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.
– 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.
– 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.
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.
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – Miami came within 37.8 seconds of its first road series sweep in nearly two years.
But a final-minute wrister from the high slot by Bowling Green’s Alec Rauhauser beat RedHawks goalie Ryan Larkin on the glove side as BGSU salvaged a 2-2 tie at the Slater Family Ice Arena on Saturday.
The RedHawks won the series opener, 6-3 on Friday.
It was all Falcons in the first period, as they outshot MU, 10-4 and took the early lead.
Bowling Green (6-5-4) was awarded a penalty shot as Brandon Kruse was taken down by Kiefer Sherwood while streaking toward the net unabated with 34 seconds left in the first period, and he converted to make it 1-0.
Miami (6-6-2) tied it with 13:28 left in the second period when a blue line rip by Belpedio was partially deflected by Josh Melnick and into the corner of the net.
The penalty box door was open much of the first two periods, as the teams combined for 40 minutes, including four roughing penalties, two slashings and a 10-minute misconduct on the RedHawks’ Carson Meyer.
Belpedio skated across the blue line uncontested and blasted one by Bowling Green goalie Ryan Bednard with 6:51 left in regulation.
Following Belpedio’s goal, Miami had to kill a cross-checking penalty and nearly survived two more minutes of 6-on-5 hockey in an attempt to preserve the win.
Belpedio had two more point-blank chances in the final minute of overtime, but Bednard denied both.
With his goal and assist, Belpedio has five points in five contests. Melnick has scored in three straight games and has five points in his last five games, and it was the second career helper for Russell.
Miami returns home for its final two non-conference games of the season, as the RedHawks host Cornell. Game times are 7:35 p.m. and 7:05 p.m. for Friday and Saturday, respectively.
MIAMI 0-1-1-0 – 2
at BGSU 1-0-1-0 – 2
First period—1. BGSU, Kruse 3, pen. shot, 19:26.
Second period–2. Miami U., Melnick 6 (Belpedio, Russell) 6:32.
Third period–3. Miami U., Belpedio 5 (Green, Hutton) 13:09; 4. BGSU, Rauhauser 4 (D’Andrea, Baylis) 19:22.
Shots on goal–Miami U. 4-13-4-4–25. BGSU 10-8-7-1–26. Power plays–Miami U., 1-for-4; BGSU, 0-for-4. Goalies–Miami U., Larkin (24 of 26 shots saved); BGSU, Bednard (23-25).Officials–Referees: Tony Czech, Dan Kovarik; Linesmen: Frank Hempel, T.J. Likens.
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – Grant Hutton had scored five times in Miami’s first four games, including a pair of multi-goal contests.
Still sitting on five markers eight games later, the junior defenseman hit the net twice in 38 seconds, breaking a tie at the end of a crazy second period as the RedHawks beat Bowling Green, 6-3 at the Slater Family Ice Arena on Friday.
Hutton’s surge capped off a middle stanza that saw MU extend its lead to two only to see that evaporate in a span of 3:45.
Miami (6-6-1) opened the scoring 6:15 into the game. The RedHawks held the puck in the offensive zone for more than a minute after the end of their first power play, and during a pileup at the top of the crease, Carter Johnson backhanded one that was stopped by goalie Eric Dop, but Ben Lown fired it in from the side of the cage for his first career goal.
Bowling Green (6-5-3) answered by scoring at the end of a long shift as well. Miami goalie Ryan Larkin shut down a point-blank shot, but about 30 seconds later, Connor McDonald whipped a firm wrister into the corner of the net to tie it at the 13:50 mark.
The RedHawks regained the lead 2:01 later on a wrist shot by Kiefer Sherwood from the point that seemed to fool Dop. It was initially waved off for goaltender interference, but it was ruled a goal after a fairly brief review.
The Falcons trimmed the deficit to one, 3-2 with 9:26 left in the middle stanza when Brett D’Andrea slammed home a one-timer in front of the net off a feed by Cameron Wright.
They tied it when Tyler Spezia skated through the Miami defense, went in for a breakaway and backhanded one into the back of the net with 5:41 remaining in that frame.
Hutton penetrated on the power play, whipped off a defenseman, corralled his own rebound and buried it with 1:35 left before intermission.
Thirty-eight seconds later, he rifled one from just inside the blue line for his third point of the period to make it 5-3.
Carson Meyer slammed home an empty netter with 17.3 seconds remaining to cap the scoring, recording a marker for the third straight game.
Hutton’s 2-1-3 line tied a career high in points set earlier this season at Maine. Kiefer Sherwood also recorded three points, going 1-2-3.
Lown not only scored his first collegiate goal, he earned his first multi-point game as a RedHawks, picking up a helper.
Belpedio, fellow blueliner Grant Frederic and forward Conor Lemirande all finished with a pair of assists.
These teams wrap up their weekend series at 7:07 p.m. on Saturday.
MIAMI 2-3-1 – 6
at BGSU 1-2-0 – 3
First period—1. Miami U., Lown 1 (Johnson, Frederic) 6:15; 2. BGSU, McDonald 1 (Kruse, Rauhauser) 13:50; 3. Miami U., Sherwood 3 (Belpedio, Lemirande) 15:51.
Second period–4. Miami U., Melnick 5 (Lown, Hutton) 2:59; 5. BGSU, D’Andrea (Wright, S. Craggs) 10:34; 6. BGSU, Spezia 1, 14:19; 7. Miami U., Hutton 6 (Belpedio, Sherwood), ppg, 18:25; 8. Miami U., Hutton 7 (Frederic, Knies) 19:02.
Third period–9. Miami U., Meyer 4 (Lemirande, Sherwood), ppg, eng, 19:43.
Shots on goal–Miami U. 8-9-10-27. BGSU 4-5-5–14. Power plays–Miami U., 2-for-4; BGSU, 0-for-3. Goalies–Miami U., Larkin (6 of 9 shots saved); BGSU, Dop (12-17), Bednard (9-9).Officials–Referees: Tony Czech, Dan Kovarik; Linesmen: Frank Hempel, T.J. Likens. Attendance: 2,157.
OXFORD, Ohio – Of all the sounds at a hockey rink, the final horn was the sweetest for Miami.
The RedHawks led by two with under two minutes left but held on – literally by inches – for a 3-2 win over No. 14 Minnesota-Duluth at Cady Arena on Saturday.
The teams split the weekend series, as Miami snapped an 11-game winless streak against the Bulldogs.
Miami led, 3-1, but a wrister by UMD’s Parker Mackay with 1:23 left in regulation beat RedHawks goalie Ryan Larkin on the glove side, cutting the lead to one.
In the closing seconds, a loose puck in the Miami crease was poked toward the net but was turned aside just shy of the goal line.
Minnesota-Duluth (6-6-2) took the lead when a rebound kicked out to Nick Wolff, who slammed it just under the crossbar with 7:25 left in the first period.
Miami’s Willie Knierim slid a pass from the side of the net that hit a body and slid back to Ryan Siroky in the high slot. Siroky stepped into it, and his slap shot tied it at the 13:23 mark of the middle stanza.
The RedHawks (5-6-1) went ahead when Carson Meyer batted in a puck from the side of the net on the short side, as goalie Hunter Shepard was unable to hug the post. Scott Dornbrock had fed the puck to Meyer from the blue line with 1:39 left in the middle frame.
Miami’s Gordie Green and Josh Melnick played give-and-go at the blue line, as Melnick took the return pass from Green, skated in and buried a shot from the center of the faceoff circle three minutes into the third period, giving the RedHawks a 3-1 lead.
That set up the frantic final moments, as Shepard headed to the bench at the 18-minute mark.
Meyer scored for the second straight game. Siroky found net for the second time in three contests, and that makes four in seven for Melnick.
Louie Belpedio picked up an assist, extending his points streak to three games.
Knierim also earned a helper for his first point of 2017-18.
The RedHawks were 0-9-2 in their last 11 games against the Bulldogs, as they snapped a 33-month winless drought vs. UMD.
Miami is now 2-3-1 in NCHC play and is in sixth place in the league. The RedHawks improved to 40th in the PairWise rankings.
MU heads to Bowling Green for a weekend series Nov. 24-25. Game times are 7:37 p.m. on Friday and 7:07 p.m. Saturday.
OXFORD, Ohio – Puck luck played a major role in Friday’s outcome.
And Miami had none.
The RedHawks hit four posts and were unable to convert several other close chances as they fell, 3-1 to No. 14 Minnesota-Duluth at Cady Arena.
The Bulldogs extended their unbeaten streak against MU to 11.
Miami (4-6-1) controlled play during the first 14 minutes, but after a defensive-zone turnover, a wrister from the high slot by the Bulldogs’ Jared Thomas was partially deflected by RedHawks goalie Ryan Larkin, popped over the netminder and rolled across the goal line to give UMD the lead.
A pane of glass broke in the corner of the rink, causing a 15-minute delay and killing any energy remaining from MU’s surge.
Miami tied it less than four minutes into the third period when Louie Belpedio connected on a pass from along the boards to Carson Meyer, who was in the slot. Meyer whipped an off-balance shot that found twine with seven seconds left on a power play.
But Minnesota-Duluth (6-5-2) regained the lead on a man-advantage of its own. With 5:09 left in regulation, Thomas blasted a one-timer past Larkin from the center of the faceoff circle after a long shift in the offensive zone.
Thomas had not scored this season entering Friday.
Again, MU had dictated play prior to that decisive power play.
The Bulldogs sealed it 76 seconds later on a slap shot by Scott Perunovich from just inside the blue line, as his shot slipped through Larkin’s pads.
Miami had rang the puck off posts twice in the same shift earlier in the period and finished with 15 shots on goal in that frame.
The RedHawks outshot UMD, 29-19 and have led on the shot counter in eight of their 11 contests this season.
Meyer snapped a six-game scoreless streak. Belpedio picked up a point for the second streak tilt, and Karch Bachman picked up the other helper, his second point in three games.
Miami’s power play goal was its first in five games.
The RedHawks are now 0-9-2 in their last 11 games against Minnesota-Duluth. MU’s last win against the Bulldogs came on Feb. 21, 2015.
Miami falls to 1-3-1 in the NCHC and is winless in its last four, going 0-3-1.
The teams wrap up their weekend series at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday.
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.
– 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.
– 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.
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.
OXFORD, Ohio – Josh Melnick loves overtime, especially when Miami plays Colorado College.
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.
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 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.
It’s always tough to watch a team you root for get blown out.
In certain sports with significant parity, it does happen to even the best teams.
So in the ultra-competitive world of NCAA Division I hockey, there’s no reason to panic after Miami fell behind five goals in the first period in a 6-3 loss to Maine on Saturday.
Not at all dismissing this pounding, but it’s still very early in the season and the RedHawks did earn a split on the road, which is rarely a bad thing.
There were a number of positive things to take from this game for the Miami fan.
– Miami did fight back after falling behind by five early. Sometimes in hockey we see blowouts snowball, and at least the RedHawks battled down the stretch, cutting the final deficit to three.
– The power play is unreal. With Grant Hutton taking an active role on the man-advantage and Gordie Green joining the first unit full-time, Miami was 7-for-10 (70 percent) this weekend. And 3 of 5 in the finale, showing that even after the RedHawks lit the lamp four times on the man-advantage on Friday, Maine was unable to adjust.
– And I know it’s not always popular to say, but the chippy-ness we saw in this game can generate momentum and galvanize a team. There were two skirmishes on Saturday, and in the first Green was targeted along the boards after a stoppage. He not only stood up for himself, Rourke Russell came to his defense and was engaged with opponents the entire time, and Carson Meyer got involved as well. The my-teammate-has-my-back mentality is a bigger factor in hockey than almost any other sport, and such an incident can only help a young team.
– The other altercation: Captain Louie Belpedio ended up in a scrum midway through the third period and was tossed from the game. Sometimes captains have to get involved in these things. Again, this shows the team youngsters that the captain has everyone’s back.
– And good for the officials, Jack Millea and Kevin Keenan, about whom I know nothing other than they handled the after-the-whistle antics very well. No reason to suspend anyone, instead choosing the 10-minute misconduct option to address the possibility of repeat offenders.
– So Ryan Larkin. Again, blowouts happen. At one point, Patrick Roy let nine in for the Canadiens. Admittedly, he’s not exactly dominating, but let’s remember that this was a player who was named team MVP as a freshman at the team’s awards banquet. That’s a rarity. He had a .910 save percentage in 2016-17 despite getting pelted with Grade-A chances. The smart money is on him rebounding, and soon.
– Follow up to that point: Larkin did have a .792 winning percentage for the weekend, and it’s interesting that Grant Valentine backed him up on Saturday. Valentine logged nine-plus minutes and stopped 2 of 3 shots, giving up a low between-the-pads goal. Chase Munroe played the entire exhibition game in Plymouth, Mich., last weekend, and he allowed five goals. He was the backup down the stretch in 2016-17, so it looks like coach Enrico Blasi prefers Valentine as a backup at this point. But as long as he is healthy, it’s obvious the net currently belongs to Larkin, and if that’s the case through 2019-20, Miami will likely thrive.
– The RedHawks pulled the goalie down by four late, which typically indicates a coach thinks his team has played well enough that it deserves a chance to play on what’s essentially a power play. Hutton scored on the 6-on-5 to make it a three-goal game. Really, if you’re going to lose, who cares if it’s 3-2 or 13-2? Coach Blasi doesn’t, and I’m in agreement.
– It wasn’t a great night for Chaz Switzer. He was beaten, 1-on-1, resulting in Maine’s first goal, and his penalty on that play ultimately resulted in a 5-on-3 for another Black Bears goal. He was also on the ice for Maine’s third goal.
– Some perspective about Hutton’s scoring rate: He has 14 goals in 40 games since the start of 2016-17, and 10th place on BoB’s unofficial all-time career defenseman goal leaderboard is Josh Harrold with 15. With five goals in five games already this season, Miami could be looking at one of its top-scoring blueliners of all-time.
– Veli-Antti Tiuraniemi, a Black Bears defenseman, was committed to Miami last season and appeared to be headed to Oxford this fall. Instead he had a goal and an assist vs. the RedHawks.
– Thanks to the University of Maine for its free high-quality online stream. The game experience in Orono is supposed to be fantastic, and BoB wishes the Black Bears nothing but success in the future, especially since subsequent wins by Maine will affect the PairWise!
LINEUP CHANGES: F Zach LaValle was scratched after dressing for the first three games. Alex Alger played for the first time this season in his place. F Ryan Siroky replaced Ben Lown for both games this weekend. On defense, Alec Mahalak sat for the first time in 2017-18, as Grant Frederic logged his second game of the season. Fs Willie Knierim and Carter Johnson, plus D Bryce Hatten are the only Miami players not to log ice time this season, although Knierim played in Plymouth.
WHO: Miami University RedHawks (0-2) at Maine Black Bears (1-1).
WHEN: Friday and Saturday–7 p.m.
WHERE: Harold Alfond Sports Arena, Orono, Maine.
NOTES: Maine visited Oxford last season, and the RedHawks went 1-0-1, tying the opener, 3-3 and winning the finale, 5-0.
A Division I force through the late 2000s, the Black Bears have won 20 games just one time in the past 10 seasons, and that 23-win season in 2011-12 represented Maine’s lone NCAA Tournament appearance in that span.
The past three seasons have been particularly brutal for the Black Bears, as they have failed to reach the .400 mark, averaging just 11 wins.
Amazingly, Maine didn’t win a single road game in all of 2016-17, salvaging just four ties including one at Miami.
The Black Bears lost their top two scorers from last season in Blaine Byron and Cam Brown. Nolan Vesey, a Toronto draft pick and brother of New York Rangers forward Jimmy Vesey, is the team’s top returning scorer with 13 goals and 10 assists for 23 points.
Sophomore Chase Pearson, a Detroit selection, finished 14-8-22 in 2016-17 and has a pair of assists already this season.
The Black Bears have two other drafted players – G Jeremy Swayman and F Patrick Shea. Swayman is a freshman who gave up four goals in a losing effort in his debut. Shea, a sophomore, has dressed for both games this campaign.
Cedric Lacroix, Peter Housakos and Mitchell Fossier are all back this season, and each found the net vs. Miami last year.
Miami was swept at home by Providence two weeks ago and beat the U.S. Under-18 team, 7-5 in Plymouth, Mich., last Friday.
The RedHawks are looking for their first non-exhibition win since Jan. 28, having gone 0-11-1 in their last 12 games.
D Grant Hutton is 1-1-2, found the net nine times in 2016-17 and scored twice in Miami’s exhibition and has to be considered a credible threat to score from the blue line, which should create more space for his linemates.
The Gordie Green-Josh Melnick chemistry last week vs. the USNDT was undeniable, as Green scored twice – both times set up by Melnick, including a spectacular kick-pass-for-breakaway goal, and Melnick finished with three helpers.
These types of long trips early in the season can help teams bond, and Miami will have played just one exhibition in 13 days entering this series, so the RedHawks have reason to come out strong.
Miami and Maine have only played eight times, with the Black Bears leading the all-time series, 5-2-1.
Carson Meyer recorded four assists in last season’s series, and Louie Belpedio netted a pair of goals.