Blog Archives

Analysis: That dreaded 6-on-5

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – Ahh, 6-on-5 hockey.

Earlier this month it helped Miami tie that Colorado College home game in regulation, which eventually turned into a win.

But over the past eight years it has largely been RedHawk kryptonite, including Saturday’s 2-2 tie at the Slater Family Ice Arena in which Bowling Green scored the equalizer with 37.8 seconds left in the third period.

It was also the second time in 2017-18 Miami surrendered a decision-altering goal against in the final minute. Providence beat the RedHawks by scoring with 0.9 seconds left opening weekend.

An inability to close out wins is a legitimate criticism of Miami teams the past few years, but to the team’s credit it runs 6-on-5 drills all the time in practice.

Is it coaching? Is it heart? Is it just bad luck? Is it a statistical anomaly? Hard to say, but it’s definitely real.

On the flip side, there were 13 goals scored this weekend, and the RedHawks had eight of them in a road series against a team ranked in the top one-fourth of the PairWise.

They went 1-0-1 on Friday and Saturday, their best road series record since sweeping Nebraska-Omaha in late January of 2016. That was 22 months ago.

Overall Miami deserves a grade of ‘B’ for the weekend, but it would be tough to finish one or two spots out of the NCAA Tournament field because the RedHawks saw a win flipped to a tie because of yet another extra-attacker goal.

Other thoughts…

– Here were go with another edition of meaningless-3-on-3-exhibitions-suck. Regular readers have heard this rant before and can move on to the next long dash.

But seriously, can anyone please tell me why, for the love of God, we’re risking injury to some of the best Division I hockey athletes, for a demonstration between two non-conference opponents? It was 2-2 after the requisite five-minute overtime. So the game is officially a tie. Just leave it at that.

For whatever reason the teams played a five-minute 3-on-3 afterward, and while it was announced that the game had been completed, few on or off the ice got the memo. With a game story to complete on this end, following a mad ending to the actual game – which was highly entertaining, by the way – there was zero attention given to the skills competition on the deteriorating ice that was 30 minutes of game play old. Apparently BGSU won that, because the team and fans celebrated like they won Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final. In reality it meant absolutely nothing.

College hockey wants it both ways in this situation. It detests ties, so it creates “decisions” through artificial means like these. But the “wins” are utterly meaningless, and the process does a disservice to its fans.

We asked about going to a 4-on-4 for overtime like the NHL did, and the NCAA’s position – according to a conversation with NCHC commissioner and NCAA rules committee member Josh Fenton a couple years ago – is that college hockey believes overtime should be played by the same rules as regulation, and that means five players a side.

If conferences choose to alter rules beyond those five minutes, they may do so, but for NCAA purposes a game needs to be 5-on-5 for 65 minutes. After that, the league can hold an arm-wrestling competition at center ice to determine a “winner” from a points perspective if it so chooses.

OK. Respect that argument. Don’t agree, but respect it.

But the reality of that position is few games are resolved in five minutes of 5×5. It was 22 percent in the last sample studied on this end. In the NHL, which uses 4×4, that percentage jumps to between 40 and 50, depending on the season.

That leaves 78 percent of games that are tied through three periods, and the NCAA feels a compulsory need to generate a non-tie outcome at the expense of legitimacy.

Please, either break all ties by sane means or cut down the chance of ties and leave the occasional one alone.

– Love the weekend series at the in-state rival and hope these two can play four a year, since Ohio State has decided to bail on its annual home-and-home with Miami. The RedHawks and Bowling Green are less than three hours distance driving, and the teams can drive back on Saturday nights to cut out on the expense of a second game-night hotel stay.

– Staff at BGSU was top notch. Lots of Miami fans were in attendance, and the games got chippy, but never saw or heard about any problems.

Miami’s Louie Belpedio (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

– Ryan Larkin’s save percentage is not where he would want it, but he had a solid weekend. He faced a lot of high-percentage shots and stopped most.

– Grant Hutton and Louie Belpedio are giving the RedHawks a dominant defensive tandem it has not had in some time. One wonders if Belpedio was ever truly healthy in 2016-17 and Hutton seemingly gets better each shift.

– Didn’t think the penalty shot should’ve been awarded. It was close though. Kiefer Sherwood did all he could to prevent the goal and did commit a penalty, but it should’ve just been a two-minute power play.

GRADES

FORWARDS: C-. Only two points from this entire corps: Josh Melnick’s goal for his tip-in and Gordie Green’s assist for an outlet pass that hit Belpedio in stride, as he crossed the blue line and blasted one home. Carson Meyer has to stop taking penalties – he had 12 more PIM in this one.

DEFENSEMEN: B. Belpedio fired the shots that resulted in both Miami goals. Hutton picked up an assist. Both were stellar defensively. This group was shaky in the first period but got better as the game progressed.

GOALTENDING: B+. Larkin faced a lot of quality chances as usual, and the only goals he allowed were on a penalty shot and a well-placed wrister from the high slot on a 6-on-5.

LINEUP CHANGES: There was only one: Casey Gilling was back in the lineup, sending Carter Johnson to the bench. It was the first game missed by Gilling all season.

Analysis: Fighting major sparked Miami win

OXFORD, Ohio – In team sports, sometimes an emotional spark is needed.

Miami, which was 0-9-2 vs. Minnesota-Duluth the past two-plus seasons, was losing again on Saturday when its galvanizing moment occurred.

The RedHawks scored the next three goals and eradicated their winless streak vs. the Bulldogs, holding on for a 3-2 win at Cady Arena.

A quick stage set: UMD is an excellent team that has a reputation for playing chippy hockey, playing on the edge, sometimes over the edge.

Remember that one of the first times these teams met in Oxford, Chris Joyaux squared off after the final whistle with three dozen skaters and a handful of goalies on the ice.

Miami defenseman Chaz Switzer (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

So on Saturday, Minnesota-Duluth took a late poke at Miami goalie Ryan Larkin after a puck was clearly frozen.

Chaz Switzer took exception and pushed another player behind the net, and the Bulldogs were not called.

Minutes later, UMD took a run at Larkin, and again it was Switzer coming to his goalie’s defense, using offender Avery Peterson as a human punching bag before officials intervened.

Switzer was given five minutes for fighting and a game disqualification penalty, which carries a one-game suspension. He left the ice to a standing ovation by fans that had little to cheer about to that point of the weekend.

And here’s where hockey and the attitudes of many its fans/players/coaches/etc., deviates from the majority of other team sports.

The hate mail may roll in from those in other sports’ camps and the college-hockey-is-pure-and-fighting-is-barbaric-crowd, and that’s OK. So here goes.

Not only is Switzer a stud for what he did, it’s the officials’ fault he’s going to be suspended.

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

Larkin is a RedHawks star. Anyone who knows anything about UMD hockey knows its players are old-school WCHA all the way. That means ultra-physical play, after-the-whistle confrontations and yes, the occasional fisticuffs.

If a dumb fan sitting at a word processor knows this, certainly NCHC officials do, right?

So when Larkin gets hit the first time, you assess a penalty. If you don’t really think it warrants a Miami power play, you penalize the violator and Switzer two minutes each.

That sends the message that we’re watching and goalie running will be punished.

You do that, the second incident and resulting fighting major/suspension almost certainly doesn’t happen.

Even if you blow that, there have been plenty of times when players in Switzer’s situation have just received a game misconduct than the DQ, which carries an automatic suspension.

The officials didn’t have Larkin’s back, so Switzer did.

Good for Switzer. If it wasn’t for players like Switzer, the NCAA would have 60 teams like Michigan who take out players’ knees and cross-check players in the head with relatively few repercussions.

Miami dressed seven defensemen for this game, so the team went in able to absorb the loss of a blueliner.

Switzer is a five or six defenseman who struggled at times last season and has stepped up his play significantly this fall. He had 294 penalty minutes in 121 games of juniors, so clearly he’s no stranger to extracurriculars.

Don’t want to put words in anyone’s mouth, but it’s very, very likely Switzer earned ample respect from his teammates. He certainly made a lot of fans in his home rink.

The on-ice results were obvious in the final two periods.

Coach Enrico Blasi wasn’t asked about the incident (seriously, the event that changed the game never made it into the presser forum?), and while he wisely did not address the incident he acknowledged the team struggled in the first period but played much better the final 40 minutes.

Through the years, RedHawks teams rarely cross the line (think that was the first fighting major since Alden Hirschfeld seven years ago?), but they typically are prepared to defend themselves when their opponents do.

UMD took a couple of late shots at Miami’s goalie in an attempt to intimidate its southern Ohio rival, and it backfired.

Other thoughts…

– Now onto far less controversial topics. Despite the split, Miami was the better team this weekend and certainly didn’t seem overmatched by a ranked Bulldogs team.

Friday’s loss aside, it was a good weekend for Miami, which didn’t win its fifth game in 2016-17 until New Year’s Eve.

– Carson Meyer broke out with goals in both ends of the series after scoring just one the first 10 games. Meyer heating up means good things for the Miami offense.

– Same goes for Ryan Siroky, who scored on his only shot of the night for his second marker in three games. He had two more big hits on the weekend and has become a very solid third liner that no one wants to play against.

– Karch Bachman picked up another assist and has already matched his point total of 2016-17 with an identical 2-4-6 line. He was the only forward to finish plus-2 in this game.

– Despite those forwards stepping up, MU is averaging 1.8 goals over its last five games. Up next is Bowling Green, which is 11th in the NCAA in goals allowed per game.

– UMD had 10 skaters take faceoffs. That might be an NCAA record. Only two had winning records, so perhaps the Bulldogs are auditioning their forwards? But still, 10 skaters?

GRADES

FORWARDS: B. With 11 forwards, there were a lot of different line combinations. Despite the odd number, the overall chemistry of this corps was good. Josh Melnick and Gordie Green put on a show with their goal, passing back and forth before Melnick buried a wrister for the eventual game winner. This group was solid defensively all weekend as well.

DEFENSEMEN: B. Believe it or not, 29 shots allowed is the fourth-highest opponent total of the season for Miami. As mentioned above, the forwards chipped in on D, and the D was strong on D, thus the ‘B’. Many of those 29 shots were right at Larkin, who swallowed them up for easy saves. Grant Frederic played just two of the first eight games but has dressed for three of the last four and has been pretty much mistake-free.

GOALTENDING: B. UMD’s first goal was a rapid-fire missile that Larkin had no chance on. Maybe Larkin could’ve gloved the Bulldogs’ second shot, but he stopped 27 shots and as usual allowed few second chances.

LINEUP CHANGES: With Frederic in as the seventh defenseman, F Christian Mohs was scratched. Zach LaValle sat for the second consecutive game, and Willie Knierim played in his third straight. Frederic should play at least the front end of the BGSU series with Switzer suspended.

Late again: Melnick goal delivers tie

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

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

Melnick

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Analysis: Finishing an issue in finale

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.

Other thoughts…

– 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.

GRADES

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.

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

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.

Analysis: End game going Miami’s way

OXFORD, Ohio – If Friday’s conference opener was any indication, this could be a fun NCHC season.

Miami led by one then trailed by one, scored the tying goal with 51 seconds left and the winner in overtime of a 3-2 victory over Colorado College at Cady Arena on Friday.

No one expects this to happen 100 percent of the time when games are close, but this is two games in a row in which the RedHawks faced adversity late and killed it.

Last Saturday, Connecticut had all the momentum heading into the third period and Miami came out with three quick goals to shut the door.

There have been a number of similar games the past few seasons in which the final outcome has gone the other way, and 6-on-5 has been RedHawk kryptonite.

MU entered this four-game homestand 1-3 and has won three much-needed contests in a row to pull a game over .500, and the RedHawks have a chance to sweep the four-game set and its first NCHC series of 2017-18.

The way Miami has played late in the past two games, things are definitely looking good heading into the RedHawks’ home finale.

Other thoughts…

– It was a well-played game by both teams, and as expected, CC is much better than in past seasons. Obviously the ending makes that easy to say, but the quality of play was high even in those first two fairly-uneventful periods, especially considering it’s still early November.

– Colorado College scored both of its goals on the power play. The interference on Rourke Russell was the right call, but Grant Hutton barely contacted a player with the puck and was whistled for tripping. The officiating was pretty inconsistent, and the Tigers received six power plays to Miami’s two.

Miami’s Ben Lown (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

– Ben Lown is currently the third member of the top line with Gordie Green and Josh Melnick, and he proved deserving of that role with the centering feed to Melnick for the overtime winner. Like several of the other freshmen, he seems to be gaining confidence with each game.

– Three RedHawks took at least eight faceoffs, and all had winning records. Melnick was 15-13, Casey Gilling finished 13-7 and Kiefer Sherwood won six of eight. Overall Miami was 39-29 on the night.

– Green and Melnick both have five-game points streaks. Green has all of his team-best 13 points in that span (4-9-13), and Melnick is 2-6-8. Louie Belpedio has three goals in his last two games, and Melnick has goals in consecutive games as well.

GRADES

FORWARDS: C+. Melnick and Gilling both found the net, but this corps combined for just 15 shots and four of its five minor penalties resulted in CC power plays. Ryan Siroky dished out a pair of huge hits, but Miami didn’t get much offensive production from its bottom three lines. Kiefer Sherwood and Carson Meyer combined for just one shot, and Karch Bachman had three – including some high-percentage attempts – as the third member of that line, but he appears somewhat snakebitten.

DEFENSEMEN: B+. Belpedio juked at the blue line and wired one home for one of the goals. Colorado College generated 30 shots but 11 were on the power play. Chaz Switzer stopped a 31st and a would-be goal when he blocked a shot at the top of the crease while goalie Ryan Larkin was scrambling to get back into position.

GOALTENDING: B. Twice Larkin sprawled across the goal mouth to stop A-plus chances, and he was 28 of 30 overall (.933). One of the shots slipped through in heavy traffic, and both were on the power play. Larkin had allowed 16 goals the first four games but has surrendered just three in his last three starts.

LINEUP CHANGES: None again. It’s the third straight game the same 18 skaters have dressed, and Larkin has been between the pipes for the start of all seven of Miami’s contests.

Another OT winner for Melnick

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

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

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

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

It was the third career overtime goal for Melnick.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Miami nets 5 late to blow out UConn

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

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

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

Defenseman Louie Belpedio (photo by Cathy Lachmann).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Analysis: Good job preserving lead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other thoughts…

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

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

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

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

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

GRADES

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

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

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

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

Miami shuts out Connecticut

OXFORD, Ohio – Arriving late for Miami’s inaugural game against Connecticut would have been ill-advised.

The RedHawks scored three goals in the first nine-plus minutes and Ryan Larkin stopped all 19 shots he faced in a 3-0 win over the Huskies at Cady Arena on Friday.

Miami’s Scott Dornbrock (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

At the 3:52 mark of the first period, Miami’s Scott Dornbrock wristed a shot from the blue line that Carson Meyer redirected from the slot and into the net.

Just 1:36 later, Dornbrock lit the lamp from near the same spot off a drop pass by Casey Gilling, extending the RedHawks’ lead to two.

With 10:53 left in the opening stanza, Gordie Green buried a shot from the slot on a one-timer, as Josh Melnick fed him a pass from along the boards through traffic.

That was it for the scoring despite both teams having four power plays.

Huskies goalie Adam Huska left the game late in the third period after going down awkwardly, appearing to suffer some type of lower-body injury. He was replaced by Tanner Creel, who stopped both shots he faced.

Green now has eight points on the season, taking solo control of first place on the team.

Dornbrock finished with a goal and an assists, his third career two-point game and his first with a 1-1-2 line.

It was Larkin’s second career shutout, with his other coming against Maine on Oct. 22.

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

5-goal Maine first dooms Miami

A four-goal second period was crucial in Miami’s win on Friday.

A day later, a five-tally opening frame was the RedHawks’ demise.

Maine scored the first five goals and held on for a 6-3 win over Miami in a penalty-laden series finale on Saturday.

The two-game set saw 19 goals scored 115 penalty minutes assessed. The RedHawks (1-3) won the opener, 7-5, earning a weekend split.

It took the Black Bears (2-2) just 1:01 to register a marker. Eduard Tralmaks took a long neutral-zone pass, crossed the blue line along the boards, skated around a Miami defender and tucked the puck inside the far side of the net.

Just 1:21 later on a 5-on-3, Patrick Holway scored on a blast from the slot that snuck inside the post on the stick side.

At the 8:07 mark of the first period, Tralmaks fired a pass across the high slot to Brady Keeper, who ripped one past Miami goalie Ryan Larkin from the top of the faceoff circle.

Less than three minutes later, Patrick Shea shoveled home a slap pass from the side of the net off a feed by Holway.

Exit Larkin, as the standout had stopped just 7 of 11 shots. Enter Grant Valentine, who made his RedHawks debut.

With 2:13 left in the first frame, Maine again capitalized on a two-man advantage. A shot from Mitchell Fossier snuck through Valentine’s pads.

Larkin was back in net for the final two periods.

Miami did get one back before the first 20 expired. Defenseman Grant Hutton threw a puck toward the net, and it hit a stick or skate and caromed to a wide-open Phil Knies, who deposited it in the net for his first collegiate goal with five seconds remaining.

Midway through the second period, Maine’s Emil Westerlund sent a pass from behind the Miami net to a wide-open Tim Doherty, who skated around Larkin and tapped it home to make it 6-1.

The RedHawks cut the deficit to four with 3:47 left in that stanza, as Louie Belpedio teed up Grant Hutton from the center of the faceoff circle, and his blast beat Black Bears goalie Jeremy Swayman on the glove side.

Miami’s Grant Hutton (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

Miami pulled its goalie in the final minutes, and Hutton connected again when he whipped a wrist shot into the far side of the net.

Hutton finished with two goals and an assist, giving the blueline four markers and a helper for the weekend.

Knies ended the game with a goal and an assist, and Gordie Green picked up a pair of assists, giving him a 2-5-7 line for the weekend.

The RedHawks were 3-for-5 on the power play and were 7 of 10 for the series.

There were a pair of skirmishes after the outcome was no longer in doubt. Green, Carson Meyer and Rourke Russell were all assessed roughing minors after a pushing-and-shoving incident in the second period.

Belpedio and Keeper were given game misconducts for a dust-up midway through the third period, as 89 combined penalty minutes were dished out.

Miami returns home to face Connecticut in a weekend series on Friday and Saturday.