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Analysis: Chances didn’t go Miami’s way

OXFORD, Ohio – Friday’s script could have had a different ending for Miami.

The RedHawks had two goals waved off, which was the final margin of defeat for in a 3-1 loss vs. No. 11 Providence at Cady Arena in the teams’ season opener.

Miami’s Grant Hutton lays out a big hit in the first period (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

After the teams traded goals in the first period, Miami appeared to have taken a second-period lead when Gordie Green roofed one on a breakaway.

But the replay showed that the puck never entered the net, hitting the crossbar and kicking straight out.

Right after the Friars’ third goal, the RedHawks’ Kiefer Sherwood went in alone and appeared to have tucked the puck under goalie Hayden Hawkey.

Initially called a goal, the tally was taken off the board after it was ruled Sherwood interfered with Hawkey while driving the net.

That last one was tough to digest, as Sherwood skated in diagonally and Hawkey moved up to the top of the crease to challenge the shooter when the alleged contact occurred.

Providence also took a penalty on the play, so had the RedHawks scored, it would have cut their deficit to one and they would have had tons of momentum heading into the ensuing power play.

Not in any way saying Miami got screwed. The Friars looked every bit an 11th-ranked team.

Other thoughts…

– Miami started seven freshmen – Phil Knies, Casey Gilling, Austin Alger, Ben Lown, (redshirt) Christian Mohs at forward and Alec Mahalak and Rourke Russell on defense.

Knies (pronounced ‘nighs’) impressed with his stickhandling, Alger, well, he scored the RedHawks’ only goal, and Mohs looked more confident than most coming off a season-ending knee injury.

Russell looks like a natural agitator who is on course to become a fan favorite. Mahalak is raw but worked hard on Friday and appears to have a lot of upside.

– Miami was down two with three minutes remaining and possessed the puck in the offensive zone for a minute but waited until under 2:00 before pulling Ryan Larkin. In today’s game the goalie needs to come out earlier in a two-goal game.

– The RedHawks donned ‘You Can Play’ jerseys in honor of Brendan Burke, who passed away 6½ years ago. Classy move by Miami to remember the former student manager.

– Speaking of passing away, usher Howard Jackson passed away this off-season after an extensive battle with cancer. He was a mainstay at the top of sections 11/12 since the rink opened.

GRADES

FORWARDS: C-. Only one goal but this corps generated some excellent chances against a top-echelon team. There was a lot of good passing and a lot of bad, which is not unexpected in early October. Coach Enrico Blasi wasn’t afraid to use three freshman forwards on his second power play unit.

DEFENSEMEN: C+. It seems like Providence had fewer A-plus chances than most Miami opponents did last season. The new guys, while on the smallish side, both seem like they can move the puck pretty well and aren’t afraid to play physically.

GOALTENDING: C+. Larkin stopped 27 of 30 shots for a .900 save percentage. The first goal was on a quick release from pretty close and the last one was definitely stoppable. As usual Larkin made a couple of outstanding saves to keep Miami in it.

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Analysis: Miami found a way to win

OXFORD, Ohio – It’s a pretty safe bet that none of the footage from the first two periods of Friday’s game will make any highlight reels.

But the third period and overtime made up for the relatively action-free first 40 minutes of hockey, culminating in an OT winner by Anthony Louis as Miami edged Bowling Green, 2-1 at Cady Arena.

The Falcons recorded 14 shots on goal through the first two yawn-inducing periods. The RedHawks fared even worse, generating just 10. And most of those 24 were low-percentage chances, easily swallowed up by goaltending equipment.

To BGSU’s credit, that was probably the game plan. The Falcons (0-6-1) had allowed 29 goals in six games and did not have the speed or skill to match Miami’s top two lines.

So they played tight D. And very well.

Miami (3-1-2) struggled to create any kind of transition and seemed to have no room to complete passes anywhere on the ice.

But while the RedHawks’ offense was non-existent most of the night, they still found a way to win. And they found a way to win after squandering a one-goal lead late.

This won’t be the only time this season Miami has to play a team that suffocates its forwards, and the RedHawks will still need to find a way to earn victories like they did on Friday.

Other thoughts…

– First, Josh Melnick coming off late in the third period is a major concern. He took a shift with two minutes left in regulation, did not appear to get hit or fall awkwardly and left the ice showing no ill effects, yet he was not on the bench for overtime. In the Captain Obvious statement of the day, Miami cannot to be without Melnick for any length of time, even if that length is a few shifts.

– Miami also had to play with five defensemen for the majority of the second period, as Jared Brandt left after suffering what appeared to be a high hit along the boards. Brandt has been one of the team’s top shutdown defensemen early this season. He returned and appeared 100 percent for the balance of the game.

– Not a fan of criticizing officiating, which was pretty solid most of the game, but it’s baffling that Carter Johnson was assessed a major for interference in the third period but Bowling Green was handed a minor for a boarding penalty during which Louie Belpedio was slammed from behind after being lined up for a couple of seconds. Across the board, hockey has been rightly cracking down on those types of hits, and Belpedio’s numbers were clearly visible the entire time he was along the boards. The reasoning is most likely because the Falcons player remained down for some time while Belpedio bounced right back up, which should not be the way penalties should be decided, if for no other reason because it encourages embellishment. But BGSU did not score on its five-minute power play and Miami netted the game winner after the boarding call, so all was ultimately good for the RedHawks.

Miami's Anthony Louis (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

Miami’s Anthony Louis (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

– Yes, Carson Meyer scored the goal and picked up an assist on the other, so it’s easy to point to him as a hero in this game. But from the first game of this homestand to this one, he has gotten significantly better in every facet, which is partly why he is in position to pick up points.

– Louis is up to 94 career points, pulling to within six of the elusive 100-point club. Fifty Miami players have reached that mark. It’s amazing how much Louis’ all-around game has improved from junior year to this one. And oh yeah, he forced a turnover at center ice, which was picked by Melnick, leading to the first goal.

GRADES

FORWARDS: C-. It was trending toward ‘F’ land after two periods, but obviously two goals bolsters their collective grade. Lines 2-4 were nearly non-existent all night, which Bowling Green’s defense deserves much credit for. As much credit as Louis deserves, he didn’t pick up Mark Friedman when he scored from point-blank range to tie it.

Ryan Larkin makes one of his 20 saves on Friday (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

Ryan Larkin makes one of his 20 saves on Friday (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

DEFENSEMEN: B+. During this homestand, this corps hasn’t done too much to get noticed, and that’s meant as a compliment. They came up big during the major PK, especially Scott Dornbrock, who stepped up his play in the third period for the second straight game.

GOALTENDING: A-. It looked like Ryan Larkin got a piece of the tying goal, but it still slipped over his blocker. It’s probably one that he should’ve had, but it was still a great shot from in close. He stopped 20 of 21 shots and has allowed just one goal in two games and six in his last five. He gives Miami a chance to win every night and is spoiling fans.

LINEUP CHANGES: Coach Enrico Blasi did not change any of the forwards from last Saturday, playing Alex Alger over Willie Knierim for the second straight game. Alger had an assist on Saturday and was absolutely robbed by Chris Nell on a would-be goal in the first period of this game. Blasi continues to get all eight of his defensemen playing time, as Colin Sullivan sat in favor of Bryce Hatten. Larkin has still logged every minute in net – 370-plus at present – and Andrew Masters again served as the backup.