Miami needs road improvement
Miami has played six games on the road this season and its results are mercurial: Two wins, three losses, one tie against three opponents that have a combined one vote for the top 20.
The RedHawks allowed three unanswered third-period goals in a 4-1 loss at New Hampshire to cap off an 0-1-1 weekend against a team that had one previous win this season.
So Miami (9-6-1) will end the 2018 calendar year 2-3-1 with five road series remaining.
Those would be:
No. 10 Providence (already beat Miami, 4-0 in Erie)
Western Michigan (receiving 18 votes)
No. 1 St. Cloud State
No. 7 Denver
No. 2 Minnesota-Duluth
Overall it’s been a productive first two months of 2018-19, but the RedHawks haven’t wowed on the road against opponents who are a combined 11-19-6, and things are about to get a lot tougher.
THOUGHTS: Sorry we didn’t do a post from Saturday. That was partly because I was extremely busy and partly because the game feed keep cutting out. I lost a whole five minutes of game action at one point.
Much of the other YouTube feed was choppy, unlike Friday.
Some things still stood out.
— Miami was outplayed on special teams, going 0-for-5 while UNH was 2 of 5. Both power play goals were scored when players were left wide-open in front of the net.
— Backup Jordan Uhelski was in net but he was not the reason the RedHawks lost. He made two spectacular saves and was hung out to dry on two goals.
It’s also hard to win when your support is one goal.
— Jonathan Gruden was moved to the Josh Melnick-Gordie Green line, and the trio accounted for the lone Miami goal.
Gruden had just five prior points this season and none in his previous five games.
— New Hampshire (2-6-5) had not scored four goals in any game this season.
It didn’t look like this was the RedHawks’ best effort defensively.
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.
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 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.
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.