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Miami a seven seed after another loss

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.

Miami's Gordie Green goes in for a scoring chance on Friday (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

Miami’s Gordie Green goes in for a scoring chance on Friday (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

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 win streak ends in North Dakota

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

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

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.

Analysis: Third period turnaround, Part II

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.

Other thoughts…

– 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.

Miami's Gordie Green (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

Miami’s Gordie Green (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

– 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.

Miami shocks UND with 5 late goals

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's Louie Belpedio (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

Miami’s Louie Belpedio (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

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.

NCHC Snapshot: North Dakota

North Dakota topped the conference standings and claimed its eighth national championship, its first in 16 years.

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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.

North Dakota to Begin Transition Away from Fighting Sioux Nickname

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.

NOTE

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.