Miami was able to hang with St. Cloud State into the third period, but three unanswered Huskies goals in the final frame ended the RedHawks’ season.
SCSU topped Miami, 6-3 in Game 2 of the opening-round NCHC playoffs, clinching the best-of-3 series at the Herb Brooks Center on Saturday.
The RedHawks lost their last seven games of the season and finished 2-18-4 in their final 24 contests.
Easton Brodzinski scored twice and added an assist, and Sam Hentges and Robby Jackson finished with a goal and two helpers each to pace the Huskies.
Karch Bachman led Miami by netting the team’s first two goals.
RECAP: Bachman gave the RedHawks the lead 6:23 into the first period when he was sprung loose down the left wing after Derek Daschke had tipped the puck away from a SCSU skater, and Bachman corralled the puck and wired it just under the crossbar from the faceoff circle.
Miami (11-23-4) held the lead until the 4:32 mark of the second period when Brodzinski tied it off an intercepted clearing attempt, as he carried the puck across the slot and shot the puck in to the opposite side.
St. Cloud State (29-4-3) took its first lead 83 seconds later when a pass by Jimmy Schult into the crease hit a Miami skate and caromed in.
Bachman tied it at two from nearly the same spot as his first goal, as Lown fed him on the left wing on a 2-on-1.
The Huskies regained the lead when Jackson banged a puck off the pads of sprawling Miami goalie Ryan Larkin with 5:30 left in the middle stanza on a play that was initially ruled no goal. After several minutes of review the call was reversed.
The RedHawks again evened the score at three when Brian Hawkinson poked home a loose puck at the side of the net after a Scott Corbett shot handcuffed goalie David Hrenak.
But a neutral-zone turnover resulted in a 2-on-1 as Hentges one-timed a Brodzinski feed just over two minutes later.
A failed clearing attempt resulted in Brozinski’s second goal of the night with 8:48 left and Lizotte wrapped up the series with an empty netter.
Miami failed to score on a major power play late in the second period that included over a minute of 5-on-3 time.
STATS: Bachman’s two-goal game was the second of his career.
He ended the season with 10 goals, one behind team leader Gordie Green and more than he had his freshman and sophomore years combined.
— Hawkinson scored for the first time since Jan. 11 and finished his freshman season with 15 points, including five in his last seven games.
— The RedHawks were outshot, 45-21 overall and 35-13 the final two periods.
It was the seventh time this calendar year Miami has allowed more than twice as many shots as it has generated.
— During its current seven-game losing streak, the RedHawks have allowed at least four goals in each and an average of 5.14.
— Miami finished 2018-19 0-4 in this building and was outscored, 21-7.
— The RedHawks have been scored in the third period eight straight games and have allowed 18 markers in that span, or 2.25 per game in the last 20 minutes.
THOUGHTS: Turnovers devastated Miami, as multiple failed defensive-zone clears ended up in the RedHawks’ net.
The eventual game-winning goal was on a neutral-zone giveaway.
That, combined with MU’s inability to score on its power play chances, was the difference. To beat a team this good on the road a team has to play nearly flawless hockey, and that was far from the case here.
— One last replay rant then we’re done for a while.
It took about three minutes to review a boarding penalty on Nick Poehling to see if it warranted a major. The hit in question didn’t even look like a penalty, much less an eject-worthy offense.
That was late in the second period. Then there was the Jackson goal that was initially called no goal.
It should’ve required irrefutable evidence to reverse, and no camera angle on television showed that. Maybe the officials had access to angles not available to FSN North.
Most of Larkin’s body was across the blue line and it looks like it probably went in, but again, clear evidence is necessary to reverse that call and viewers never really got that.
LINEUP CHANGES: None.
FINAL THOUGHTS: For the fourth straight season, Miami’s was done before St. Patrick’s Day and the RedHawks are 1-8 in the first round of the NCHC Tournament in that span.
MU seemed to peak in the first eight weeks of the regular season and was lifeless the last two months.
The RedHawks really struggled at home down the stretch, going 1-7 at Cady Arena in 2019, playing some of their worst hockey on their own ice sheet.
They were even significantly outshot in their lone home win of this calendar year vs. Omaha.
As a fan, you really hoped would show improvement late in the year, give people in the stands hope for the coming seasons.
Instead Miami hemorrhaged goals against the final few weeks, and the RedHawks’ so-so offense couldn’t keep up.
This highly-touted recruiting class coming in this fall will be key.
Because without more good players hitting the ice for Miami, the team will remain in its current loop.
St. Cloud State is the top-ranked team in Division I with just four losses this season.
The Huskies are unbeaten at home, going 15-0-1 and have won seven straight games overall.
Now Miami must go into the Herb Brooks Center and beat the top-ranked team in Division I two out of three just to advance to the NCHC semifinals if the RedHawks hope to advance to the NCAA Tournament.
BoB takes a look at Miami’s opening-round series in the NCHC Tournament:
WHO: Miami RedHawks (11-21-4) at No. 1 St. Cloud State Huskies (27-4-3).
WHEN: Friday – 8:07 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday (if necessary) – 7:07 p.m.
WHERE: Herb Brooks Center (5,159), St. Cloud, Minn.
ALL-TIME SERIES: St. Cloud State leads, 18-17-4.
ST. CLOUD STATE RADIO: All games – KZRV-FM (96.7) and KVSC-FM (88.1), St. Cloud. Minn.
MIAMI RADIO: WBKV-AM (1490), Richmond, Ind.
TV: Friday and Saturday – FSN North (DirecTV Ch. 668).
NOTES: It’s the second straight season these teams have met in the first round of the conference tournament in this building, and Miami took St. Cloud State to overtime of Game 3 in 2017-18.
The RedHawks, as an eight seed, also beat the Huskies in this round in 2013-14, with Justin Greenberg scoring the clinching goal in the final seconds of the third period.
So Miami has some positive playoff history vs. SCSU heading into this weekend, but the Huskies have been dominant this season – especially at home – and the RedHawks have won just two games since mid-November.
St. Cloud State has outscored its opponents, 137-73 this season, and six Huskies skaters have recorded at least 30 points.
SCSU flipped the all-time series this season, taking a half-game lead after going 2-0-2 vs. the RedHawks in 2018-19.
Patrick Newell leads the team in goals (19) and points (41), notching 22 assists, and a team-high plus-28 rating and six game winners.
Robbie Jackson leads the team in shots with 104, and he has scored 15 times and picked up helpers on 19 others for 34 points.
Blake Lizotte also has 34 points on 13 goals and 21 assists, and first-round pick Ryan Poehling is 7-23-30.
That’s the forward leaders. Two SCSU defensemen have at least 30 points: Jimmy Schult and Jack Ahcan.
Schult has been all-world this season, as the third-year captain has racked up nine goals and 22 assists for 31 points.
Ahcan has four goals, a team-best 26 assists and a plus-27 rating.
In net, David Hrenak has been the starter most of the season, going 20-3-2 with a 2.18 goals-against average but just a .907 save percentage.
But Jeff Smith has played in two of the Huskies’ last three games and has a 2.01 GAA and .923 save percentage.
Miami enters this series having lost five in a row, and the RedHawks were outscored, 26-11 in that stretch.
The RedHawks have lost in this round three straight seasons.