In four meetings last season, No. 20 Miami only beat Colorado College once, with that win coming in overtime. In its first win over the Tigers since, the RedHawks again won in an extra session.
Casey Gilling fired home a power play shot from the high slot to lift MU to a 3-2 win over CC at the 2:19 mark of overtime on Saturday as the teams split the weekend series.
The RedHawks (9-5), who led by two after the first period before CC rallied to force the extra session, are now 3-3 in the NCHC, one-quarter of the way through league play.
RECAP: River Rymsha fired a shot from the left point that found its way, opening the scoring for Miami with 5:25 left in the first period.
The RedHawks extended their lead to two four minutes later. Josh Melnick slid a pass between his legs to Scott Corbett, whose shot was denied, but the rebound was backhanded in by Derek Daschke at the top of the faceoff circle.
Colorado College (5-6-1) cut the Miami lead to one four minutes into the second period shorthanded when RedHawks defenseman Alec Mahalak tried to break up a cross-crease pass, but it went in on MU goalie Ryan Larkin, and after he deflected it to side of the net, Mason Bergh banged home the loose puck.
Bergh tied it with 3:49 left in the middle stanza on a one-time blast from the right wing faceoff dot on the power play for his third goal of the weekend.
Corbett was whistled for a penalty with 1:50 remaining in regulation, and Colorado College couldn’t score, but the Tigers took a minor in the extra frame to set up Gilling’s game winner.
Gilling wristed one toward the net but it broke the stick of CC’s Tanner Ockey and came back to Gilling, who snuck one in on the stick side to win it.
STATS: Daschke and Melnick both finished with two points, as Daschke scored once and picked up an assist and Melnick ended up with a pair of helpers.
— Daschke has nine points in nine games and Melnick has 11 in eight games. Melnick also went 22-7 in the faceoff circle.
— Gilling now has seven points in as many contests.
THOUGHTS: A popular mentality is that the altitude catches up to opposing teams on Saturdays when playing a weekend series a mile above sea level, but Miami scored in Minute 122 of this set.
Like Friday, the RedHawks were dominated for portions of this game, especially in the second period, but they still found a way to win.
— Larkin seemed skittish at times in this game but settled down for the stretch run and obviously shut CC out the final 26 minutes. He has allowed exactly two goals in four straight contests.
— Andrew Sinard started the game paired with Bray Crowder but Rymsha took over his defense spot later in the game. Not sure if Sinard was hurt or benched.
— On that note, a full disclosure: I watched this game on NCHC TV but had major internet issues and was reduced to viewing the balance on the phone.
So we’ll keep the opinions to a minimum.
LINEUP CHANGES: Only one: Noah Jordan dressed for the third time this season and fellow forward Zach LaValle sat.
Coach Enrico Blasi has gotten away from playing F Carter Johnson and Ds Chaz Switzer and Grant Frederic.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Miami blew a two-goal lead but won in overtime and is now 3-3 in the league despite playing four of those six games on the road.
The league schedule gets a lot tougher from here so these slow starts aren’t going to fly.
Not as strong of a schedule vs. 2017-18, admittedly, but still: 9-5 after 14 has a good sound.
Miami has not been a Friday team this season.
On this particular Friday, the No. 20 RedHawks struggled early, gave up the go-ahead goal late in the second period and failed to capitalize on a 5-on-3 in the final stanza, culminating in a 2-1 loss at Colorado College.
Miami is still 8-5 overall but fell to 2-4 on Friday, meaning the RedHawks are 6-1 on Saturday and Sunday.
Karch Bachman scored the lone goal for MU, tying the score eight minutes into the middle frame.
RECAP: The Tigers (5-5-1) dominated the first 20 minutes and came out of the first period ahead, 1-0.
Trey Bradley took a drop pass in the high slot and fired it on net, and though Miami’s Ryan Larkin kicked it aside, it caromed directly to the goalie’s right where waiting Mason Bergh whipped it in from the bad angle 7:45 into the contest.
The RedHawks (8-5) tied it with 11:56 left in the second period when Karch Bachman carried the puck into the offensive zone and fired a shot around his defender and into the top left corner.
But Colorado College regained the lead eight minutes later when Erik Middendorf one-timed a pass home from Alex Berardinelli. Berardinelli had grabbed a loose puck at the blue line after Zach LaValle tried to pass up ice and had his stick shatter.
The Tigers were whistled for overlapping penalties early in the third, creating a 46-second two-man advantage for Miami, but the RedHawks were unable to generate the equalizer.
STATS: Bachman has scored in consecutive games for the second time this season and leads the team in goals with five.
— Gilling picked up his sixth point in his last six, as he is 1-5-6 in that stretch. Larkin earned his first point since Oct. 28, 2017 with his secondary assist.
— Larkin has allowed exactly two goals in each of his last three games, stopping 90 of 96 shots in that span (.938).
— Miami extended its winless streak vs. Colorado College to four games. The RedHawks are 0-3-1 against the Tigers dating back to Nov. 3, 2017.
— MU outshot its opponents in eight of its first nine games, but its foes have more shots than the RedHawks in their last four. Colorado College edged out Miami, 31-30 in this contest.
THOUGHTS: Like last weekend, the RedHawks weren’t ready for this one as they were dominated early.
That resulted in a 1-0 CC lead, and while Miami tied it, a bad-luck goal by the Tigers ultimately sealed it.
In six Friday games this season the RedHawks have only scored three first-period goals, so the slow series starts are becoming a concern. A poor start to the North Dakota series eliminated any chance of a Miami win last Friday.
— We’ve been saying it all season, but how about the improvement by Bachman? He was 1-on-1 entering the zone and still ripped it home for his goal. He’s now winning battles in the corners and regularly forcing turnovers.
— He was well defended in The decisive goal was pretty unlucky for Miami, as LaValle’s stick broke while he was trying to send the puck out of his zone, but instead it ended up in the RedHawks’ net.
— Gilling was limited to one point his first seven games but has six in his last six. He has really upped his game at every level in recent weeks.
— Interesting that Coach Enrico Blasi is playing the two huge freshmen D-men, Bray Crowder and Andrew Sinard, on the same pairing.
LINEUP CHANGES: Unfortunately, Phil Knies was not in the lineup for the first time in his career. He suffered an upper-body injury early in last Saturday’s win over North Dakota.
Sinard dressed in his second straight game for the first time this season, and Carter Johnson has now missed consecutive contests.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Miami has to realize that it can’t just show up for the final 40 minutes and hope to win.
The RedHawks spotted Colorado College the first 20 minutes and the teams were basically even the last two periods, but that 1-0 difference in the opening stanza was the difference.
Relatively speaking, Miami has had it pretty easy to open NCHC play – the RedHawks played UNO, which has won two games, and North Dakota before heading to Colorado Springs to face a team that was previously 0-4 in the league – and MU is just 2-3 in conference play.
Colorado College and Miami have been the two least successful teams since the formation of the NCHC, but both are on upswings and could challenge for NCAA berths next spring as well as make runs at all-important home-ice seeds for the first round of the conference tournament.
The Tigers were 4-1-1 before their brutal start to the league schedule, as they dropped their first four NCHC games against St. Cloud State and Minnesota-Duluth and are still looking for their first league win of 2018-19.
Meanwhile, Miami split both of its opening series in conference play and are looking to make an early move in the ultra-competitive NCHC.
BoB takes a look at the upcoming series between these teams:
WHO: No. 20 Miami RedHawks (8-4) at Colorado College Tigers (4-5-1).
WHERE: World Arena (7,380), Colorado Springs, Colo.
WHEN: Friday – 10:07 p.m.; Saturday – 8:07 p.m.
ALL-TIME SERIES: Miami leads, 9-7-2.
LAST SEASON HEAD-TO-HEAD: Colorado College, 2-1-1. Nov. 3 – Miami, 3-2, OT; Nov. 4 – Colorado College, 2-1; Jan. 26 – Colorado College, 6-3; Jan. 27 – Tie, 4-4.
COLORADO COLLEGE RADIO: Both nights – KRDO-FM (105.5 and 92.5) and KRDO-AM (1240), Colorado Springs, Colo.
MIAMI RADIO: Both nights – WKBV-AM (1490), Richmond, Ind.
TELEVISION: Friday – AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain (DirecTV Ch. 683, Dish Network Ch. 414).
NOTES: Colorado College opened NCHC play by facing the top two teams in Division I the past two weekends — St. Cloud State and Minnesota-Duluth — and were outscored, 15-5 in four losses.
The Tigers have been well balanced in their scoring early this season, with eight skaters averaging at least half a point per game.
Ten forwards have recorded at least four points for Colorado College, with Nick Halloran and Trey Bradley tied for the team lead at nine.
Alex Berardinelli is tops in Tigers goals with five, including two shorthanded, and Westin Michaud has scored four times and added three assists.
Grant Cruikshank (2-4-6), Mason Bergh (0-5-5) and Chris Wilkie (3-2-5) round out Colorado College’s scoring leaders, although Wilkie has missed the last four games.
Freshman Bryan Yoon leads the team in defenseman points with five, including one goal, and Kristian Blumenschein has four assists.
Andrew Farny, Ben Israel, Zach Berzolla and Alex Pernitsky have been the other regulars on the blueline.
Alex Leclerc has logged nine games in net and will likely start both games this weekend. He has a 2.62 goals-against average and .916 save percentage.
Amazingly, the Tigers have had 51 power play chances compared to 29 for their opponents and have scored 10 times on the man advantage as well as three shorthanded goals.
But Colorado College is just 72.4 percent on the penalty kill and has surrendered a pair of shorties.
Gordie Green has led the RedHawks by tallying 10 points in his last seven games, including five goals, and Josh Melnick has notched nine points in six games. Casey Gilling is 1-4-5 in his last five.
Miami is 7-for-26 (.269) on the power play the last seven games.
Two trends MU would like to reverse: The RedHawks have been outshot by an average of 14 SOG the last three games and have given up five third-period goals in that span.
The 10th win has been incredibly elusive for Miami.
The RedHawks’ victory total never did reach double digits in 2016-17, as they went 0-9-1 in February in March to end the campaign with nine wins.
Miami is stuck on nine again this season, as it extended its winless streak to five games on Saturday by tying Colorado College, 4-4 on Saturday.
That means the RedHawks are 0-13-2 in pursuit of win No. 10 dating back to last season.
Miami’s at-large window is closing quickly, and it’s becoming more apparent that MU will have to run the table in the NCHC Tournament to avoid missing the NCAAs for the third straight season.
RECAP: It was a crazy game, with the Tigers scoring twice in the first three minutes to take a 2-0 lead.
Miami answered with four consecutive goals, including two by Carson Meyer.
But Colorado College cut its deficit to one in the closing minutes of the second period and tied it with 11:04 left in regulation.
Neither team scored in overtime, but the Tigers earned the second point with a 3-on-3 goal.
STATS: Lost in Miami’s struggles is Phil Knies’ scoring streak. He found the net for the fourth straight game and has netted six goals in that span. He had three in his first 20 games.
— Meyer was scratched in the finale at Nebraska-Omaha but scored twice for the first time this season. He also added a helper for his second career three-point game.
— Kiefer Sherwood notched two assists as he extended his points streak to seven games (3-8-11). It’s great to see both Sherwood and Meyer thriving after slow first halves.
— Louie Belpedio finished with a goal and a helper as he recorded his seventh multi-point game of the season.
THOUGHTS: To its credit, Miami fell behind by two early but rallied to take a 4-2 lead.
Then the RedHawks blew said lead as they salvaged just one of a possible three points.
Once again a late advantage was squandered and Miami left valuable league points on the table.
The funny thing is that through 24 games, the RedHawks have actually allowed the same number of goals in each period: 27. It’s the timing of those goals against that is killing this team.
This 0-3-1 road set against the sixth and seventh place teams in the NCHC has left Miami buried in last, six points behind Colorado College.
The RedHawks do have two games in hand against the entire league save St. Cloud State, but Miami’s remaining schedule consists of two games against each of the top five teams in the conference.
It’s baffling that this MU team that was 8-8-2 at the break and won its first game of 2018 against league power Denver looks so lost now.
And it isn’t like Miami was a horrible road team: The RedHawks were 3-3-2 away from Cady Arena entering the UNO series two weeks ago.
— MU is allowing 5.8 goals per game during its five-game skid. That’s embarrassing. Granted UNO has the best offense in the NCHC but Colorado College is second last in scoring.
Only Miami scores less frequently, with 75 goals in 24 games vs. CC’s 79 markers.
— A number of otherwise intelligent people are toying with the notion that a change of conference might be the best thing for Miami.
This has to be the worst idea since the glowing puck or the NHL expanding to Atlanta a second time.
So the problem is that Miami has struggled to compete against the big boys the past few years. The solution is to admit defeat, say thanks for the invite but we’re not worthy of the NCHC and join a much weaker conference?
Of course it’s frustrating to watch a team you love struggle for multiple seasons, but here’s why leaving the conference would be asinine:
1) What’s the alternative? The Big Seven doesn’t want Miami. The WCHA is much weaker. Those are the only two leagues with teams remotely close to southwest Ohio.
There is no longer a CCHA. When it dissolved, Miami had a chance to play in the best league in Division I and made the correct decision to join.
Yeah, the schedule is brutal but the RedHawks only need to post a .530 or so winning percentage to get in. All of the other seven teams in the league are .500 or better.
2) Recruiting. A major issue being brought up is MU’s inability to land the same quantity of players as it did several years ago, right? Do you think a 16-year-old is more likely to sign with a team that plays teams like Denver, North Dakota and Duluth each weekend or UAF, Ferris State and Northern Michigan?
No offense to those former CCHA foes but they’re not household names in the college hockey world and they’re not consistently in the top echelon of Division I.
It’s EASIER to recruit when you play in this conference. Leaving it will not mean the Austin Czarniks and Reilly Smiths of the world will start again flocking to Oxford. Quite possibly the opposite.
3) Travel. You think Omaha then Colorado College is bad, think about the logistics issues of playing in a league with the three UP teams and both Alaska squads.
Then throw in two more in Minnesota. No thanks.
Hockey East was a disaster for Notre Dame largely for the same reason. The other leagues aren’t realistic either, and again, the Big Seven isn’t extending invitations.
It’s an honor to play in the best league in college hockey, and no team in its right mind is going to step down because it has a few bad years.
LINEUP CHANGES: The big one was the absence of standout Grant Hutton on defense. It’s unclear why he was not dressed, snapping a streak of 75 consecutive games played for the junior.
It was just the second time in his career he was not on the lineup card, with the other being Jan. 9, 2016.
If Hutton misses any amount of time it will make winning hockey games a whole lot harder for the struggling RedHawks.
The other Grant – Grant Frederic – took his place on the ice.
Up front, Ryan Siroky and Zach LaValle dressed after sitting on Friday. Austin Alger and Willie Knierim sat in their place.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Miami plays its next four and six of its final 10 in Oxford, but now it faces an incredibly difficult path to get back into contention for home ice in the first round of the tournament.
The only good thing about the remaining schedule is that the RedHawks play the teams multiple teams that they need to pass in the standings, so they control their own destiny somewhat.
It was just five seasons ago when Miami held its opponents to 1.74 goals per game.
One of the top defensive teams in Division I half a decade ago, the RedHawks have allowed 21 goals during their current three-game road set alone, including Friday’s 6-3 loss at Colorado College.
MU is surrendering goals at nearly twice the clip of 2013-14, as foes have lit the lamp 82 times in 23 games, an average of 3.39 goals against.
RECAP: Didn’t see the game, just the highlights. Those 9:37 p.m. starts are a little late for those of us with early hours.
It was never really a contest, as the Tigers scored 99 seconds in and ran out to a 5-1 lead. Miami scored twice to trim the deficit to two, but a CC empty netter sealed it.
STATS: Kiefer Sherwood tied a season high with three points, scoring once and setting up the other two MU goals.
— Freshman defenseman Alec Mahalak’s two points – both on helpers – were a career best.
— Grant Hutton also picked up two points on a goal and an assist, giving him points in three straight games (1-5-6).
— Colorado College was 3-for-3 on the power play, and Miami has now killed an absurd 5 of 13 chances during this road trip. That’s a 38.5 PK percentage.
THOUGHTS: So Miami’s defensive struggles last season were documented regularly here, but the RedHawks were doing a better job in their own zone the first three months of 2017-18.
But three games and 21 goals against into an 0-3 road trip later, it makes one wonder what the deuce is going on.
Opponents are getting way too good of looks and goaltending is underperforming. And Nebraska-Omaha and Colorado College are both near the bottom of the NCHC standings table.
Miami should’ve been past this, with Louie Belpedio playing the best hockey of his career in Games 1-20, Grant Hutton continuing to prove himself one of the best undrafted D-men in the conference. Chaz Switzer, Scott Dornbrock and Grant Frederic had all shown improvement.
Alec Mahalak has also displayed a lot of promise and his confidence level seems to rise each night.
Forwards Gordie Green, Josh Melnick and Casey Gilling all are outstanding defensively, but too often Miami’s centers and wings aren’t getting back or don’t pick up opponents as they cruise toward the Miami net.
Miami needs to tighten up, and quickly. Time is running out on the regular season, and drawing a low seed in the conference tournament is tantamount to a death sentence in the NCHC.
LINEUP CHANGES: Carter Johnson returned to the lineup for the first time since the Bowling Green series. Carson Meyer was also back after being scratched in the finale at UNO.
Zach LaValle and Ryan Siroky did not dress.
On defense, Dornbrock returned after missing the second game vs. the Mavericks. He replaced Frederic.
FINAL THOUGHTS: It’s a four-game losing streak for Miami, its longest of the season.
Now three games under .500, the RedHawks’ path the NCAAs gets a lot tougher. MU really needed to sweep these games to have a decent shot at home ice for the first round of the NCHC Tournament and the potential for an at-large berth.
Not that it’s mathematically impossible by any stretch, but the odds of Miami reeling off a bunch of wins in a row against its remaining opponents are not strong.
OXFORD, Ohio – For a period that did not see a goal scored, the final stanza of Saturday’s game was certainly bizarre.
After scoring the go-ahead tally with 0.1 seconds left in the second period, Colorado College held on for a 2-1 win over Miami at Cady Arena as the teams split the weekend series.
Just over six minutes into the third period, the Tigers appeared to have scored their third goal on a blast from the blue line.
The RedHawks’ coaching staff, players nor goalie Ryan Larkin seemed to have any objection, but after a review the goal was waved off because of an alleged crease violation.
Already down a player – and Gordie Green for that matter – his linemate and top penalty killing forward Josh Melnick was whistled for tripping, giving Colorado College a 5-on-3 for a minute and a half.
The Tigers were then assessed a holding penalty five seconds later, making it a 4-on-3 for 1:25.
On a side note, if that was intended as a make-up call, cutting an advantage from 5×3 to 4×3 doesn’t help the shorthanded team much, since a 4×3 is statistically almost as lethal.
But to continue, Miami killed the one-and-a-half-man advantage.
A couple of minutes later, Green ripped a one-timer from the slot that went just wide, and the goal light went on erroneously.
Then a Zach LaValle penalty with 5:14 left, and Casey Gilling received a 10-minute unsportsmanlike conduct on the same play (NOTE: The latter usually means a player used the magic word when talking to officials).
Miami killed that power play and drew a boarding call with a minute left. But despite finishing the game 6-on-4, the RedHawks were unable to repeat Friday’s comeback heroics.
Credit does go to the Tigers’ goalie Alex Leclerc, who stopped 26 of 27 shots.
Miami went 3-1 on the homestand and is now 4-4 after a 1-3 start, but the loss stings because the RedHawks outplayed Colorado College overall in this one.
On Friday, the teams were pretty even and both played well, but CC wasn’t on its game Saturday and Miami still couldn’t get any points.
– Annual disclaimer that we like to keep criticism of officials to a minimum, since in theory it should even out and making them a part of the game can appear whiny and hurt credibility. That said, the refs didn’t have a good weekend. The power plays were 14-8 in favor of Colorado College for the series, and the Tigers weren’t that much better than Miami. Actually the opposite.
It was called tight on Saturday, and then interference became a game strategy and was let go. To be fair, the goalie interference called on Colorado College in the first period on Friday was one of the worst calls at Cady Arena in some time.
It stings more when the borderline calls end up in the violators’ net, and the Tigers scored three times on the man advantage this weekend. Miami had zero PPGs.
– Miami had its chances but missed to net too often in this one. The RedHawks scored on their final shot of the first period and put 18 on net the final 40 minutes but none hit twine. A number more solid opportunities missed the net entirely, and there was also a late post on a one-timer (Grant Hutton maybe?). Miami possessed the puck a lot and ended the night with just one goal.
– Not sure who failed to pick up Wade Michaud, who joined the power play rush late in the closing seconds of the second period, but he was left wide open to skate in and score the decisive goal. The replay quality isn’t great, but it appears the pass from the along the boards was partially deflected by Green and ended up right on Michaud’s stick. Melnick, Grant Hutton and Chaz Switzer were also on the ice for that critical kill.
– A side note that Colorado College only had five healthy defensemen this weekend. So the Tigers are young (no seniors) and were shorthanded on the blue line, which means Miami will face an even tougher task when they head to Colorado Springs in January to play a jelling CC team at high altitude.
– Nice to see a good crowd at Cady Arena. The listed attendance was 3,137, which is 120 off the season high set in the 2017-18 opener vs. Providence.
FORWARDS: C. The group was decent overall but only finished once. The power play wasn’t that good. Time of possession was excellent, and that alone cut down the number of scoring chances for Colorado College. Overall this corps helped hold CC to five shots on eight power plays, which included an extensive 4-on-3.
DEFENSEMEN: A-. As mentioned above, the forwards made the blueliners’ job somewhat easier, but the D deserves credit for the Tigers’ shot total of 14, a season low allowed by Miami and the third time in four games the RedHawks have given up fewer than 20 shots. Louie Belpedio took the cross-checking penalty that led to the decisive goal, but it was unclear if that was a warranted call since it was behind the play and there wasn’t a good camera angle of it. Alec Mahalak logged some power play time and looked confident handling the puck. That gives Miami four blueliners who jump on for the man advantage, which is atypical for recent RedHawks teams.
GOALTENDING: C. Ryan Larkin made one spectacular save, but he probably should have stopped one of the two goals. The first one beat him high to the glove side, and he appeared to have gotten the glove up in time. The second one was far enough out that he should’ve had a good look. He stopped only 12, putting his save percentage for the night at .857. That’s four straight games in which Larkin has allowed two goals or fewer. If he can do that most nights Miami should win plenty of games.
LINEUP CHANGES: None. Coach Enrico Blasi continues to ride this corps of 18 skaters plus Larkin. It was not only the fourth straight game using the same 19, the lines are remaining intact. The latter may change if forwards not named Melnick and Green can’t pick up the scoring. The other 10 forwards slots have generated just 11 goals through eight games. It’s a shame to see the same faces in the stands each night but there are no easy answers when a team has 28 players on its roster.
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.
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.
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.
WHO: Colorado College Tigers (5-3) at Miami University RedHawks (3-3).
WHERE: Cady Arena, Oxford, Ohio.
WHEN: Friday – 7:35 p.m.; Saturday – 7:05 p.m.
COLORADO COLLEGE RADIO: KRDO-AM (1240), KRDO-FM (105.5), Colorado Springs, Colo.
NOTES: Remember that Colorado College team that the NCHC beat up the first few years of the league’s existence?
You know, the team that the media kept saying was going to get better one of these days but has finished dead last in the league three of the first four seasons ?
Well, that day has arrived. And what’s scarier: Not a single CC player that has logged a game this fall is a senior.
The Tigers are just outside the USCHO’s top 20, having split in Vermont, swept Alaska-Anchorage, taken 1 of 2 at then-No. 17 New Hampshire and went 1-1 vs. North Dakota.
That’s not a doormat’s resume.
Colorado College has only outscored opponents by one goal, but the Tigers are 4-0 in one-goal games. So the Tigers are finding a way to win the tight games, an area in which Miami has improved so far this season.
Nick Halloran leads the conference in points (4-8-12), and Mason Bergh is tied for first in the NCAA in goals (7) and is tied with Gordie Green for second in the league with 11 points.
But this CC team hasn’t been particularly deep, as that duo has scored 46 percent of the team’s goals. Tyler Gooch is the only other Colorado College player with two goals – 11 others have one.
Among Tigers forwards, Trey Bradley has a goal and seven assists and Westin Michaud has scored once and picked up five helpers.
Colorado College has not gotten much offensive production from its defense. As a team, the Tigers have just two goals and seven assists from their blueliners.
CC has not been great on special teams, converting power plays at an NCHC-worst 12.5 percent clip and killing just 74.3 percent of man-advantage opportunities.
The RedHawks are second in the NCAA on the power play at 34.3 percent and are tied for the Division I lead with 12 PPGs.
Defenseman Grant Hutton has five of those for Miami, tops in college hockey.
However, the Tigers have been excellent at drawing penalties, as they have been on the power play 48 times already.
Colorado College and North Dakota played each other last weekend in the first conference contests of the season. This weekend every NCHC team except UND will compete against league opponents.
With the Tigers rejuvenated, this conference gets that much tougher. The PairWise has the Tigers at 13 and Miami at 49.
Except for Cornell, every one of the RedHawks’ remaining opponents is ranked in the top 25.
OXFORD, Ohio – It was a fun way to end a not-so-fun streak.
Miami trailed, 2-0 midway through the third period but ended up beating Colorado College, 3-2 in overtime at Cady Arena on Saturday.
The RedHawks (4-8-2) finish the first half of the season with <— that record.
It was a bittersweet win for a number of reasons.
PROS: Great comeback. Some of the most intense hockey Miami has played in the final stretch of the game. The RedHawks were physically involved. The win gives the team some momentum heading into the break. Chase Munroe was solid in net, earning his first career win.
CONS: Colorado College was ranked 48th in college hockey entering the weekend. Miami shouldn’t have needed motivation to play the first 50 minutes. Any momentum from this win could be squelched by 20 days off.
Not to be a downer, but the first con should count double. Last season it seemed like the RedHawks were ready to take the NCHC by ice storm after Jay Williams shut the Tigers out for a two-game series, becoming the first MU player to accomplish that feat.
They were the last wins of the season for Miami.
This fall, people see the team record and ask what the team’s problem is. It’s not an east question to answer and most don’t accept the offer to have a few pints and discuss.
As a season ticket holder for 11 years one tries to dwell on the positives, but one has also seen a couple hundred games in this rink and knows to keep perspective after an emotional regular season win or loss. It’s a long season with many, many ups and downs.
The coaches say the process is paramount, but with the exception of the occasional bad bounce and goalies stealing games, process and record typically are directly proportional.
This comeback win with a spectacular ending was great for the team and the fans, but it only counts as one win, and because of the 16 games before it, Miami has to put together a lot more ‘W’s in the next three months.
– If you haven’t seen Josh Melnick’s game winner, the link is at the end of this explanation, but it requires setting up because it’s hard to see the puck, even after several views.
Go to the 3:35 mark and change the setting to “slow”. Carson Meyer shoots the puck from along the boards, and it goes out of sight for a second, but keep an eye around Melnick’s right knee. The puck reappears, drops toward the ice and he bats it into the net. Amazing goal.
Link is here:
– Loved seeing Karch Bachman use his speed to create Miami’s first goal. He threw the puck into the corner, chased it down and fed it to Willie Knierim in front of the net. Look forward to seeing him showcase his skills more the next 3½ years.
FORWARDS: B. Was hovering around a flunking grade halfway through the third period. This corps still didn’t help create a power play goal, but the puck movement and chances were a lot better. Coach Enrico Blasi is still adjusting the lines but overall the line chemistry seemed improved over Friday. Meyer has been a huge help since returning.
DEFENSEMEN: C. Chaz Switzer’s turnover ended up in Miami’s net, and a total breakdown resulted in the odd-man chance that became Colorado College’s second goal. Mistakes will happen but they will get a lot harder to overcome when the RedHawks play the loaded schedule they have awaiting them in January and February.
GOALTENDING: B+. Munroe’s first and second starts were polar opposites. He looked calm on Saturday and nervous in his starting debut. He controlled his rebounds and stopped all of the routine shots in this game. The first goal was on a breakaway. The second was on a 2-on-0 that he made a spectacular initial save on before the follow-up was banged in. So neither were on him.
LINEUP CHANGES: Blasi benched two-thirds of his third line on Saturday – Ryan Siroky and Zach Lavalle. Alex Alger was back in the lineup after sitting for three games, and Knierim returned to the ice and scored the first Miami goal. On defense, Jared Brandt was scratched again but should be fine in three weeks. The Munroe start was a bit of surprise, since regular starter Ryan Larkin played well on Friday, but it worked out well. Perhaps Blasi was sending a message to his team about its overall play in Game 1 of the series, or maybe he thought this was a rare chance to give Larkin a break before an arduous second half.