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Miami draws again vs. No. 1 St. Cloud

OXFORD, Ohio – It happened again.

Like Friday, every time No. 1 St. Cloud scored, Miami answered, resulting in a 2-2 tie in the series finale at Cady Arena on Saturday.

And this time, the RedHawks (9-6-3) picked up the extra conference point, as Josh Melnick batted home a one-timer in the 3-on-3.

Both teams were assessed a major and game misconduct courtesy of review, and each netted a goal because of the call.

On Friday, the teams tied, 4-4, with SCSU (11-1-2) earning the extra point in the shootout.

Miami, which has completed exactly half of its 36-game schedule, does not play again until a home exhibition vs. Guelph (Ont.) on Dec. 30. The RedHawks head to Providence on Jan. 3-4 for their next regular season action.

RECAP: Just 22 seconds into a major power play, St. Cloud’s Blake Lizotte beat goalie Jordan Uhelski in the slot with 5:10 left in the first period after a pass from teammate Easton Brodzinski caromed to him off a Miami skate.

The RedHawks tied it when a point-blank shot by Ryan Siroky pinballed through the crease to MU’s Casey Gilling, who chopped it across the goal line 5:46 into the middle stanza.

Just 22 seconds into the third period a puck floated loose at the side of the net following a wrister from the blue line, and Easton Brodzniak backhanded it home to put the Huskies ahead, 2-1.

Miami capped the scoring with exactly nine minutes left in regulation, as Scott Corbett tapped home a puck at the side of the net off a shot from the outside of the faceoff circle by Melnick.

After five minutes of overtime, the game was officially ruled a tie, and Melnick wired home a one-timer on the ensuing 3-on-3 to earn the RedHawks the extra point.

STATS: Rourke Russell led Miami with two points on a pair of assists. It was Russell’s second career multi-point game, with the other coming vs. Denver on March 2.

— Gilling and Corbett both scored for the second straight game. Gilling has four markers in his last seven.

— Miami flipped its woeful faceoff numbers from Friday, going 36-25 on draws led by a 17-11 record by Josh Melnick.

— Melnick’s assist was career point No. 99. He is one point away from becoming the 52nd skater in Miami history to record 100 points.

THOUGHTS: Basically copy and paste yesterday’s comments and multiply by two.

Miami has a crushingly long break coming up, so tying the top-ranked team in college hockey twice has to give the team serious momentum heading into Christmas break.

It was another amazing game to watch and another testament to the RedHawks’ resilience.

So for the weekend, St. Cloud scored six times, took six leads, and Miami answered each time.

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

Again, against the No. 1 team in college hockey.

— Ben Lown was absolutely everywhere in this game. He did it all – penalty kill, stick handling, passing, winning boards battles despite his diminutive size.

— So River Rymsha was assessed a cross checking major after a skirmish, and St. Cloud scored. Same happened when Jonathan Gruden was buried and a minor was flipped to a 5-and-10, resulting in Gilling’s goal.

This is the new norm for college hockey, so players need to remain on alert. Everything is reviewable, so don’t do anything your mother would disapprove of.

Don’t agree with giving players the boot for fringe majors but the bar has been set so players best keep their cool.

— Attendance was 2,615. Yep, for the top team in D-1. Come on, we can do better. Get to the rink for these all-important contests or give your tickets to someone close by who can make the games.

— Karch Bachman continued to generate scoring chances as a result of his speed. Several times this weekend Miami launched fly pattern passes to see if he can chase the puck down.

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

His power play passing was markedly improved in this one, as he occupied one of the points and tried to feed passes into the slot.

— Corbett had a strong weekend, scoring in both games and nearly adding another on a breakaway. His game is more physical, but his offense is welcome as he plays on the top line.

GRADES

FORWARDS: B-. Not quite the offensive results from Friday but the effort was still there. Loved the effort from Lown, and Brian Hawkinson seemed to gravitate toward the puck as he generated three shots and blocked two.

Miami’s Jordan Uhelski (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

DEFENSEMEN: B+. Helped cut the SCSU shots down to 30. Have we mentioned St. Cloud entered the weekend the top-ranked team in Division I?

GOALTENDING: A-. Uhelski was 22-for-23 the final 45 minutes and was a major reason Miami was able to earn a pair of ties this weekend.

LINEUP CHANGES: All 19 skaters from Friday were in the lineup again on Saturday.

Larkin was the lone change for the RedHawks, who started Uhelski in net.

FINAL THOUGHTS: This fall it has been more fun to come to the rink than it has been since 2014-15.

Players are holding their own against top-level competition, and this team is bonding better off the ice than in previous seasons.

It’s been an enjoyable first two months, and hopefully the RedHawks’ vigor will continue following an extended break.

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Preview: St. Cloud State at Miami

The last time Miami faced St. Cloud State was the first round of the NCHC Tournament, and despite being outmanned and playing on the road, the RedHawks not only took the Huskies to Game 3 but forced overtime.

MU finished 1-4 vs. SCSU last season and the Huskies enter this weekend riding a six-game winning streak and No. 1 ranking.

BoB takes a look at the upcoming series between these teams:

WHO: No. 1 St. Cloud State Huskies (11-1) at Miami RedHawks (9-6-1).

WHERE: Cady Arena (3,642), Oxford, Ohio.

WHEN: Friday – 7:35 p.m.; Saturday – 7:05 p.m.

ALL-TIME SERIES: Miami leads, 17-16-2.

LAST SEASON: St. Cloud went 4-1. SCSU swept its two-game series in Oxford and won 2 of 3 in a home opening-round NCHC series.

MIAMI RADIO: Both nights – WKBV-AM (1490), Richmond, Ind.

ST. CLOUD STATE RADIO: Both nights – KZRV-FM (96.7).

NOTES: St. Cloud State enters this weekend as the lone unbeaten team in conference play (4-0) as well as the NCHC leader in goals, goals allowed and winning percentage.

The Huskies average 4.25 goals, second-best in the NCAA, and they are tied for second in goals against average at 1.83.

Senior Patrick Newell leads the team in goals (8) and points (15) as he hones in on triple digits for his career.

Three Huskies are tied for second in points with 13, including Montreal draftee Ryan Poehling (3-10-13). Ryan Jackson has an identical line, and Robby Jackson is 5-8-13.

A pair of standout defensemen, Jack Ahcan and Jimmy Schuldt, have 12 points each, and Blake Lizotte has 11.

In net, Los Angeles draft pick Dave Hrenak has played eight games, going 7-0 with a 2.13 goals-against average despite a pedestrian .907 save percentage.

Jeff Smith has excelled in relief, posting a 1.26 GAA and .948 save percentage.

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

Miami has been limited to 12 goals in its last six games, with Josh Melnick and Karch Bachman accounting for three each.

Ryan Larkin is the favorite to start both games between the pipes for the RedHawks.

UNH scores in final minute to tie Miami

New Hampshire lived up to its MO, and Miami seems to be adopting it as well.

The Wildcats played in their sixth overtime game of the season and the No. 19 RedHawks – who had seen all of their first 13 games decided in regulation – went to an extra session for the second consecutive contest in a 3-3 tie at Whittemore Center on Friday.

Earning a tie for the fifth time in 11 games this season, New Hampshire (1-5-5) salvaged the draw thanks to a 6-on-5 backhander by Liam Blackburn off a feed by Eric Esposito with 33 seconds left in regulation.

Nine different players recorded points for Miami. The series finale is at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

RECAP: The first three goals of the game were scored in a 4:23 window.

New Hampshire took the lead at the eight-minute mark when Matt Dawson tipped in a bad-angle shot.

Just 71 seconds later, the RedHawks (9-5-1) tied it on a goal by Josh Melnick, who belted home a rebound which caromed off the end boards off a blast by River Rymsha.

Miami’s Karch Bachman (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

The Wildcats regained the lead on the power play with 7:37 left to play in the opening stanza as Angus Crookshank cashed in on a rebound chance off a shot by Patrick Grasso.

Miami had a would-be tying goal waved off as it was ruled that Karch Bachman interfered with the goalie as Casey Gilling connected.

But Bachman tied it at two when he wired one from the inside of the faceoff circle over the shoulder of UNH goalie Ty Taylor 2:34 into the third period.

Ninety-four seconds later, Ben Lown deposited home a loose puck in the slot off a shot by Brian Hawkinson that was blocked as Miami took its first and only lead of the night.

But Blackburn’s pitch-fork backhander evened the score, and despite three shots by each team in overtime, the game ended in a tie.

STATS: Nine players picked up points for Miami, the maximum possible with a three-goal output.

Bachman has scored three goals in four games and leads the team with six overall. Melnick has picked up 12 points in his last nine contests.

— The RedHawks were outshot for the sixth straight game and have seen opponents pile up 62 more SOG in that span or nearly nine per game.

THOUGHTS: It’s always tough to see a win slip away in the final minute and that has happened to Miami far too often in recent years.

It makes it worse considering the RedHawks had rallied from one down to take the lead earlier in the third period.

In MU’s defense, this is the first time this season the team has seen a win slip away due to a late opponent’s goal, and the RedHawks won in overtime last weekend and pulled out a 2-1 win over UMass-Lowell late after trailing 1-0 heading into the final 20 minutes.

— Overall, UNH had the better chances and finished with a 37-28 edge in shots on goal. This is the RedHawks’ eighth straight weekend of games, including four road trips and a flight to Colorado Springs last week.

One starts to wonder if Miami needs a weekend off. It gets several after St. Cloud visits Oxford next Friday and Saturday.

— Carter Johnson seems to be working his way back to his late 2017-18 form. The RedHawks can use all of the offensive weapons they can get.

— Amazing how much better Melnick is on the power play this season. He was 14-6 (.700) in the circle in this game.

Had never watched a game on YouTube before, but the picture was surprisingly clear. There was only one announcer who is clearly still learning his craft, and the replays were limited but another medium for college hockey games should be welcomed.

LINEUP CHANGES: Miami seems to like using seven defensemen, as Andrew Sinard dressed for the fourth straight game as the extra skater.

With Larkin a staple in net, the only changes the RedHawks have been making have been up front. Johnson was back after missing three games, and Zach LaValle was also back on the ice.

Noah Jordan and Christian Mohs, both of whom dressed last Saturday, were scratched.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Considering that scoring depth is not Miami’s strong suit this season, the RedHawks have not been afraid to play up-tempo, which has made for exciting games.

These teams both had a lot of high-quality chances and Ryan Larkin is better than most at keeping those out of the net.

The tie was not the desired outcome considering Miami had battled back to take the lead in the third period, but a Saturday win would give the RedHawks a 1-0-1 weekend and 10-5-1 mark heading into their final first-half series.

MU would have to be consider five games over .500 a successful first two months.

Preview: Miami at New Hampshire

These teams have not met since New Hampshire knocked Miami out of the 2011 NCAA Tournament and have only faced each other 12 times in their history.

The RedHawks’ first-ever NCAA Tournament win came against the Wildcats in 2007.

MU has logged four previous games in Durham, and after losing the first two came away with a win and a tie their last trip here in 2010-11, coincidentally the same season the RedHawks lost to UNH in the regional semifinal.

BoB takes a look at the upcoming series between these teams:

WHO: No. 19 Miami RedHawks (9-5) at New Hampshire Wildcats (1-6-3).

WHERE: Whittemore Center (6,501), Durham, N.H.

WHEN: Friday and Saturday – 7 p.m.

ALL-TIME SERIES: New Hampshire leads, 6-5-1.

LAST MEETING: New Hampshire won, 3-1 in a first-round 2011 NCAA Tournament game.

MIAMI RADIO: Both nights – WKBV-AM (1490), Richmond, Ind.

NEW HAMPSHIRE RADIO: WGIR-AM (610), Binghamton, N.H.; WQSO-FM (96.7), Portsmouth, N.H.; WPKX-AM (930), Rochester, N.H.

NOTES: New Hampshire’s record may look dismal but this team has been competitive in nine of its 10 games.

Four have gone to overtime with two of those being decided in an extra session – including the Wildcats’ long win – and another four were decided by one goal in regulation.

Scoring has been UNH’s main issue. The team has found the net just 20 times or 2.00 per game and the Wildcats’ team shooting percentage is 7.7.

New Hampshire has yet to record more than three goals in a game this season.

Odd stat: The top two points producers on the Wildcats have just one goal each.

Forward Charlie Kelleher and defenseman and Florida Panthers’ draftee Max Gildon has twin 1-9-10 lines.

Jackson Pearce has four goals and four assists, and Ara Nazarian leads the team in markers with five despite missing two games. Nazarian has scored in four straight contests.

Marcus Vela (3-2-5), a San Jose draftee, is the only other UNH skater with at least five points.

The Wildcats’ other NHL draft picks are F Angus Crookshank, F Benton Maass (Washington) and goalies Mike Robinson (San Jose) and Ty Taylor (Tampa Bay).

Robinson is the favorite to start both games, since he leads the team in goals-against average (2.62) and save percentage (.911). He has played in eight of UNH’s 10 contests.

Ryan Larkin (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

For the RedHawks, Casey Gilling enters this weekend with five points in his last three games, including a pair of goals. Josh Melnick has 11 in eight.

Ryan Larkin has been in net for nine straight MU contests.

Miami has played just four road games this season and are 2-2 with weekend splits vs. Nebraska-Omaha and Colorado College.

This is the second-last non-conference series for the RedHawks, who will travel to Providence in January.

According the UNH’s site, these games will be televised on YouTube. Showing technological naivety here but didn’t realize that was a thing.

Preview: Miami at Colorado College

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.

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

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.

Major costly as UNO rallies past Miami

A major penalty was a key reason Miami’s four-game winning streak ended on Saturday.

The No. 20 RedHawks led by two goals early but lost, 6-3 to Nebraska-Omaha in the series finale at Baxter Arena, partly due to three power play goals scored during a Mavericks five-minute man advantage.

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

Miami went up, 2-0 in the first period but allowed a Mavericks goal with 61 seconds left in the opening frame.

RedHawks captain Josh Melnick was given a major and game misconduct for spearing midway through the second period and UNO scored three times on the ensuing power play to give the team a lead which it would not relinquish.

It was the first win of the season for the Mavericks and the most goals against for the RedHawks in 2018-19.

RECAP: Miami (7-3) took the lead on a 5-on-3 when Melnick slid a lateral pass across the top of the faceoff circles, and Grant Hutton one-timed a rip past goalie Evan Weninger.

With one UNO (1-6-1) skater back, Hutton had a shot blocked, but the puck trickled to Phil Knies in the right faceoff circle, and he whipped one just under the crossbar to make it 2-0 a minute later.

But Taylor Ward batted home a bad-angle shot off a rebound from a point-blank Mason Morelli chance with 61 seconds left in the opening frame.

Melnick’s penalty put Miami down two men, and UNO’s Fredrik Olofsson roofed one from the right faceoff dot to tie it.

Kevin Conley scored from nearly the same spot on a partly-deflected pass 96 seconds later, giving the Mavericks their first lead of the weekend, 3-2.

Another 1:57 passed before Chayse Primeau one-timed a backdoor pass from Conley at the side of the cage, giving UNO a two-goal lead.

Miami cut its deficit to one when Gordie Green knocked home a long rebound from the inside edge of the faceoff circle less than two minutes into the final stanza.

But UNO’s Tristan Keck extended his team’s lead to two late in the third period, and Morelli netted his second of the night when he poked home a centering feed from behind the net.

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

STATS: Green scored for the fourth straight game and extended his points streak to five games.

He has five goals and five assists during his hot streak.

— Melnick has a four-game points streak (2-6-8), and Hutton and Jonathan Gruden both picked up points for the third straight contest.

— After a slow start on the power play, Miami has scored on the man advantage five straight games, going 6-for-19 in that span.

THOUGHTS: The elephant on the ice in this game is the Melnick penalty. The ensuing power play was obviously critical.

There was no replay on the UNO feed on NCHC.tv, so here’s what I think after going reviewing that segment of the game on the site:

— It appears Melnick rammed his stick between the legs of an UNO skater after the two battled for the puck along the boards for an extended time.

— The case could be made that said skater interfered with Melnick as he attempted to vacate the area.

— The NCAA is tightening up in certain areas, and while I’ve certainly witnessed way worse hits in recent years that have not been called, college hockey is now replaying nefarious incidents and is obviously not afraid to dish out majors.

— All that said, a minor was certainly warranted. Considering what we’ve seen called majors the first four weekends, it’s not out of line that Melnick received a major.

The upgrade was extremely costly to Miami, as the Mavericks scored twice in the final three power play minutes that wouldn’t have happened had the call been a minor. Those three goals flipped a 2-1 Miami lead to a 4-2 UNO advantage.

— The Mavericks had already tilted the ice in their direction heading into their scoring barrage, having trimmed the RedHawks’ lead to one after Miami jumped out to a 2-0 lead, and the penalty provided UNO the fuel to seize control of the game.

Miami’s Andrew Sinard (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

LINEUP CHANGES: Forwards Zach LaValle and Carter Johnson did not dress.

Christian Mohs and defenseman Andrew Sinard did, giving Miami seven defensemen.

FINAL THOUGHTS: This is the first disappointing loss of the season, not because UNO was winless but because Miami had the lead and let it get away.

To be fair, Nebraska-Omaha is definitely better than the 0-6-1 record it sported entering this contest, but good teams rarely lose when they take two-goal leads.

The series ends in a split and Miami finishes its first 10 games with a 7-3 record, and not to put words in anyone’s mouth but I’m guessing under the off-season circumstances the coaching staff is happy with a .700 winning percentage through the first weekend in November.

But the schedule gets a lot tougher the rest of the way, and the RedHawks can ill afford to have discipline lapses turn would-be wins into losses.

Miami wins first road game at UNO

Miami’s ninth game of the season was its first true road contest, but the No. 20 RedHawks kept up their MO of winning by wide margins.

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

Gordie Green found the net twice as MU scored the final three goals in a 4-1 win vs. Nebraska-Omaha at Baxter Arena on Friday, extending its winning streak to four games.

This was also the NCHC opener for the RedHawks (7-2), who played six of their first eight games this season in Oxford and the other two in Erie, Pa., in the Ice Breaker Tournament.

During their recent hot spell, the RedHawks have surrendered just three goals and none in the third period.

Forward Jonathan Gruden (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

Miami goalie Ryan Larkin won his fifth straight game, stopping 19 of 20.

RECAP: Jonathan Gruden scored his first career goal when he skated behind the UNO net and shot it off the back of goalie Evan Weninger on the power play just 79 seconds into the game.

The Mavericks (0-6-1) tied it with a Taylor Ward goal on a tic-tac-toe passing play as he swept in a pass from the top of the crease with 2:53 remaining in the first period. That tally was also scored on the man advantage

Miami regained the lead 66 seconds later on a blue line blast by Grant Hutton that was deflected in by Brian Hawkinson for his first career goal.

With 5:27 left in the middle stanza, Gordie Green jarred the puck from an UNO defender in the Miami zone, and Scott Corbett seized it and fired a shot off the crossbar. The puck skipped through the top of the crease and Green batted it out of the air as it dribbled into the back of the cage.

Green picked up his second marker of the night with an emphatic rip into the empty net from the outside edge of the faceoff circle with 22 seconds to play after controlling a Josh Melnick two-line outlet pass.

STATS: The Green-Melnick combo on Miami’s top line continues to dominate, as Green extended his multi-point game streak to four and Melnick picked up multiple points for the third consecutive contest.

Miami’s Brian Hawkinson (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

Green has scored in three straight games and is 4-5-9 during his points streak. Melnick has scored twice and earned five assists in his last three.

— Hawkinson also has points in three straight, including his first career goal in this one.

— Larkin has allowed just three goals during his five-game win streak and has stopped 123 of 126 shots in that span (.976).

— This was the fourth straight game in which Miami did not allow a third-period goal, and the RedHawks have given up just three in nine contests this season.

In 2017-18 they surrendered 46 tallies in 37 games after the second intermission, including a pair in overtime.

THOUGHTS: Miami, once again, played a full 60 minutes against a team they were supposed to beat, and the RedHawks won for the seventh time, with six of those wins coming by three or more goals.

In other words, they’re beating teams they should beat and doing so in decisive fashion.

This was both the first true road game and the inaugural league contest for Miami, which passed both tests with high grades.

And UNO may be winless but it is not a bad team, or at least the Mavericks didn’t play that poorly. Their shot total of 20 is somewhat deceiving because they generated a lot of chances.

A road win in this league, regardless of the opponent’s status, is a major accomplishment, and in this game Miami pulled out the victory on hostile ice and looked good doing so.

— Great job answering the tying UNO goal late in the first period goal by regaining the lead before intermission. That was the Hawkinson deflection on the Hutton blast and eventual game winner.

Miami’s Derek Daschke (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

— Can’t say enough about how well Green is playing. He has nine points in four games and his defense is as good as his offense. He made his first goal happen with his forechecking, as he knocked the puck loose and scored on the rebound from Corbett’s ensuing shot.

— I’d been to all of the first eight games and this was the first one I’d seen on TV, but Derek Daschke looked even better on the tube than live. Twice a last-second desperation play prevented a slam-dunk goal, and he picked up two assists, giving him five points in his last four.

Daschke was probably even more amped to play against the school he was formerly committed to. Mentioned this last weekend but he continues to better every game.

— Prior to this game, only four Miami forwards had played every game but had not scored, and Hawkinson and Gruden both took their names off that list.

Gruden had been snakebitten, as the Ottawa Senators’ fourth rounder was expected to contribute right away.

Yet Hawkinson played three full USHL seasons – 164 games – and only scored 10 times with just 16 assists. Despite his lack of scoring in juniors Hawkinson has a 1-5-6 line in nine games with Miami.

Gruden has tons of raw talent and it should be fun to watch him develop, and Hawkinson has taken complete advantage of his opportunity in Miami’s lineup and has already become a regular on the penalty kill.

— Karch Bachman hit a post early and then a crossbar-and-post later in the game. He had three goals in the first four games this season and continues to get better in other aspects.

He is scoreless in five straight but has been pretty unlucky recently and it feels like he’s going to break out again soon.

— This game was broadcast nationally on one of the regional Fox Sports Channels, and UNO announcers Dave Ahlers and David Brisson did a fabulous job.

Both are very fair in their announcing – regularly complimenting Miami players for their play – and extremely knowledgeable.

Ahlers is a former AHL announcer and Brisson played briefly in the pros after graduating from UNO.

GRADES

FORWARDS: A-. A well-played game by this entire corps, up and down the lines. Green was the standout with Melnick not far behind. Gruden still makes too many high-risk passes but hopefully this goal will vault his game another level.

Rourke Russell (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

DEFENSEMEN: B+. Especially liked Daschke’s play although he did turn one over for a near-goal. Rourke Russell also stood out, and watching from a higher vantagepoint it was easier to appreciate his geometrical smarts in his usage of the boards on defensive-zone passes.

GOALTENDING: A. The goal against was on a magnificent passing play that was basically a 2-on-oh at the top of the crease. Larkin is a key reason for Miami’s hot start and his rebound control is as good as it’s ever been since he came to Oxford.

LINEUP CHANGES: Only one: Up front, Carter Johnson was back in the lineup after sitting last Saturday. He has now played three straight series openers but has sat in consecutive finales.

He replaced Andrew Sinard, who was the seventh defenseman in Game 2 vs. Colgate last weekend.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Winless or not, UNO played pretty well and Miami was better.

The Mavericks hurt themselves with undisciplined penalties early and the RedHawks took advantage with a power play goal.

Omaha is obviously in a down year but this was still a quality win for Miami.

Miami shuts out, sweeps Colgate

OXFORD, Ohio – Ryan Larkin had one shutout in his freshman season and one more as a sophomore.

Ryan Larkin (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

Six starts into 2018-19, the Miami junior has already blanked more opponents than in his first two years combined.

On Saturday, he recorded his third clean sheet of 2018-19, a 30-save effort in a 6-0 win over Colgate at Cady Arena that wrapped up a weekend sweep for the RedHawks.

It was the fourth straight win for Miami in the all-time series, as the RedHawks have outscored the Raiders, 18-2 during their winning streak vs. CU and 40-17 overall.

MU wrapped up its four-game homestand with three consecutive victories and is 5-1 on its home ice this season.

RECAP: Just 2:48 into the first period, Josh Melnick backhanded a pass to Gordie Green at the blue line, and Grant Hutton received a drop pass from Green, skated into the high slot and wired one home on the stick side on a 4-on-4.

It remained 1-0 until the 7:49 mark of the middle frame, when Green fed a pass to Melnick from the point to the side of the cage, where Melnick rammed in a bad-angle one-timer on the power play.

With 3:14 left in that period, a shot from the top of the right faceoff circle by Alec Mahalak handcuffed goalie Andrew Farrier, and Scott Corbett was there to knock in the rebound on the opposite side for his first career goal, making it 3-0.

Melnick and Green connected again, as Melnick threaded a pass through two defenders from the inside edge of the faceoff circle to a wide-open Green, who fired it into the vacant half of the net with five seconds left in a second period that saw MU score three times.

Midway through the final stanza, Casey Gilling fed a one-time pass to River Rymsha, who was crossing the blue line, and Rymsha found the top corner of the net as he stepped into a slap shot.

Hutton wrapped up the scoring as he eluded three defenders while carrying the puck from the blue line to the slot before backhanding one in to the stick side with 5:03 left in regulation.

STATS: Larkin leads all of Division I in shutouts with three. His save percentage of .966 is second in the NCAA and he is third in goals-against average (0.83).

His five career clean slates moves Larkin into a tie with Dan Kodatsky for seventh all-time on the Miami leaderboard.

Green finished with a goal and three assists for four points, the second-highest total of his career only to his five-point effort vs. Maine on Oct. 20, 2017.

It was his second three-assist game as a RedHawk.

Hutton ended the night with two goals and a helper, becoming the first skater to score twice or more in a game this season. It was his fifth career multi-goal game and the fourth time he has picked up three points.

Melnick also notched three points – the third time he has done so in a Miami sweater – on a goal and two assists.

Green has seven points in his last three games including six this weekend and Melnick picked up five points this series.

It was the third career multi-point game for Mahalak, who tallied two assists and wrapped up the series with three points.

Miami scored in all six periods this weekend and has goals in seven consecutive frames overall.

THOUGHTS: Miami played with maximum effort from the opening faceoff to the final horn, as the RedHawks were still bombarding the offensive zone in the closing minutes trying to add another score.

Too many times for too many years Miami has had trouble closing out wins, but at least for the first month of this season, the RedHawks have wielded a killer instinct late in games.

Colgate didn’t play poorly on Friday but fell behind early in this one and sort of threw in the proverbial towel the final 20-25 minutes on Saturday, and rather than sit back and play not to lose, Miami absolutely took it to the Raiders in the sixth period of the weekend, punishing them physically and on the scoreboard.

At this point, the RedHawks are better than Colgate. They aren’t 6-0 better though, but both teams got the outcomes they deserved: Miami didn’t let up the entire game and the Raiders did.

And good teams take advantage when that happens. That’s the difference between the first eight games of 2018-19 and their 110 contests the previous three seasons.

And that’s what makes this such a big win heading into NCHC play.

— Corbett returned to the Green-Melnick line and all three ended up finding the net. They combined for eight points (Green 1-3-4, Melnick 1-2-3, Corbett 1-0-1).

We heaped praise on this line for its play on Friday but it was even better in this game at both ends.

— This is as locked in as Larkin has been since coming to Oxford. In his last four starts he is 4-0 with a .981 save percentage, stopping 104 of 106 shots.

He’s second in the NCAA in save percentage at .966 only to a Lake Superior goalie whose last name is Mitens (how do you compete with that)?

And that’s been a big difference in Miami’s start: It’s virtually impossible to have a successful season when your team save percentage is .883 and your starter finishes at .886, which was the case in 2017-18.

Quality goaltending can help a decent team become a great one, and while there’s no way Larkin maintains his current save rate, he has the ability to steal wins for the RedHawks.

GRADES

FORWARDS: A. The passing by this corps was so much crisper than in any other game this season. Yeah, Green and Melnick were studs, but their supporting cast was strong as well. Karch Bachman continues to generate chances with his speed. Gilling keeps winning key draws and impressing with his defense, plus he set up Rymsha’s goal. Sophs Ben Lown and Phil Knies continue to play above their size. Zach LaValle is earning playing time by stepping up. Corbett scored his first career goal and plays a high-energy, physical style. Etc., etc.

DEFENSEMEN: A. Hutton, Mahalak and Rymsha were the standouts among this group. This was Hutton’s best game at both ends, and probably the same could be said for Mahalak, who picked up two assists and earned some power play time. Rymsha’s goal was an absolute blast with pinpoint accuracy.

GOALTENDING: A+. About as perfect of a game as a goalie could play. He turned 30 shots aside and faced some Grade-A chances. He seemed more comfortable going side to side this weekend and gave up almost zero second chances.

LINEUP CHANGES: Corbett replaced Johnson, both on the first line and in the lineup, as Johnson was a scratch.

Defenseman Andrew Sinard dressed for the second time this season as Christian Mohs sat out.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Percentagewise, this equals Miami’s best start through eight games since 2010-11.

The locker room is much more unified than in recent seasons.

Goaltending has been phenomenal. Defense has been solid. The RedHawks are starting to score goals.

Even those in the stands are having a lot more fun, and hopefully more will show up as we enter the cold-weather months and super-skilled league opponents come to town.

Miami has a lot going for it, but the RedHawks also haven’t played a true road game yet, suiting up for six at home and two on neutral ice. They also haven’t started league play.

MU will tackle both of those obstacles next week in its NCHC-opening series at Omaha.

Maybe Miami, picked to finish last in the conference, ends up being the biggest surprise in the NCAA. Maybe the RedHawks do struggle in league play as was predicted.

But if they keep up the kind of effort they put forth this weekend, the dividends will eventually come for this program.

At least by playing the game the right way the foundation is now being laid for future success.

Larkin stays hot as Miami tops Colgate

OXFORD, Ohio – Ryan Larkin extended his personal winning streak to three games for the third time in his career, and he stopped 12 shots in the third period – including several high-percentage chances – to preserve the win.

He finished with 28 saves as Miami beat Colgate, 4-1 at Cady Arena on Friday. In his last three outings, Larkin has turned aside 74 of 76 shots or 97.4 percent.

The RedHawks (5-2) improved to three games over the .500 mark for the first time since the end of the 2015 season.

Miami scored twice before the Raiders generated their first marker, and the RedHawks closed the win out with two more unanswered goals.

MU has won three straight meetings vs. Colgate (2-2) – all at Cady Arena – outscoring the Raiders, 12-2 in that span.

RECAP: Fourteen minutes into the first period, Derek Daschke centered a pass to Gordie Green, who juked before whipping a shot home on the forehand from the slot to open the scoring for the RedHawks.

Miami extended its lead to two when Phil Knies snuck home a short-side wrist shot from the left wing 96 seconds into the middle stanza.

Colgate’s Josh McKechney netted his first goal of the season with 7:35 left in the second period with one second left on a Raiders power play, cutting their deficit to one.

But Miami reestablished a two-goal lead six minutes later when Alec Mahalak sprung Josh Melnick loose up the middle, and Melnick eluded two defenders, penetrated the zone and ripped one over Mitch Benson’s blocker from the high slot.

Zach LaValle capped off the scoring for the RedHawks, as he corralled a puck on the left faceoff dot, maneuvered it to the sweet spot and wired one top shelf just inside the near crossbar with 6:19 left in regulation.

STATS: Green and Melnick finished with a goal and an assist each. It was the second tally of the season for both.

Knies’ goal was also No. 2 of this campaign, and it was the first for LaValle, his first since March 10, 2017.

Daschke picked up a career-high two helpers. He and River Rymsha ended the night a team-best plus-2.

THOUGHTS: Miami actually started the night a little soft on defense, allowing multiple quality chances early, but overall the team played well all night.

The final score is a tribute to the RedHawks’ effort and execution, as Colgate was better than 4-1 indicates.

Fortunately for Miami, Larkin was on form from the opening whistle, as he had to turn aside five shots in the first few minutes.

Even when Colgate pulled to within one, it never felt like the game was in doubt, and Melnick’s pure-effort goal made it 3-1 and really seemed to deflate the Raiders.

— This was Green’s best game of the early season, and he and Melnick showed off their chemistry in this one.

And they did so with Carter Johnson as their third, as he moved onto that line with Scott Corbett scratched.

Miami’s early-season success had come without huge offensive contributions from the Melnick-Green tandem, but they were a force in this win.

— Derek Daschke has seemed to get better every game. His first assist was on a high-precision feed to Green in the slot, and he also picked up a secondary helper on Knies’ marker.

— Monte Graham’s faceoff percentage is north of .700 – which is insanely high – and he won a draw in the third period that went right to LaValle, who loaded up for Miami’s fourth goal.

Graham was 4-0 in the circle.

GRADES

FORWARDS: B+. Melnick and Green (Grelnick?) were stars 1 and 1a among this corps. Knies and LaValle both found the net on well-located shots. Brian Hawkinson played his grinder role and provided energy. Ryan Siroky was his physical self and played solid defensively. Christian Mohs – limited to nine games last season after knee surgery the previous year – looked a step better than in previous games, especially early.

DEFENSEMEN: B-. A little sloppy early but solid enough overall. Daschke was the standout in this group, both with his passing and his shut-down play as his stock continues to rise. Rourke Russell also seems to be in a constant state of improvement as he seems to be gaining confidence every night. River Rymsha has been a pleasant surprise as he impresses with his two-way play and hockey IQ.

GOALTENDING: A. Couldn’t see the Colgate goal live and there is no clear replay, so no idea if Larkin had a chance on it, but either way he made some excellent stops early and turned 28 shots aside overall. A strength of his as a freshman was his rebound control, and once again in 2018-19 opponents are rarely getting second chances vs. Miami with him on net. The Raiders created quality chances throughout but Larkin was having no part of it.

LINEUP CHANGES: Corbett was a head-scratching scratch up front, as Johnson was not only back on the lineup card but moved to the top line with Green and Melnick. The move didn’t seem to affect the duo, as each went 1-1-2.

Mohs was also back in the lineup, dressing for the fourth time this season.

Grant Frederic did not play after skating in the finale vs. UMass-Lowell.

FINAL THOUGHTS: True, Miami hasn’t played an NCHC contest yet, and this hasn’t been as a brutal of a non-conference schedule as in 2017-18 but considering the RedHawks’ off-season, 5-2 is a solid start.

Miami should’ve beaten Colgate and it did. Same with Alabama-Huntsville, same with Mercyhurst.

Sounds axiomatic, but at times in recent seasons the RedHawks have underachieved against lesser-skilled opponents.

And this is another example of Miami not only getting into the win column but leaving little doubt late.

In this game plus the three others vs. UAH and Mercyhurst, the RedHawks have scored five times in the third period. MU’s lead after 40 minutes has been at least two in all four of those contests.

That means Miami is establishing the lead in the opening two periods and pulling away late.

Will the RedHawks be able to keep that MO against its league foes, all of which will be better than Colgate?

We’ll see, but winning these October non-conference games in decisive fashion has to give the RedHawks confidence heading into NCHC play.

Miami blanks, sweeps UAH

OXFORD, Ohio – Ryan Larkin’s 2018-19 debut was worth the one-day wait.

Ryan Larkin (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

The junior stopped all 11 shots he faced in a 4-0 win over Alabama-Huntsville at Cady Arena on Sunday, earning his third career shutout.

Jordan Uhelski, expected to back up Larkin, started and won on Saturday while Larkin did not dress.

The win completes a series sweep for the RedHawks (2-0), who have won their first two games for the first time since 2013-14.

RECAP: The game was scoreless through the first period, but Brian Hawkinson teed up River Rymsha with a pass across the blue line, and Rymsha buried it just inside the post 5:39 into the second frame.

Less than three minutes later, a blast by Alec Mahalak tricked off the glove of goalie Mark Sinclair, and Karch Bachman was there to slam home the rebound.

Early in the third period, Josh Melnick whipped a wrister from the top of the faceoff circle that beat Sinclair. With 6:14 left in regulation, Ryan Siroky was denied on his initial attempt at the side of the net but batted one into the air, off Sinclair’s back and into the net.

STATS: Rymsha and Hawkinson led Miami with two points apiece. Rymsha scored once and set up another and Hawkinson earned a pair of helpers.

Larkin’s last shutout was Oct. 27, 2017 vs. Connecticut. All of his perfect sheets have been in October and at home.

Miami was 37-15 on faceoffs for a .714 win percentage. Casey Gilling was 14-3 on draws and Melnick 13-3 in the circle.

How about a strange one: Grant Hutton was the lone MU defenseman without a shot. The others combined for 15.

THOUGHTS: The first period was slow but once Rymsha’s shot went in, Miami dominated the balance of the game.

When it came to 50/50 pucks, the RedHawks won almost every physical battle and not only were faster but outhustled UAH as well.

By the third period the Chargers (0-2) were a beaten team. The final shot totals reflect that: 45 Miami, 11 UAH.

— Let’s give one of the stars of the game to the facility. This was a 3 p.m. game when the temperature is about its highest, and it was 90 degrees out for opening faceoff.

The ice certainly wasn’t January-Edmonton-in-the-1990s-caliber but it held in the near-record heat.

— Alabama-Huntsville captain Kurt Gosselin, who was booted for his hit on Carter Johnson in the opener, was absent from Sunday’s lineup. It’s unclear if the team or an outside entity made that call.

He should miss multiple games for that hit. It’s everything hockey is trying to take out of its game for the long-term well being of its players.

— Not to bore about a non-sexy subject, but Miami’s faceoff success is an area in which it has struggled for several years.

Gilling has been key in this realm since Day 1 and isn’t afraid to voice concerns to officials when he thinks draws are unfair.

Melnick’s numbers are outstanding early, as are those of Monte Graham, who won a team-best 11 draws on Saturday.

REALITY CHECKPOINT:

— While the 2-0 start is exciting, Miami has been above .500 early each of the four recent seasons in which it has finished below that mark.

The RedHawks started 2013-14 at 6-2-1, were 3-1-1 to open 2015-16, 3-1-2 in their first six of 2016-17 and reached 4-3 last season before their descent.

Miami’s problem in recent unsuccessful campaigns has been earning wins in those cold-weather months.

GRADES

FORWARDS: A. This was a solid effort by all. We saw some suspect passing on Saturday but this corps seemed to tighten that up in that game. Loved Siroky’s combination of persistence and athleticism on his goal. Thought Gruden was much better in this game than in the opener. Thought Bachman was as much as force as in the opener. In the second period he stole the puck and nearly scored despite having a defender draped on his during a shorthanded chance. As mentioned, MU dominated on faceoffs.

DEFENSEMEN: A. This corps actually outshot the opposition, firing 15 shots while the entire UAH team managed just 11. None of those chances were Grade-A. Rymsha went 1-1-2 including the first goal and eventual game winner, Hutton and Mahalak picked up assists. Granted UAH lacks a lot of elite offensive talent but Miami’s D-corps shut the Chargers down in this game.

GOALTENDING: A. Hard to slight Larkin for not facing a difficult shot. He was perfect, albeit on 11 non-high-quality chances. This has to be a confidence boost for Larkin after last season when he posted an .886 save percentage.

LINEUP CHANGES: Two key ones: Larkin started in net after Jordan Uhelski earned the win in the opener, and Carter Johnson was out up front after getting cheap-shotted on Saturday.

Zach LaValle also sat among the forward corps, and Noah Jordan and Christian Mohs took the ice in their place.

Coach Enrico Blasi stuck with his starting six on D for Game 2, which is even more interesting because it was 20 hours between starts instead of the normal 23:30, and often a coach will go with a rested player in such a situation, but Andrew Sinard, Grant Frederic and Chaz Switzer all sat out for the second straight night.

UP NEXT: Miami will play in Pennsylvania for the first time since Robert Morris hosted the RedHawks six years ago at the Penguins’ home rink.

MU faces Providence at 4 p.m. on Friday, and if it wins will face the Notre Dame-Mercyhurst winner in the championship at 7:35 p.m. on Saturday but would play in the consolation vs. the loser of the other game at 4 p.m. Saturday. All games will be played at Erie Insurance Arena, home of the OHL Erie Otters.

In late 2012, MU took second in Pittsburgh, beating Ohio State before losing to the hometown host. Both scores were 1-0.

FINAL THOUGHTS: This weekend will provide a much better indication of where Miami is in early-to-mid October.

A strong showing could earn the RedHawks some much-needed respect into a four-game homestand.

At least against UAH, the forwards, defensemen and goalies were all superior. Much tougher test against this weekend’s foes.