OXFORD, Ohio – Eleven shots on Saturday, 27 for the weekend.
Not surprisingly, Miami was swept by North Dakota, losing 5-2 on Saturday in the regular season finale at Cady Arena.
BoB has spent all season analyzing stats, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out the above are not going to get you many wins.
One more stat: One win since Jan. 13.
Hoping for a miraculous turnaround at Minnesota-Duluth next weekend.
We’re done here.
FORWARDS: F. Six of those shots were by forwards. Six. That’s one every 10 minutes. Again, not much else to say, other than Carson Meyer got abused by Tucker Poolman in a 1-on-1 for the second UND goal after Conor Lemirande committed an offensive-zone turnover for the first. Could’ve gotten a ‘G’ or ‘H’ if it wasn’t for Kiefer Sherwood’s rebound goal.
DEFENSEMEN: B-. Still need to see better coverage in the slot and around the crease, but this group was more physical and limited UND to 27 shots. Plus Grant Hutton’s shot led to Sherwood’s rebound goal, and Chaz Switzer scored the other.
GOALTENDING: B-. Besides the empty netter, goalie Ryan Larkin allowed two goals to wide-open players in the slot, one on a skated who was allowed to skate around the crease and jam one in and another on a 2-on-1. And he made two spectacular saves. Miami won nine games this regular season, and that number would’ve been lower if Larkin hadn’t been in net.
LINEUP CHANGES: It appears less likely that Louie Belpedio will return for next weekend’s series, which hurts Miami’s chances. He is still in a knee brace. Willie Knierim missed this game after blocking a shot on Friday. Alex Alger dressed in his place.
OXFORD, Ohio – The end of the regular season couldn’t come quickly enough for Miami.
The RedHawks lost their finale, 5-2 to No. 15 North Dakota on Saturday as they will limp into the playoffs with an eight-game winless streak and one victory in their last 13.
After a scoreless first period, the Fighting Sioux took the lead 2:34 into the second period when Ludvig Hoff stole the puck from Miami’s Conor Lemirande and threaded a pass to Chris Wilkie, who was wide open in the slot and wired a shot home.
The RedHawks (9-18-7) tied it on the power play when Grant Hutton fired a shot from just inside the blue line, and after goalie Cam Johnson made the initial save, Kiefer Sherwood slammed home the rebound from the side of the net with 14:51 left in the middle stanza.
UND (18-14-3) went ahead for good with 4:24 left in that frame when Tucker Poolman took the puck from along the boards, skated from behind the net to the top of the crease and buried a backhander just under the crossbar.
On a 3-on-2 break, Poolman fed Trevor Olson in the slot, and Olson found the net to make it 3-1 with 15:42 left in regulation.
Miami did trim the lead to one when a blue line blast by Chaz Switzer tricked through Johnson with 11:12 to play for Switzer’s first career goal.
But 35 seconds later, it was Poolman again, scoring off a Dixon Bowen feed on a 2-on-1, giving North Dakota a 4-2 lead.
Bowen sealed it with 3:30 to play with an empty netter.
Sherwood finished with a goal and an assist, accomplishing that for the second straight game as he ended the weekend with a team-best four points.
The RedHawks were limited to 11 shots, their lowest total in the Cady Arena era and one off the team record low of 10, which Miami ended up with twice, most recently in 2000 vs. Michigan.
Miami had already locked up a seven seed in the NCHC Tournament, which starts next weekend. The RedHawks will travel to Minnesota for a best-of-3 series in the opening round against third-ranked and second-seeded Minnesota-Duluth.
The games will be on Friday, Saturday and – if necessary – Sunday. Miami needs to win that tournament to advance to the NCAA Tournament.
OXFORD, Ohio – For Miami, PairWise doesn’t matter, seeding has been wrapped up and the RedHawks even know their first-round opponent in the NCHC Tournament.
That means after Friday’s 3-2 loss to North Dakota, Saturday’s regular season finale will be little more than a glorified exhibition.
For official purposes that is. Miami can certainly conjure up reasons to take its last game at Cady Arena in 2016-17 seriously.
Trying to gain momentum heading into a brutal road trip – the same one that saw the RedHawks’ season end last year – would be the most obvious.
But it’s been no secret Miami would open the NCHC Tournament on the road for weeks now, and the RedHawks still went winless the entire month of February and have opened March 0-1.
Next week’s opponent, Minnesota-Duluth, swept Miami to end the 2015-16 season and just went 1-0-1 vs. the RedHawks last weekend. The Bulldogs are ranked second in Division I.
There is the legacy play. Miami has won at least 12 games in every season under Coach Enrico Blasi, and his worst two seasons from a wins standpoint were Years 1 and 3 (1999-2000 and 2001-02), when the team won 13 and 12 games, respectively.
But that was with recruits from the previous administration. With his own players, Blasi has won at least 15 games each season, although two of the previous three campaigns have seen the RedHawks win exactly that many with sub-.500 winning percentages.
So Miami needs to win on Saturday and advance to Minneapolis just to tie Blasi’s low-water mark in terms of wins.
To be fair, the RedHawks have tied seven times, so essentially that have 12½ wins. But the team’s .379 winning percentage is 47th out of 60 Division I teams.
And hey, the NCHC’s lone knock – right or wrong – is the lack of an identity and natural rivals. North Dakota was one known quantity when this league was formed. The Native-American-turned-avion-nicknamed team has appeared in more championships than any team in Division I (13) and is second in titles (8).
Oh yeah, UND won the national championship in 2016. Can Miami possibly get up to play this team on its home ice, even in a down year?
Because the RedHawks didn’t do that in their penultimate home game of the season. North Dakota had seven shots in the first four minutes, and if it hadn’t been for Miami goalie Ryan Larkin, it could’ve been 2-0 before many found their seats at Cady Arena.
The RedHawks had their moments on Friday but there was zero sustained pressure. On the other side, the Other Hawks controlled the puck in the offensive zone for shift after shift.
Shots on goal are not the be-all, end-all of hockey stats, but when a team is outshot by a 2-to-1 margin or greater in all three periods, that’s not a coincidence. The SOG by period was 16-5, 15-7 and 10-4.
There’s the cliché that winning is contagious. Well, so is not winning, and Miami has failed to secure a victory in 11 of its last 12 games.
A win on Saturday won’t fix the RedHawks’ seed, or their PairWise or even do much to correct their anemic record, but it could point them in the right direction heading into the playoffs.
– Time to dispel the “we’re young” excuse for Miami’s woeful performance this season. North Dakota has eight freshman and 11 sophomores – that’s 19 underclassmen, using the first two years of college definition – and five juniors and two seniors. One of those seniors is a goalie who has logged 18 career games.
– If we’ve learning one positive thing about a player this season, it’s that Gordie Green’s work ethic is top notch. It’s easy to get off your game when the team you play for rivals the Jacksonville Jaguars in terms of winning percentage, but he has thrived while the team has done the opposite. Green has three goals and five assists his last eight games, and Miami only has 19 markers in that span, meaning Green has factored into 42 percent of those. He even laid a player out on Friday and was assessed a bogus charging penalty even though he neither lined his opponent up nor left his feet.
– Impressed with Carter Johnson, who made a great move and just missed the net in the second period and had another quality scoring chance in the third period. Kudos also to Zach LaValle, who has continued to work as hard as anyone this season resulting in eight points in his last 16 games.
– With Louie Belpedio out, it was Josh Melnick who met with officials and UND captain Gage Ausmus during warm-ups. Very telling.
– BoB is not big on criticizing officiating, but seriously, in this game, 7-to-2 on power plays including an extended 4-on-3 that led to the decisive goal? It was a chippy game, no doubt, but come on. That said, UND made the most of those opportunities, outshooting the RedHawks, 17-2 on the man advantage and scoring a shorthanded goals on one of Miami’s chances.
– To complete the thought on penalties, Grant Hutton’s cross check to the head of a player laying in Miami’s crease wasn’t the smartest play of the season, and Conor Lemirande took three minors, eventually resulting in him being relegated to the bench for the balance of the third period. North Dakota a was better at getting under the RedHawks’ skin and watching MU get called for the retaliation.
– With this being the first time seeing the Fighting Hawks live this season, their skating and puck control stood out as two of their top attributes. They also move the puck extremely well on the power play. Hard to believe they were just two games over .500 entering this weekend. As usual, their fans traveled well, as this was the loudest any opposing fan base has been in this rink all season.
– With the regular season wrapping up, it’s about time we consider hanging numbers of more recent members of the Miami hockey clique on the brick wall at Cady Arena. For now, Andy Greene and Ryan Jones certainly seem worthy of having their respective 23 and 26 mounted in the Zamboni end.
– Louie Belpedio was in the concourse wearing a knee brace. Sounds like he’s just week-to-week, but unfortunately for Miami, do-or-die mode starts next week for this team. Obviously his return would help tremendously.
FORWARDS: C-. Just 12 shots from this group. The LaValle-Sherwood-Green line was undoubtedly Miami’s best. Overall, this corps wasn’t particularly impressive on defense as well.
DEFENSEMEN: C-. The listed pairings bore little resemblance to how these blueliners were actually implemented in game. Scott Dornbrock had a decent game overall but coughed up the puck for the decisive breakaway goal. Other than an errant turnover, Grant Frederic played one of his better games.
GOALTENDING: B+. Again, when a goalie faces 41 shots and many are Grade-A chances, three goals against is a pretty good night. Larkin kept Miami in the game by stopping the first seven shots he faced in the opening four minutes. Other than arguably the breakaway, there was little he could’ve done about any of his goals against.
LINEUP CHANGES: For the third straight game, it was Alex Alger (F), Bryce Hatten (D) and Belpedio sitting. Hatten has been scratched for 15 of the last 16 games, so if Belpedio returns, it would be the expense of one of Friday’s starters on defense. With his forward corps relatively healthy, it appears this 12 from this game will be the group Blasi heads into the tournament with.
OXFORD, Ohio – Miami officially locked itself into the seventh seed for the NCHC Tournament.
Consecutive No. 15 North Dakota goals late in the second period helped send the RedHawks to a 3-2 loss at Cady Arena on Friday.
Miami will travel to Minnesota-Duluth next weekend for a best-of-3 series. The RedHawks, who extended their winless streak to seven games (0-6-1), are 1-9-2 in their last 12.
MU (9-17-7) went ahead 7:38 into the first period. Gordie Green had an initial pass denied, but the puck came back to him and he ultimately fed it to Zach LaValle across the blue line. LaValle backhanded a pass through the slot, and Green advanced it to a wide-open Kiefer Sherwood, who rammed it home from the inside edge of the faceoff circle.
The Fighting Hawks (17-14-3) tied it on the power play with 2:11 left in the first period when Rhett Gardner connected on a pass to Chris Gardner in the slot. Gardner’s point-blank shot was denied, but Ludwig Hoff shoveled the rebound in on the backhand.
The net was dislodged during the play, but after a lengthy review it was determined that the puck crossed the goal line first.
Miami again took a one-goal lead midway through the second period. Kiefer Sherwood carried the puck through the neutral zone behind the North Dakota net before curling and connecting with Green. Green’s initial shot was blocked, but the rebound came back to Green, who stuffed it in the short side.
Just 3:18 later, the Fighting Hawks again evened the score at two on a 4-on-3, as Tyson Jost whipped a wrist shot just under the crossbar from the slot.
North Dakota took its first lead of the game with 1:40 left in that stanza when Trevor Olson stripped RedHawks defenseman Scott Dornbrock, went in for a breakaway and beat Miami goal Ryan Larkin on the glove side.
The Fighting Hawks limited the RedHawks to four third-period shots and 16 for the game while racking up 41 themselves.
Green and Sherwood finished with a goal and an assist each. It was Green’s second consecutive multi-point game, as he now has eight points in his last eight games (3-5-8).
Sherwood found the net for just the second time in 13 games but in his last nine contests he has recorded eight points.
Miami dropped to 31st in the PairWise rankings and has 23 points in NCHC play. If the RedHawks had swept in this series, they could’ve improved to fifth or sixth in the standings.
MU is 0-6-1 in its last seven games in Duluth, and last season the RedHawks were swept there in the NCHC Tournament, ending their season.
Miami wraps up its regular season against North Dakota at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday in a game televised on Fox College Sports (DirecTV Ch. 608).
Miami again trailed, 3-1 after two periods on Saturday, but unlike the night before, there would be no late heroics.
Neither team scored in the final stanza and the RedHawks fell at No. 7 North Dakota by that two-goal margin, splitting the weekend series.
Miami had scored five unanswered goals on Friday to pull off a 6-3 win. The loss snaps a five-game winning streak and six-game unbeaten stretch.
UND got on the board first, as Zach Yon took advantage of a turnover, fed ahead to Dixon Bowen who separated from his defenseman, skated wide toward to net and beat RedHawks goalie Ryan Larkin just 3:00 into the game.
Miami (8-9-5) answered 44 seconds later, as Josh Melnick stole the puck along the boards and kicked it out to Carson Meyer in the high slot, who threw a pass to Anthony Louis at the side of the net for a one-time tap in.
North Dakota (13-7-3) went ahead for good when Shane Gersich entered the zone and sent a pass to Tyson Jost, who slid one across the slot to Austin Poganski for a tap-in with 11:36 left in the opening frame.
UND scored the final goal shorthanded, as Joel Janatuinen stripped Louis in the Miami defensive zone and dropped a pass to Rhett Gardner, who whipped one past Larkin with 15:47 remaining in the middle stanza.
North Dakota dominated in shots, 34-15, reaching double digits each period while holding the RedHawks to six or fewer in all three frames.
Louis’ goal gives him a seven-point point streak, the longest by any Miami player this season. He now has 115 career points, tied for 35th with Marty Guerin and Bobby Marshall on the all-time list.
Melnick has picked up points in six straight games, with five markers and four assists in that span.
The RedHawks fell into a tie for sixth in the NCHC with St. Cloud – as both have 16 points – and they slipped one spot to 21st in the PairWise rankings.
Miami heads will head to Nebraska-Omaha for two games next weekend.
It would have been hard to imagine anyone saying what a strong third-period team Miami is during the team’s 10-game winless streak earlier this season.
That’s exactly what the RedHawks are at present, with a five-goal third period solidifying that assessment in a 6-3 win at No. 7 North Dakota on Friday.
To revisit after this win: Miami was outscored, 14-3 in the final stanza during its skid. The RedHawks (8-8-5) have lit the lamp 18 times in the third period and overtime during their winning streak.
Their opponents? Twice.
Neither a psychologist nor a hockey coach, so this is speculation based on observation, but two of the key reasons for the turnaround late in games are better stamina and better confidence.
We’ve said repeatedly that youth is not an excuse for that miserable 3-8-5 start, but it definitely seems like this team is in better hockey shape than it was in November.
Getting acclimated to the program for the younger players has likely helped, as college is obviously a big jump from the NAHL and USHL.
The team looks more confident in every aspect, from warm-ups to the final horn. Of course that’s a chicken-and-egg argument, as winning wields confidence, which wields wins, etc.
One of the best things about this win is it comes without a caveat.
With Colorado College, it was yeah but Miami should beat Colorado College. Then it was Ohio State, and yeah but OSU plays in the weaker Big Ten. Then St. Cloud’s ‘yeah but’ was that the team was struggling a bit and the games were in Oxford.
There’s never a ‘yeah but’ with a win in Grand Forks. Ever.
– As one following the game from 1,000-plus miles away, it got to 3-1 and the mentality went to, oh well, try for the split tomorrow. Let’s face it, that was and still is the realistic goal of this weekend anyway. Miami already has that and is playing with house money on Saturday. That said, a sweep is obviously a possibility now, but expect North Dakota to come out like the early-80s Islanders teams in the first period.
– When we first evaluated Miami’s record after the team fell to 3-8-5 (hey, maybe that’s the reason for the 5-0-1 run, viva Blog of Brotherhood!), it was looking like the team would have to go at minimum 13-5 the rest of the way to get to 16-13-5 and warrant consideration for an NCAA at-large. Now it’s 8-5, which seems much more doable, especially the way the RedHawks are playing. But the rest of the schedule is a murderer’s row of elite teams: Three more against UND (12-7-3) – Saturday in Grand Forks and a pair in Oxford to close out the regular season – two in Omaha, two in St. Cloud, two in Duluth and two at home against Western Michigan and Denver, both top-10 teams. There’s certainly reason for optimism but Miami is still paying the price for that awful start.
– Coinciding with Miami’s wins is the team’s rejuvenated power play. The RedHawks were held without a PPG for six straight games but have netted goals on the man advantage in four straight contests, scoring five in that stretch.
– Gordie Green has four points in four games after recording that many in the first 17. If we had to pick a most-improved player from October to now, he would certainly be one of the top candidates. He scored the first goal of the game on Friday. He scored once in those first 17 games but has found the net three times in the last four. Miami welcomes those contributions, because…
– On that note, this team is still incredibly top-heavy in terms of points. Forward leaders: Anthony Louis 27, Kiefer Sherwood 25, Josh Melnick 19, Carson Meyer 19, Green 8, then the next highest is five. So after the top two lines and No. 1 power play unit Miami’s offense is nearly non-existent.
The comeback at Ohio State seemed impressive, but Miami topped that on Friday.
After falling behind by two, the RedHawks scored five unanswered goals to beat No. 7 North Dakota, 6-3 at Ralph Engelstad Arena, extending their winning streak to five games and their stretch of unbeaten contests to six.
Miami (8-8-5) was down, 3-1 entering the third period, with its lone goal coming by Gordie Green 3:30 into the game on a shot by Zach Lavelle that deflected off Green’s skate at the side of the net.
Anthony Louis cut the deficit to one just 55 seconds into the final stanza when he slammed a loose puck home from the top of the crease.
The RedHawks tied it 4:03 into that frame when Carson Meyer took a pass on the right wing, skated in alone and backhanded it home.
Thanks to a similar set-up, Karch Bachman got behind the defense at the same spot, took it in and scored on the forehard to make it 4-3 with 12:11 left in regulation.
After a North Dakota (12-7-3) goalie change, Ryan Siroky stickhandled at the top the crease and shoveled one through the five hole with 8:59, extending Miami’s lead to two.
Miami took advantage of a major power play, as Louie Belpedio ripped one from the blue line to cap off the scoring onslaught with 4:02 to play.
Belpedio ended the night with a game-high three points on a goal and two assists. Louis finished with a marker and a helper, with Kiefer Sherwood and Josh Melnick also adding two points on a pair of assists.
Several RedHawks extended points streaks. Louis and Sherwood have recorded points in six straight, with Louis going 3-6-9 and Sherwood recording a 4-6-10 line in that span.
Louis has three straight multi-point games and moved into a tie with Andy Greene and Andy Cozzi for 37th on the team’s all-time points leaderboard with 114.
Melnick has tallied points in five games in a row, scoring five times and picking up three helpers. Belpedio has six points in three games.
With the win, the RedHawks jumped eight spots in the PairWise to 20th. Miami remains tied for fifth in the NCHC but has two games in hand over St. Cloud State, as both teams have 16 points.
North Dakota and Western Michigan are just one point ahead of the pair.
Miami and UND wrap up the weekend series at 8:07 p.m. on Saturday.
North Dakota topped the conference standings and claimed its eighth national championship, its first in 16 years.
UND finished with an impressive 19-4-1 in the NCHC, including a pair of wins in two meetings vs. Miami, and ended the season 34-6-4 overall.
A good portion of that NCAA title team will return for 2016-17, as the now-named Fighting Hawks will again one of the teams to beat in the NCHC.
NCAA TITLES: 8 (1959, 1963, 1980, 1982, 1987, 1997, 2000, and 2016).
COACH: Brad Berry (34-6-4, .818, 2nd season).
2015-16 RECORD: 34-6-4 (19-4-1 in NCHC, 1st place in the league).
POSTSEASON RESULT: Defeated Quinnipiac, 5-1 in the NCAA championship.
RINK (capacity): Ralph Engelstad Arena, Grand Forks, North Dakota (11,643).
LAST SEASON VS. MIAMI: 2-0 (Nov. 13-14. ND 6-2 and 4-3 in OT in Grand Forks).
ALL-TIME SERIES: North Dakota, 9-4-1 (.692).
SCHEDULE VS. MIAMI: At North Dakota Jan. 13-14. In Oxford Mar. 3-4.
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: So. F Brock Boeser (35th overall pick by VAN), Jr. G Cam Johnson, F Rhett Gardner.
KEY NEW FACE: F Tyson Jost (1st round pick, 10th overall in 2016 by COL).
NOTES: UND has been consistent the past three seasons, finishing second, first, and first in the NCHC.
North Dakota was led by NCHC rookie of the year – forward Brock Boeser – who paved the way in goals, racking up 27 in 42 games. The Fighting Hawks lose a clutch scorer in Drake Caggiula, who has graduated, as he mustered seven game-winning goals a season ago.
Forward Austin Pogansk returns in Kelly green and white, having ranked in the top five on the team in points, lighting the lamp 10 times.
The Fighting Hawks bring back two-time captain, senior Gage Ausmus, who didn’t find the back of net, however, Gage did provide 11 assist for UND. Junior defenseman Tucker Poolman was second among all blueliners with 24 points, scoring five goals paired with 19 assists.
North Dakota looks the same in net, sending Cam Johnson between the pipes. In 34 games played, Johnson dominated with a 24-4-2 record with a 1.66 GAA with five shutouts.
Tyson Jost adds depth to an already stacked UND lineup. The Alberta native was captain of Canada’s under 18-team. The 18 year old has top-6 level potential at the next level.
UND lose scorers Drake Caggiula (25-26-51) and F Nick Schmaltz (11-35-46), as well as defenseman Troy Stecher and Paul LaDue. Still, the Fighting Hawks have 10 NHL draft picks on the 2016-17 roster.
North Dakota will enjoy be returning 18 players from last season’s championship roster, including all four goalies. UND will be a tough opponent on any team’s schedule, as the Fighting Hawks are looking to return to the Frozen Four, which shifts to the United Center in Chicago.
Here’s an interesting article about the end of the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo. Apparently, today is the beginning of the transitional period where the law in the state of North Dakota that protected the nickname has ended and the transition to a new name will officially begin.
We at Miami remember how that worked for this university as the athletic teams were stripped of the “Redskins” nickname and old Indian-head logo, and played basically as the “Red and White” for a year or so until the RedHawks name was settled upon. But, the true transition took years. In fact, Miami was initially asked to drop the Redskins name by the Miami tribe in the early 1970s, but of course the school did not comply until 1996, and it didn’t disappear from Miami’s athletic teams until the end of the following year.
And, just earlier this year, Miami issued a statement saying the old logo could no longer be used or sold on merchandise, even though it had been updated to conform with the new “block M” logo and even still hung in Steve Cady Arena (thanks Happy Girl) until the beginning of the season. So, though Miami officially changed the nickname 15 years ago, you can still purchase a T-shirt with it in Oxford shops or online until at least the current supply of such merchandise is exhausted. In other words, until very recently, you could find the Indian-head logo on or around campus without much difficulty. But, it sounds now like that will be a thing of the past.
The point for Fighting Sioux fans and alums is to embrace change knowing it’s going to take time for events to unfold. And, as an alum of a school that’s already gone through such drastic change, at the end of the day, it’s still going to be North Dakota just as Miami has, and always will be, Miami University. If you can’t get past that, then perhaps you should reevaluate your relationship with your school. And, that’s something I’ve said to Miami fans and alums just the same.
For the record, the name of this blog is not intended to demonstrate support for the old nickname, but rather, honor the tradition of the university’s athletic programs by using the old nickname as a reminder of how far the hockey program has come over the past 30+ years. The writers and editors of Redskin Warriors each fully supported the name change and have no ongoing concerns or delusions of grandeur about it. The name Redskin Warriors is not politically motivated in any way, shape or form.