner of the net at the 2:22 mark of the second period.
But just 53 seconds later, the Huskies went ahead for good when Jimmy Schuldt ripped a one-timer inside the near post from the blue line on the power play.
Ryan Poehling made it 3-1 four minutes in the final stanza, as he played give-and-go with Blake Lizotte, who sent a return pass through the crease where it was shoveled into the back of the net by Poehling.
Ryan Poehling extended the Huskies’ lead to three when he skated through the Miami defense, went in alone and beat RedHawks goalie Jordan Uhelski glove side with 12:15 remaining in regulation.
Patrick Newell capped off the scoring with a turnaround wrister from the faceoff dot that hit off the inside of the far crossbar 1:16 to play.
STATS: Hutton’s goal was his second in three games. That moved him into third place unofficially on Miami’s all-time defenseman scorers list with 28 goals.
— Green snapped a string of five games without a point, as he picked up the primary assist.
— Josh Melnick, returning after a six-game injury absence, earned the secondary helper, giving him points in eight straight contests in which he has dressed.
It was career point No. 101 for Melnick, who tied Pat Leahy and Mitch Ganzak for 50th on the RedHawks’ career leaderboard.
THOUGHTS: Despite allowing a goal 38 seconds into the game, Miami played pretty well for 40 minutes, but St. Cloud State dominated the third.
The Huskies led for all but 91 seconds – the first 38 and 53 between Hutton’s goal and SCSU’s eventual game winner.
Defensively, the RedHawks have been sloppier lately, which has compounded the other woes that have culminated in this 2½-month winless streak.
St. Cloud State may be the most skilled all-around teams in Division I, and in the final 20 minutes the Huskies played like it.
— Green’s non-goal is tough for Miami, but there really wasn’t a definitive camera angle showing the puck completely across the line.
One suspects that the puck was completely on white ice at the furthest point goalie David Hrenak extended his glove, but that isn’t proof.
Had it initially been ruled a goal it almost certainly wouldn’t have been disallowed, so the call on the ice was going to the be final one either way.
Things like that seem to happen to struggling teams. At least Green picked up a point on Hutton’s goal.
— Melnick’s return was a blessing, as he did not appear any worse for wear due to his lower-body injury. Hopefully Miami’s offense will be rejuvenated with him healthy.
LINEUP CHANGES: Scott Corbett was scratched for the second time this season, and Brian Hawkinson sat for the first time in his career.
Melnick took one of those forward spots, and Zach LaValle dressed in the other after not dressing last Saturday.
It was Uhelski in net, making his fourth start in six games. He has played in six straight, relieving Ryan Larkin in both of his starts in that span.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The game was closer than the final score indicated, but a great college hockey team played great hockey and pulled away from a lesser squad.
Not much more to be said about this one.
It’s an unforgiving league, and one of the things BoB said was paramount to a solid Miami second half was not letting a losing streak snowball, and that’s exactly what has happened to the RedHawks since the start of 2019.
Preview: Miami at St. Cloud State
St. Cloud State and Miami played two dynamic games in Oxford that saw the RedHawks rally to tie both nights against the top-ranked team in Division I.
That was two months ago, and it feels more like two years. MU is 0-7-1 since and is riding a 12-game winless streak.
The Huskies may have left points on the table when visiting Miami but SCSU has been unbeatable at home. St. Cloud State is 10-0 at the Herb Brooks Center and has outscored its opponents, 43-14 in its home rink.
BoB takes a look at the upcoming series between these teams:
WHO: Miami RedHawks (9-13-4) at No. 1 St. Cloud State Huskies (18-4-2).
WHERE: Herb Brooks Center (5,519), St. Cloud, Minn.
WHEN: Friday – 8:07 p.m.; Saturday – 7:07 p.m.
ST. CLOUD STATE RADIO: KZRV-FM (96.7) and KVSC-FM (88.1), St. Cloud, Minn.
MIAMI RADIO: WKBV-AM (1490), Richmond, Ind.
NOTES: We talked about this two months ago: Few teams in college hockey can match St. Cloud State’s offense.
The Huskies lead the conference in scoring, averaging 3.75 goals per game, and they haven’t fattened up against a few weak opponents. They’ve netted at least four in 15 of their 24 contests.
SCSU’s depth is the envy of the NCAA. Seven skaters are averaging at least three-quarters of a point per game and 12 have points totals in double figures.
Among forwards, Patrick Newell is in a four-way tie atop the NCHC scoring leaderboard with 25 points on 12 goals and 13 assists.
Senior Robbie Jackson has a 10-12-22 line after finishing 15-27-42 last season. He has 103 career points with the Huskies.
Freshman Nolan Walker has been a huge addition for St. Cloud State, netting six goals and adding 15 helpers, and Blake Lizotte has scored eight times while picking up 11 assists.
Ryan Poehling, a first-round pick of Montreal in 2017, has a 3-15-18 line, and Easton Brodzinski and Kevin Fitzgerald have scored 10 goals each.
Jimmy Schuldt and Jack Ahcan share the team lead in defensemen points with 20 each.
Nick Perbix, a Tampa draft pick, is having a stellar rookie season for the Huskies, going 1-10-11 with a plus-15 rating that is tied for tops on the team.
David Hrenak, a Los Angeles Kings selection, has logged 1,031 minutes but has a .902 save percentage, and Jeff Smith has a .918 save percentage, and he relieved Hrenak in SCSU’s most recent 5-1 loss at North Dakota.
St. Cloud State has excelled not only at staying out of the box but not allowing goals when it is shorthanded. The Huskies have surrendered just eight goals on the man advantage on only 77 chances.
It’s unclear who will start in net for Miami. Jordan Uhelski has started three of the last five games and has relieved Ryan Larkin in the other two.
Larkin has been the regular starting goalie most of the season but has allowed 19 goals in his last five outings, including the two in which he was pulled.
The RedHawks are hoping Josh Melnick will return to the lineup for this weekend’s series. The team’s leading scorer with 19 points has missed the last six games with a lower body injury, and Miami is 0-6 with him out.
Blasi reprimanded by NCHC
Miami coach Enrico Blasi was sent a letter of reprimand by the NCHC for his actions during Saturday’s game, College Hockey News reported today.
The RedHawks lost on a 5-on-3 goal late in the third period, and while the teams were forming the postgame handshake line, Blasi walked out to referee Scott Bokal at the blue line and berated him.
Bokal gave it back to Blasi before skating away, ultimately issuing him a game misconduct.
Blasi was irate when the call was made, and after the decisive goal was scored, he grabbed one of his player’s sticks and made a motion as if he was going to throw it onto the ice before smashing it into pieces on the boards.
BoB discussed this whole incident more thoroughly in Saturday’s game report here, but this is really the first time Blasi has exercised the nuclear option in nine years, and he was obviously venting the frustration of a two-month winless streak.
According to the article, the letter said that the reprimand stems from “unsportsmanlike actions and comments toward on-ice officials during and immediately following Miami’s game,” according to the NCHC.
Whatever he said to Bokal after the game was probably really bad, since Blasi wasn’t penalized for breaking a stick although that was mentioned in the reprimand. But Bokal had been hearing it for the better part of 15 minutes and being on skates – as opposed to Blasi who was wearing dress shoes – could’ve easily fled by taking two strides back rather than compound the issue by engaging a clearly furious coach.
It is fair to point out this was Blasi’s second bench blow-up in as many weekends. He screamed at his associate coach, Peter Mannino, during the opener of the RedHawks’ homestand on Jan. 18.
The old-school hockey fan in me doesn’t have that much of a problem with Blasi’s actions once a decade, and honestly if this is finally the spark the team needs to start playing competitive hockey, this tirade was somewhat welcome.
And the league did the right thing here, publicly showing its disapproval but choosing not to suspend Blasi.
Photos: Colorado College at Miami
Late 5-on-3 goal dooms Miami
OXFORD, Ohio – It was a fitting end to a dreadful January for Miami.
Kristian Blumenschein blasted home a one-timer from the high slot on a 5-on-3 with 3:12 left in regulation, lifting Colorado College to a 3-2 win over the RedHawks at Cady Arena on Saturday.
MU led, 2-1 entering the third period.
Miami (9-13-4) finished January 0-7-1 and is winless in its last 12 (0-8-4). The RedHawks have lost six games in a row.
The game ended with MU coach Enrico Blasi drawing a game misconduct for confronting the officials after the game.
That bench penalty could carry a suspension.
RECAP: Colorado College (10-12-3) took the lead just 3:54 into the game when Trey Bradley kicked a pass back to a wide-open Ben Israel in the high slot, and Israel trapped it, wound up and wired it over the glove of Miami goalie Jordan Uhelski.
The RedHawks tied it when Scott Corbett carried the puck across the blue line on the right wing, dragged it to the top of the faceoff circle and wristed it inside the far post with 1:50 left in the opening stanza.
Miami took the lead, 2-1 when Derek Daschke snuck a wrist shot through traffic on the power play with 7:35 left in the second period.
But the Tigers tied it 86 seconds into the final frame when Alex Berardinelli emerged from along the boards with the puck, slid a pass through the slot to a wide-open Cole McCaskill, who snuck in on the back door for a tap-in goal.
The RedHawks’ Casey Gilling was whistled for interference to give Colorado College the decisive power play. Miami went down two men when Andrew Sinard kicked a CC skater’s stick as he reached for it.
Blumenschein ripped his shot over the glove of Uhelski off a feed from Mason Bergh to put CC ahead.
Following the goal, Blasi grabbed a Miami stick and wound up to throw it on the ice but instead shattered it on the boards.
After the game Blasi and referee Scott Bokal jawed at each other at the Miami blue line, sticking their fingers in each other’s faces.
STATS: Daschke scored for the second time in five games, and Corbett snapped a seven-game scoreless streak.
— Gilling picked up an assist, giving him points in consecutive games.
— Miami did win 62 percent of its faceoffs (31 of 50) after struggling mightily in that area much of this month.
— Now the bad: The RedHawks slipped to 1-21-6 the past three seasons when pursuing their 10th win.
— Miami is 1-11-2 in January the past two seasons.
— The RedHawks took the lead and held it for 8:01. It was the first time MU had led at any point in seven games.
THOUGHTS: The Call.
The penalty on Sinard was crucial, and it nearly gave Blasi a coronary.
So a quick summary:
* With the score tied at two, Sinard was whistled for interference at 15:17 of the third period, setting up a 1:23 two-man advantage.
He didn’t do the “distinct kicking motion”, the term hockey throws around when pucks hit skates and result in goals, but made no attempt to avoid the stick.
* Did he do it deliberately? Unclear. He was heading to the bench and maybe he didn’t see it. If someone held a gun to my head and made me pick a side, I’d say he probably knocked it away on purpose. Technically that’s a penalty.
However, the bar is almost always higher when putting a team down two skaters, which results in a goal against a substantial percentage of the time.
* Also, these officials had called a total of two penalties on Friday – one to each team – and just three each prior to Gilling and Sinard’s minors.
* Blasi was also outraged that the officials didn’t make the proverbial make-up call when Grant Hutton was bumped seconds before the goal, but there wasn’t much contact there.
* Were Blasi’s antics following the goal on the bench and also after the game, rehearsed? Knowing him, probably not. It was more likely a frustrated coach losing his mind after a winnable game slipped away.
But even if it was, I think it’s a good thing he lit them up. This team seriously underachieved this month and someone or something needed to fire Miami’s players up.
Especially with a series at St. Cloud looming next weekend.
* For the record, the last time Blasi was kicked out of a game was Feb. 13, 2010 in a 10-2 rout at Bowling Green that also featured one of the team’s most memorable skirmishes.
* The Call – and resulting goal – was a huge part of the game, no doubt, but there are plenty of other questions about how this game flipped from a win to the ‘L’ column.
How did Miami end up with four shots in the third period against a team that had allowed 24 goals in its previous seven games?
Why is Gilling taking an interference call an area code away from the play to initiate that power play?
Why did the entire team flood the left wing in the second minute of that final frame, allowing a wide-open McCaskill an uncontested tap-in to tie it?
Why didn’t Phil Knies bust it on the left wing earlier in the 3-on-5 when Miami had a 2-on-1 to create a better scoring chance?
It was a hard way to lose, no doubt, but there were many other factors that went into this loss than merely a controversial interference call.
— What a crazy shift for Scott Corbett in the second period. He nearly scored, held off several Colorado College defenders along the boards and had the puck roll off his stick for a 2-on-1 the other way before obliterating a Tigers skater at center ice and drawing a retaliation penalty.
That power play culminated in Daschke’s goal, and Corbett scored the other one in the first period.
— It’s probably a little less than 50/50 that Blasi is suspended, and if he is it would likely just be for a game, but any announcement would likely be made on Monday.
FORWARDS: C-. A little more life than Friday but not enough. The creativity of Gordie Green and Karch Bachman has been completely stymied by defenses for weeks and Miami isn’t deep enough up front to have its top scorers held off the scoresheet for long periods of time. Corbett figured in both goals (although he didn’t get a point for the second one), and Gilling and Jonathan Gruden earned assists. Gruden’s father, NY Islanders assistant John Gruden, was in attendance because of the All-Star break.
DEFENSEMEN: C. This corps did clean up its play substantially over Friday but is still allowing too many quality chances. No one picked up the trailer on the second CC goal (Bray Crowder and River Rymsha were on the ice) and the Tigers ended up with at least 10 shots in each period.
GOALTENDING: B. The first goal snuck through traffic, the second was a slam dunk and the third was a rip from the high slot. Maybe Uhelski could’ve stopped the first or last, but he made a radical save on a 2-on-1 (Corbett’s shift, see above) and stopped 31 shots overall and was outstanding at controlling his rebounds.
LINEUP CHANGES: Just one among skaters: F Carter Johnson was back on the ice, replacing Zach LaValle.
LaValle had played the previous three games and Johnson had sat the prior two.
Uhelski started for the third time in five games and relieved Ryan Larkin in the other two.
He has been the back-up most of this season but is the hotter of the tandem right now, so it will be interesting to see how much he plays the final 10 games of the regular season.
Co-captain Josh Melnick remains week-to-week with a lower body injury, as he missed his sixth straight game. There’s a very good chance he returns next weekend.
Chaz Switzer was in the stands wearing a boot and fellow D-man Grant Frederic is also out with a lower-bod injury.
SCHEDULE: Miami heads to No. 1 St. Cloud State next weekend. Its other remaining road contests are against No. 4 Denver and No. 5 Minnesota-Duluth.
The four home games left on the RedHawks’ schedule are vs. Nebraska-Omaha in two weeks and No. 13 Western Michigan to wrap up the regular season.
STANDINGS: Colorado College entered the weekend needing all six points to pass Miami for sixth place in the conference standings, and the Tigers swept them all.
At 3-9-2, the RedHawks are currently seventh in the NCHC, just one point ahead of last-place Omaha.
Miami has dropped to No. 35 in the PairWise and are now a major longshot for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The question becomes: If Miami can’t beat Colorado College – playing its eighth and ninth straight road games – in its own rink, how many more wins will the RedHawks get?
Their six remaining road games are brutal. Omaha is beatable but Western Michigan is ranked No. 13 and swept the RedHawks in Kalamazoo.
Those seven and eight seeds are death sentences, with best-of-3s at St. Cloud State and Minnesota-Duluth in those teams’ rinks, so Miami really needs to figure out a way to earn enough points to get out of this hole.
The disturbing thing is we’ve gone from wow, this team could fight for home ice and an NCAA berth to, OK, curb expectations because this is still a pieced-together team to for the love of God, Miami just got manhandled at home by the last-place team in the league — all in a span of 22 days.
And now we’re questioning this team’s compete level, something that was never an issue in calendar year 2018.
So what happened? Miami was going so well against St. Cloud, when the RedHawks tied the Huskies twice at Cady Arena to cap off the first half of the season.
The loss of one of the captains is huge, no doubt, but that doesn’t explain not showing up for Game 1 of this series and blowing Game 2 in the third period against a CC team that had two previous conference wins.
Hopefully the RedHawks’ coaching staff has the answer and solution, because it’s hard to be optimistic about Miami’s chances next weekend when the team is 0-8-4 in its last 12 and is visiting the top-ranked team in Division I.
And at this point the RedHawks’ odds of advancing to the Frozen Faceoff and beyond for the first time in four years are looking equally bleak.
Miami slammed by Colorado College
OXFORD, Ohio – With the last place team coming to town this weekend, Miami had an excellent chance to snap its 10-game winless streak.
Instead the RedHawks suffered their worst loss of the season by goal margin, 6-1 against Colorado College at Cady Arena on Friday.
The Tigers (9-12-3) scored three times in a span of 5:14 in the first period, and by the 10-minute mark of the second frame Miami was down five.
The RedHawks are 0-7-4 in their last 11 games with their last win coming vs. Colorado College on Nov. 17.
RECAP: Colorado College opened the scoring midway through the first period when Brian Williams backhanded a rebound home off a shot from Erik Middendorf, who had cut to the side of the net uncontested.
Just 2:14 later, the Tigers scored on a 2-on-1 as Trevor Gooch centered a pass to Alex Berardinelli, who skated in alone and roofed one to the glove side.
With 4:54 left in the opening stanza, Miami goalie Ryan Larkin made a save but the puck was loose under him and teammate Derek Daschke poked it out of the crease. Troy Conzo grabbed it, shot it off a body and seized the rebound, which he fired into the net.
Intermission didn’t stop the bleeding for the RedHawks. At the 41-second mark of the middle frame, Trey Bradley emerged from a boards battle with the puck, skated behind the net and backhanded it into the cage to make it 4-0.
That ended Larkin’s night, as Jordan Uhelski replaced him between the pipes.
Williams buried a slap shot inside the far post from the top of the faceoff circle on a 3-on-2 created by a bad Miami line change midway through the second period.
The RedHawks (9-12-4) scored their first goal in over 160 minutes when Grant Hutton stopped, wound up and ripped a slap shot that found the bottom of the net on the stick side from the blue line with 8:52 remaining in the second period.
Colorado College sealed it when Christiano Versich buried a drop pass from Middendorf in the slot in the closing minutes.
STATS: Hutton snapped a 13-game goal drought. It was the 27th goal of his career, unofficially tying him for third on the all-time Miami defenseman scoring list with Andy Greene and Joe Cook. Dan Boyle and Kevin Beaton are the only RedHawks/skins blueliners with more tallies.
— Casey Gilling picked up the primary assist and also broke out of a funk by recording his first point in seven games and his first assist in 12.
— Brian Hawkinson notched the other helper. He has a point in each of the last three games in which Miami was not shut out.
— Larkin was pulled for the second straight start and has allowed eight goals on 34 shots in that span. Uhelski has played in four consecutive games and is 95 of 103 for a save percentage of .922.
— A positive? Despite all seven goals being scored at even strength, Phil Knies somehow went plus-1.
— Another positive: Miami was 30-23 on faceoffs, an area in which the RedHawks have struggled mightily in recent weeks.
— A random one: Only two penalties were called all game, resulting in one power play for each team. The last time a Miami game saw two or fewer man-advantage opportunities was Jan. 18, 2013 at Wisconsin.
In that game, the Badgers scored on their chance and won, 1-0.
THOUGHTS: Paying fans should really demand a refund for this game.
Colorado College, dead last in the NCHC, was playing its eighth consecutive road game, and Miami made the Tigers look like the Washington Capitals.
During the first six games of this winless stretch, Miami played pretty well in each game and certainly had intensity every night.
The RedHawks lost a pair of one-goal decisions on the road vs. a quality Western Michigan team, and then last week they were totally outmatched by Minnesota-Duluth, one of the top teams in Division I.
Colorado College was a tired cellar dweller going on the road and beating the bejesus out of a higher-skilled team.
Miami was completely lifeless and fell behind 5-0. Hutton’s goal energized the RedHawks momentarily, but the damage had been done.
MU Version 2018-19 is not a team built to erase a five-goal deficit.
— What in the deuce was going on with Miami’s defensemen?
Usually-dependable Rourke Russell was a turnover machine. Bray Crowder inexplicably skated to the boards on a 2-on-1, essentially allowing a breakaway goal that made it 2-0. Players were out of position all night. No one picked up Tigers cutting to the net.
Andrew Sinard was a rare bright spot among this corps if for no other reason because he plays cautiously and makes safe passes. He used his long reach to knock pucks away from opponents several times and is earning more ice time as a result of that and injuries to other defensemen.
— River Rymsha had an interesting night. He had played some wing this season but was the starting center in this one. He went 3-1 on faceoffs.
Rymsha also was hurt, as he came off holding his shoulder. Based on the optics it appeared he would miss significant time, but he returned and looked 100 percent the balance of the game.
FORWARDS: D-. The absence of Josh Melnick is having a crippling effect on this corps, which has not found the net in three games. Even Miami’s best most skilled forwards are struggling: Karch Bachman was minus-4, Jonathan Gruden minus-3, Gordie Green minus-3.
DEFENSEMEN: F. Hutton’s goal bumped their grade from a ‘G-’. Their woes were documented above: Bad decisions, bad positioning, turnovers, flat-footedness. It was easily the worst effort of the season by the blueliners.
GOALTENDING: C-. The first goal came off a point-blank shot that resulted in a rebound, so that can’t be blamed on Larkin. The second was a breakaway and a quality snipe. However, Larkin couldn’t control an innocuous shot on the third goal and was unable to get across to stop a wraparound on the fourth. Uhelski probably should’ve had the fifth one and the sixth was on an uncontested shot from the slot.
LINEUP CHANGES: Hutton was back after sitting last Saturday and forward Noah Jordan sat scratched. Rymsha shifted to forward and Zach LaValle was the extra skater, dressing for the third straight game.
Melnick missed his fifth consecutive contest.
FINAL THOUGHTS: It was an all-around bad night at the rink.
There’s simply no excuse for falling behind 5-0 by the midpoint of the second period against a team that had won one of its last seven games.
The last team Miami beat was this Tigers team. But that was over two months ago in Colorado Springs, and this game showed how far the RedHawks have slipped since then.
Preview: Colorado College at Miami
Like Miami, Colorado College is looking for its first win of 2019.
The Tigers are 0-3-1 early this calendar year with all four games coming at home.
CC is currently last in the NCHC with just eight conference points.
BoB takes a look at the upcoming series between these teams:
WHO: Colorado College (8-12-3) at Miami RedHawks (9-11-4).
WHERE: Cady Arena (3,642), Oxford, Ohio.
WHEN: Friday – 7:35 p.m.; Saturday – 7:05 p.m.
COLORADO COLLEGE RADIO: KRDO-FM (105.5), Colorado Springs, Colo.
MIAMI RADIO: WKBV-AM (1490), Richmond, Ind.
NOTES: Colorado College is last in the NCHC but the Tigers have always given Miami fits, as the RedHawks are 1-3-1 in their last five meetings.
CC averages three goals a game despite not having a skater over 17 points.
Thirteen Tigers have found the net at least three times, and Westin Michaud leads the team in points with 17.
CC’s top five points producers are forwards, with four being seniors and the other a junior.
Michaud has scored eight goals, and Trey Bradley is tops among Tigers skaters in goals (9) and second in points (16).
Mason Bergh has five goals and 10 assists, Trevor Gooch eight markers and five helpers and Nick Halloran has posted four goals and nine helpers for 13 points.
Halloran is the lone junior among this corps – the rest are all seniors.
Junior Alex Berardinelli is another major threat on a Tigers team that scores 3.00 goals per game. Berardinelli has scored seven times including twice shorthanded.
Colorado College has scored 69 times this season, but only three of its tallies have come from defensemen.
Freshman Bryan Yoon is 1-12-13 and easily leads this corps in points.
Zach Berzolla, Andrew Farny and Kristian Blumenschein are 0-6-6, 0-6-6 and 0-5-5 in 23 games each, respectively, and Ben Israel, Cole McCaskill and Alex Pernitsky have logged the remainder of the defensemen minutes for the Tigers.
Junior Alex Leclerc has logged over 90 percent of the team’s minutes in net, going 8-11-3 with a 2.73 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage.
This wraps up a ridiculous nine-game road trip for the Tigers, who are 1-5-1 in their current stretch away from World Arena.
Colorado College’s last three games have all gone to overtime, and the Tigers lost two, both at North Dakota.
The Tigers had a game against Denver postponed last weekend because of weather.
Miami is 0-6-4 in its last 10 games and has not scored in 141:26.
Captain Josh Melnick has missed the last four games with a lower body injury and is questionable to return this weekend.
FutureHawks: 2 transfers headed to Oxford
Two transfers are officially set to join Miami in 2019-20, and both forwards should make an immediate impact with the RedHawks.
Brett Murray logged 33 games in two seasons with Penn State before leaving the team to return to juniors, where he is 20-24-44 in 35 games with Youngstown. The Buffalo Sabres’ fourth-round pick will be eligible to play for Miami this fall.
Matthew Barry was leading Holy Cross in points at 4-7-11. The transfer will miss two semesters and join he RedHawks for the second half of 2019-20.
Also, defenseman Jack Clement has signed an NLI with Miami. The 6-feet-4 blueliner is 1-6-7 with USHL Des Moines.
According to Eliteprospects.com, also expected to join the team this fall are F Ryan Savage, son of former NHLer Brian Savage, Ds Alec Capstick, Uula Ruikka and Matt Kessel and G Benjamin Kraws.
Kraws is with USHL’s Sioux City and is the favorite to back up Larkin next season.
The RedHawks will need to replace Fs Josh Melnick, Ryan Siroky and Zach LaValle, Ds Grant Hutton and River Rymsha and G Jordan Uhelski.
F Jay Feiwell was the latest to commit to Miami this week. He has posted 10 goals and 18 assists for 28 points in 32 games with NAHL Shreveport.
BoB takes a look at Miami commits’ stats in juniors, high schools and other leagues:
COMMITS’ 2018-19 REGULAR SEASON STATS
|Primo Self||2001||Selects Aca. U18||Midget||F||39||19||31||50||44|
|John Waldron||2002||Chicago Fury U16||T1EHL U16||F||29||21||23||44||10|
|Dominick Rivelli||2003||Chicago Mission||HPHL U15||F||20||9||11||20||36|
|Frankie Carogioello||2002||St. Andrew’s||CISAA||F||10||8||10||18||14||Ben Dexheimer||2002||Blake||USHS||D||17||2||10||12||10|
|Red Savage||2003||Compuware U16||HPHL U16||F||18||6||5||11||22|
|Trevor Peca||2000||Buffalo Jr. Sabres||OJHL||F||12||4||7||11||26|
|Matthew Barry@||1997||Holy Cross||NCAA D1||F||13||4||7||11||-14||10|
|Ty Gallagher||2003||Compuware U16||HPHL U16||D||18||2||9||11||10|
|Matthew Kessel||2000||Sioux Falls||USHL||D||34||2||7||9||4||18|
|Kienan Draper||2002||L. Caesar’s U16||T1EHL U16||F||8||3||2||5||4|
|Nicholas Donato||2002||Chicago Miss. U16||HPHL U16||D||14||1||4||5||30|
|John Prokop||2001||Omaha||USHL||D||24||0||4||4||-6||2||Nick DeSantis||2002||Sioux Falls||USHL||F||3||1||0||1||-1||0|
|Anthony Vidrick||2001||Conn. Jr. Rangers||NCDC||F||1||0||0||0||0|
|Declan Ride||2003||Toronto Nat’ls Midget AAA||GTMMHL||D||N/||A|
|Ben Kraws||2000||Sioux City||USHL||29||16||12||2.84||.898||1|
|Gibson Homer||2003||Fox Motors U16||T1EHL U16||9||2.30||.892|
Last updated: 1-24-2019
* – signed NLI to play for Miami
! – transfer from Penn St., will join Miami in 2019-20.
@ – transfer from Holy Cross, will join Miami in Jan. 2020.
Four straight shutouts for UMD vs. Miami
OXFORD, Ohio – The last series Miami played against Minnesota-Duluth, the RedHawks were shut out on the road, 4-0 in the opener and 3-0 in the finale.
The No. 5 Bulldogs repeated that feat this weekend by identical scores.
After beating MU 4-0 on Friday, UMD reeled off its fourth straight shutout vs. Miami, 3-0 at Cady Arena on Saturday.
The RedHawks have not scored against UMD in 257:08.
Miami (9-11-4) played without both captains – Josh Melnick and Grant Hutton – and starting goalie Ryan Larkin watched the game from the bench.
The RedHawks’ winless streak has reached 10 games, with their last win coming over two months ago.
RECAP: Minnesota-Duluth (14-6-2) opened the scoring when Scott Perunovich tipped home a wrister from the blue line by Nick Swaney on the power play at the 17-minute mark of the first period.
Midway through the second frame, Miami was on a two-man advantage when the RedHawks’ Jonathan Gruden had a shot blocked and UMD’s Justin Richards went in for a breakaway but was hooked from behind by Derek Daschke, resulting in a penalty shot as one skater returned to the ice.
Richards scored, going backhand to the stick side to make it 2-0.
The Bulldogs sealed it 4:13 into the third period when Noah Cates stripped Casey Gilling, and the loose puck ended up on the stick of Swaney, who was all alone at the top of the crease for a slam-dunk goal.
STATS: Overall, Miami’s scoreless drought has reached 141:26. The RedHawks set a school record by being blanked for over 240 minutes in 2017-18, which included its shutout weekend at Duluth.
— The RedHawks finished with the same faceoff percentage both nights (.333). They went 18-36 in the circle in this game after struggled to a 20-40 mark on Friday.
— Miami slipped to 1-8-1 in January games dating back to last season and is 4-16-3 overall in the second half the past two campaigns.
— For over two months, the RedHawks have been in pursuit of win No. 10. They are 1-19-6 since 2016-17 going after that elusive 10th victory.
— MU dropped to 1-13-1 in its last 15 meetings with the Bulldogs.
THOUGHTS: Like Friday, Miami was buzzing in the first period despite its lack of star power, but once again a late first-period goal by Minnesota-Duluth completely deflated the RedHawks.
The two-man advantage-turned-shorthanded-rush-turned-penalty-shot also represented a major momentum swing in the game, since it was an excellent opportunity for Miami to tie the score that went horribly, horribly wrong.
From there, it was obvious that Bulldogs goalie Hunter Shepard wasn’t going to give up a pair of late goals, as he was outstanding in shutting Miami out for the fourth straight time.
— Hutton was given a game misconduct and not a disqualification on Friday, so the decision to sit him was on Miami’s coaching staff.
It was a bad penalty for sure and I have no problem scratching him for a game, especially with the team mired in a deep slump.
Hutton is an exceptional talent and a wonderful young man, but as a senior he hasn’t taken that step forward that we’ve seen elite NHLers-to-be often take their final season.
One pro scout said he hasn’t seen an urgency in his game this year. Sometimes even elite players need a wake-up call, and hopefully a night in the stands will rejuvenate Hutton.
No Hutton, no Melnick and no Larkin against the No. 5 team was a tall order for the RedHawks, but sometimes a shake-up is needed when a team is struggling.
— Melnick is battling a lower-body injury and Larkin was pulled after allowing four goals on 22 shots on Friday.
Hopefully Melnick will return next weekend.
— The current review process has to stop. It’s ruining games.
Everyone wants calls to be correct. But there has to be a limit.
A UMD player went down behind the play in this game. After the next whistle, the officials went under the headsets for several minutes to see if a penalty was warranted.
On Friday the officials went to the booth to decide Hutton’s penalty, even know everyone in the building knew he was getting 5-and-10.
Coach Enrico Blasi asked for a review on UMD’s goal, citing the puck might have gone out of play prior to it going in. The original no-call was upheld.
The best is when a goal is scored and there’s a review to see if the play was off-side a minute earlier.
You know, because in baseball when someone hits a home run, they go back to see if that ball one call really should’ve been a strike five pitches prior.
I give credit to college hockey for being open to rules changes to better the game (except shootouts, but that’s for another day), so I have one:
Give teams two timeouts instead of one. Challenge anything you want. If you’re wrong, you lose a timeout, as it is now.
But no other reviews except inside five minutes of the third period and overtime.
You hired a second ref for each game, let the officials do their jobs.
— It’s too bad the weather kept a large number of fans away on Saturday.
The roads were brutal after the game, and many smartly stayed home.
The attendance was listed as 2,018 but I suspect that includes season ticket holders who have paid for their seats. Actual attendance was closer to one thousand.
A large number at the rink were in town for the whole weekend anyway.
I can’t express how much I hate to name drop, especially when it’s someone I’ve never met with a name as prestigious and sensitive as his, but when conditions are poor I’ll always think of that series nine years ago when Brendan Burke was killed.
For those not in the know, Burke and his friend died in a car accident on horrible roads northwest of Oxford the day of a Friday game vs. Lake Superior State.
Burke, the team manager at the time and son of former NHL general manager Brian Burke, was a pioneer when he came out as openly gay months before the wreck, gaining national attention.
That weekend’s weather could’ve claimed any of us who traveled to Oxford for those games.
Burke died on a Friday, and the team didn’t find out until later that night, but its members did The Brotherhood proud by scoring seven goals the first 29 minutes of Saturday’s game against a ranked Lakers team in a 10-4 win.
Not a team on the planet, including the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins, could’ve beaten Miami for that period and a half.
— Back to Friday for a second: Blasi was caught yelling at associate coach Peter Mannino on the bench early in the second period.
If there’s a disagreement between coaches, that’s something that needs to be handled in private at intermission, especially when a team is struggling as Miami clearly is.
LINEUP CHANGES: Andrew Sinard stepped in for Hutton, as the RedHawks are down to seven healthy defensemen.
Grant Frederic and Chaz Switzer are both out with lower body injuries.
Uhelski got the start for Larkin after the senior’s strong performance in the second half of Friday’s game and stopped 36 of 39 shots in the loss.
His save percentage is now .922. Larkin is at .923.
Noah Jordan also started up front for the fourth time this season as Carter Johnson was scratched.
FORWARDS: D-. An upgrade from ‘F’ on Friday only because they generated better shots and Shepard was outstanding, but seriously, 13 shots and zero goals?
DEFENSEMEN: C. Too many shots allowed and this corps did zilch offensively. But with Hutton out, Sinard seemed to thrive with more ice time and Alec Mahalak showcased his defensive talents more with the additional TOI available.
GOALTENDING: B+. Uhelski had zero chance on the first and third goals and the other was on a penalty shot.
STANDINGS: Miami has fallen to 29th in the PairWise and is in sixth place in the NCHC with a 3-7-2 record.
The RedHawks trail fifth-place North Dakota by six points and are seven out of fourth, which is the last home-ice spot for the league tournament.
FINAL THOUGHTS: It’s necessary to take a step back and realize that this was always going to be a rebuilding season.
After three straight sub-.500 seasons and a 7-2 start, this 0-6-4 skid feels like a Lucy-again-pulling-away-the-football moment, but it’s important to realize that success this season was always going to be a tall order.
With six non-seniors and both assistants leaving, the RedHawks pieced this team together in the summer, and still – still – at 9-11-4 have exceeded expectations.
It’s just frustrating to see Miami play so well against No. 1 St. Cloud for 120 minutes and then get manhandled by the fifth-ranked team seven weeks later.
What we’ve seen in four months of the 2018-19 is a major step ahead in the process toward being an NCAA contending team.
But as Minnesota-Duluth showed this weekend, the RedHawks still aren’t there. At least not right now.
Fortunately for Miami, there’s still plenty of season left to turn that around.