OXFORD, Ohio – After more than 50 minutes of scoreless hockey, Miami struck for a pair of goals in 18 seconds.
That surge, capped off by an empty netter in the closing seconds, paced the No. 16 RedHawks’ 3-1 win over the University of Guelph in an exhibition game at Cady Arena on Sunday.
Ryan Siroky and Christian Mohs broke through midway through the third period to give Miami the lead, and after a late marker by Guelph, Derek Daschke was awarded a goal as he was hooked on a breakaway while the Gryphons had an extra attacker on the ice.
It was the first contest in 29 days for Miami, which opens the second half of its regular season schedule at Providence this weekend.
RECAP: In real time, there was no scoring in this game for about two and a half hours.
A pane of glass broke behind the Zamboni end goal midway through the first period, and the rink crew was unable to replace it, so the remainder of the period was played with some type of wood plugging the hole.
To give ample time to replace the glass, the first intermission was 30 minutes.
Not surprisingly, there was little flow to this game early.
Siroky finally snapped the tie at 10:22 of the third period when he crashed the net and banged home a rebound off a shot by Karch Bachman that handcuffed Gryphons goalie Andrew Masters.
Eighteen seconds later, Ben Lown fed Mohs with a cross-ice pass in the offensive zone, and Mohs zig-zagged to the net and backhanded one home to make it 2-0.
A rip from the high slot by Guelph’s Mark Raycroft snuck inside the near post with 3:21 left in regulation, but Daschke was badly hooked on a breakaway in the neutral zone and was awarded a goal with one second to play.
STATS: Ryan Larkin played the first 32 minutes in net for Miami and stopped all eight shots he faced. Reliever Jordan Uhelski was 8-for-9.
No RedHawk had multiple points.
Bachman led the team with five shots and Scott Corbett ended the night with four.
Miami outshot the Gryphons, 15-6 in the third period after leading in that department by a slim margin – 18-13 – the first 40 minutes.
THOUGHTS: It was a strange night at the rink.
Can’t ever say I’ve seen not-glass replace glass along the boards. Definitely have never seen a double intermission.
And the Guelph goalie storyline was unusual: Masters was a RedHawk for one season but did not see game action, so this was actually his first start at Cady Arena.
He was arguably the best player on the ice for either team, stopping 30 of 32 shots in a game he’ll likely never forget.
— Miami was flat in the first period, had a strong stretch early in the second period and really took it to Guelph in the third.
Overall, the RedHawks looked like a team that had not played in 29 days dealing with major play interruptions. Because they were.
So what to take from this one?
— Phil Knies returned after missing six games with an upper body injury, and he was solid.
Knies has 12 goals in a season and a half and can kill penalties, so his presence in the lineup gives Miami a major upgrade up front.
— Larkin also missed most of the St. Cloud State weekend after absorbing hard contact in his own crease, but he was sharp in a period and a half.
— Miami dressed 22 of its 24 skaters, and the only two off the lineup sheet were Bray Crowder and Jonathan Gruden. It doesn’t sound like there is cause for concern over either being scratched.
— We documented the RedHawks’ slow start in this one – and having four extra skaters splitting up ice time, new line combinations, etc., also played a role – Miami has not exactly torn it up in the first period recently.
A higher-skilled opponent would’ve buried a couple of its chances in the first period of this one and put the RedHawks in a hole.
LINEUP CHANGES: Chaz Switzer, Grant Frederic and Noah Jordan have seen the least ice time this season among Miami skaters and all dressed.
Neither Crowder nor Gruden have missed a regular season game this season.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Not much to see here other than some weird stuff with the ice and Knies and Larkin back on the ice and looking good.
Miami’s welcome to the second half of the season is a road series at No. 10 Providence, a team that will punish the RedHawks if they haven’t fully shaken off the holiday rust.
Miami plays its first game in 29 days on Sunday, an exhibition against Guelph of the CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport), which is Canada’s equivalent of the NCAA.
This contest comes at a good time for the RedHawks, who can shake off any holiday rust before heading to top-10 Providence followed by eight straight series vs. NCHC foes.
The Gryphons have won three of their last four and have added some mid-season talent, including a skater who was with the Cincinnati Cyclones early this campaign.
BoB takes a look at the upcoming game between these teams:
WHO: University of Guelph (Ont.) (6-10) at Miami RedHawks (9-6-3).
WHERE: Cady Arena (3,642), Oxford, Ohio.
WHEN: Sunday – 4 p.m.
NOTES: The Gryphons are 0-3 vs. NCAA competition this season, losing to Colgate, Cornell and Clarkson.
Cody Thompson leads Guelph in scoring with seven goals and six assists. Fifth-year Gryphon Scott Simmonds and fellow small forward Todd Winder have 12 points each.
Marc Stevens is also a significant offensive contributor for Guelph, going 5-5-10.
The Gryphons have been without one of their top scorers, Connor Bramwell, since Oct. 26. He has nine points in six games.
Guelph does not get much production from its defense, as Zach McFadden and Jesse Saban are tied for the team lead in blueliner points with five apiece.
Evan Cormier, who began this season with AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, is the Gryphons’ primary goalie, logging 740 minutes and posting a .926 save percentage and 2.27 goals-against average.
Guelph’s backup is Andrew Masters, who was on Miami’s roster during the 2016-17 season but did not see game action.
The Gryphons did add three players during the holiday break, including former Cincinnati Cyclone Justin Lemcke. The captain of OHL Hamilton last season, the 6-feet-2 defenseman went 0-1-1 in three games with the ECHL team earlier this season.
Along with Lemcke, ex-OHL veteran Ryan Valentini is expected to make his Guelph debut on Sunday. He spent the past two-plus seasons with Sudbury, where he racked up 74 points.