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Meyer latest to leave Miami

Carson Meyer is leaving Miami University, according to a story by The Athletic, and said a tapeworm is to blame for his struggles the past season-plus.

Miami’s Carson Meyer (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

He is “hoping to transfer to Ohio State”, the piece said, adding that “there were issues with the coaching staff, specifically coach Rico Blasi, that Meyer doesn’t want to discuss publicly”.

On Feb. 27, the Columbus Blue Jackets draft pick discharged a 25-inch tapeworm, according to his mother, Holly, and Carson’s mental and physical health has been much better since.

Meyer recorded 22 points in his first 19 games during his freshman season but posted just 14 in his final 47, including a 6-4-10 sophomore campaign in which he went minus-22.

(Here’s a link to The Athletic’s story, which is behind a Paywall: https://theathletic.com/362923/2018/05/22/absolutely-freaking-out-blue-jackets-prospect-carson-meyer-and-the-parasite-that-ruined-his-season/)

Carson’s departure from Oxford brings the number of team defectors to six this off-season. Fellow Columbus-area native Kiefer Sherwood turned pro, and a story in March stated that four other players are not expected back.

Willie Knierim is one of them, as he annouced via Twitter he is returning to Dubuque of the USHL, and it became known that brothers Alex and Austin Alger would not return when they did not attend the team’s awards banquet last month.

The fourth was not an impact player in 2017-18.

The team has typically released its roster for the following season in late spring.

That leaves just 15 skaters from last season expected to take the ice for Miami this fall, and only three recruits have officially signed National Letters of Intent to join the team in 2018-19.

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Photos: Miami at Ohio State

Images for the game between Miami and Ohio State played at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio, on Dec. 31, 2016. All images by Cathy Lachmann.

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Miami nets 4 late to top Ohio State

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The last couple months of 2016 had not gone well for Miami.

But the RedHawks ended the calendar year with their first four-goal period of the season, with all of them coming in the final eight minutes of regulation in a 6-3 comeback win at Ohio State on Saturday.

Miami suffered through a 10-game winless streak earlier this season and entered play averaging just over two goals a game.

While this game’s final 20 minutes were memorable for the RedHawks, the first stanza did not go their way.

Nine seconds in, the Buckeyes’ Tommy Perran wristed a shot in from behind the red line that skipped past Miami goalie Ryan Larkin.

Ohio State made it 2-0 at the 9:17 mark of the opening period when Mason Jobst stripped Miami defenseman Louie Belpedio and backhanded one past Larkin.

But the RedHawks cut the lead in half with five seconds left in that frame when Josh Melnick whipped a shot from the blue line just under the crossbar.

Miami tied the score less than two minutes into the second period when Anthony Louis slid a pass from the slot to Carson Meyer for a one-time blast that hit net.

The Buckeyes regained the lead late in the second period when a RedHawks penalty kill clear attempt was corralled by David Gust, who skated across the crease and fired one home.

The score remained 3-2 Ohio State until the 12:03 mark of the third period, when Gordie Green ripped a one-time pass from Willie Knierim home on the power play.

Miami forward Kiefer Sherwood (photo by Cathy Lachmann).

Miami forward Kiefer Sherwood (photo by Cathy Lachmann).

Miami finally took the lead with 5:16 remaining, as Zach LaValle made a self-pass along the boards in the neutral zone, setting up a 2-on-1. He passed to Kiefer Sherwood, who buried one from the faceoff dot.

Fifty-three seconds later Sherwood extended the RedHawks’ lead to two, as he was left alone in the high slot and ripped a shot off a centering feed by LaValle.

RedHawks defenseman Scott Dornbrock capped the scoring with an empty netter 1:18 later.

Sherwood, Green, Meyer and LaValle finished with two points apiece. Sherwood scored twice, Green and Meyer ended the night with a goal and an assist each and LaValle picked up a pair of helpers.

Miami hosts St. Cloud State on Jan. 6-7.

Photos: Ohio State at Miami

Images from the Ohio State at Miami game played on Oct. 15, 2016 at Cady Arena in Oxford, Ohio. All photos by Cathy Lachmann/BoB.

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Analysis: Miami solid in home debut

OXFORD, Ohio – Miami fans have been through the early-season Ohio State litmus test before.

Beat up on the woeful Buckeyes, inspire the team and fanbase with hope only to see that gauge prove wrong once the RedHawks face stiffer conference competition later in the season.

But Saturday was different. Miami didn’t beat the Buckeyes, tying them 1-1 at Cady Arena in their home opener, and yet this game gave those in attendance a better understanding of where the RedHawks are than most previous meetings with OSU with a freshman-laden team.

The reason is: Ohio State is a lot better than it has been in recent seasons.

Entering play at 1-0-1 including a win at then-No. 3 Denver, this edition of the Buckeyes has speed and can move the puck. These essential attributes were severely lacking as recently as last October.

This was an entertaining game to watch, more from a purist fan perspective than a casual fan one, as these teams did those unsexy things like backcheck, get sticks in lanes and shut down shooting lanes.

But there was still plenty of fast-paced, end-to-end action that is sometimes lacking in October contests as teams are still trying to build chemistry.

Miami started sluggishly, with a bad turnover at its own blue line by sophomore Kiefer Sherwood ultimately ending up in his own net five minutes in. The team looked nervous on its home ice.

The RedHawks were much improved in the second and third periods, although OSU owned overtime.

No one knew what this team would look like when it actually hit the ice this month: Not the fans, media, coaches or even the players themselves. Now after three games we all have a better idea.

There is certainly plenty of room for improvement for Miami, but if Saturday is any indication – and this game vs. Ohio State is a much better barometer than those Buckeyes matchups in the past – there is cause for optimism among those who root for this team.

Other thoughts…

Miami forward Karch Bachman (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

Miami forward Karch Bachman (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

– First, it’s really hard to evaluate nine freshman in a 65-minute game when you haven’t seen seven of them play before. The overall impression was that one skater really stood out: Karch Bachman. Bachman, who is a Florida Panthers draftee, has excellent speed and a nose for the net. He was placed on Sherwood’s line, and the two worked exceptionally well together, with Sherwood lobbing outlet passes to him and Bachman using his speed to track them down. It should be a lot of fun watching these two develop together if they remain linemates.

Gordie Green and Carson Meyer also impressed among the new forwards. Green is small but seems to do everything, from playmaking to puckhandling to defending. Meyer appears poised to make his mark in the scoring column, as he displayed his missile of a shot a couple of times. He scored 32 times in his first full season in the USHL in 2015-16.

Miami used three freshman on defense, and none were terribly noticeable, but that’s meant as a compliment because blueliners often have their names called after making mistakes.

And we can’t forget to mention Ryan Larkin. His Cady Arena debut was quite impressive, with his rebound shot save in overtime and breakaway stop in the third period. Coach Enrico Blasi has started the season by giving the backups a start in the first couple of games most years, and it speaks to what Blasi thinks of Larkin that the netminder has been the lone goalie in net for the RedHawks through three games.

– It truly is a game of inches. Sherwood hit a crossbar and Bachman rang one off the post, both on excellent scoring chances. If those two remain together they’re going to be a force on this team.

– Talk about a game of highs and lows for new captain and junior defenseman Louie Belpedio. Belpedio looked flat-out lost on the ice in the first period, committing multiple egregious turnovers and handling the puck poorly early. But his second-period laser from the high slot resulted in MU’s only goal, and he appeared to settle down dramatically after the first 20 minutes. It was his first game as team captain on home ice, and that role has hindered the past two Miami players to wear the ‘C’ early in the season.

– [rant] For the love of God, can we please not have 3-on-3 and skills contests when they mean nothing? They’re passable at best during conference play, but Saturday they served no purpose other than to confuse fans and unnecessarily have players risk injury and/or suspension.

So after five minutes of 5-on-5 overtime, the game was officially a tie. Miami and Ohio State are no longer in the same conference, so shake hands and call it a night, right?

Nope. The teams skated three a side for five minutes – perhaps for fun? – and then participated in an abbreviated shootout, which supposedly the Buckeyes won.

The purpose is clear: College hockey wants winners and losers in each game, and the NCAA is slowly working toward that goal or at least is evaluating its current system. We get that.

But the major problem is that fans who don’t live and breathe with their teams don’t have a clue what’s going on. For decades hockey has been all about trying to grow the game, which is really tough with such nuanced rules. Why confuse your fans about the most important aspect of the game: The decision?

One knowledgeable fan asked me after the 5-on-5 if the game was officially over for NCAA purposes. I said I thought so but wasn’t 100 percent sure. Another fan asked that fan, who said that was just what he asked me.

One fan walked out during the 3-on-3, telling the ushers there was no point in watching since it meant nothing. Ninety-plus percent of the crowd either didn’t get that or didn’t care, wanting to watch the 3-on-3.

And make no mistake, the 3-on-3 isn’t the issue, it’s that it meant nothing and the fact that’s a tough message to get out to the masses. To Miami’s credit, it was made clear over the PA.

Either have college hockey’s governing body sanction 3-on-3 and shootouts or don’t. The sport and those who love to watch it deserve better than we’re-going-to-determine-a-winner-one-way-or-another-and-oops-Ohio-State-won-nope-just-kidding.

We’ve said it before: The NHL is certainly not a model of rules excellence, but it has it right with 4-on-4 overtimes. If that doesn’t determine a winner, it wasn’t meant to be. Or go to 3-on-3 after that. Those two sessions would determine winners 80 percent of the time. But two things: 1) Unlike last night, let’s be consistent and up front about the format from year to year and get rid of meaningless demonstrations to determine a “winner”, and 2) if we’re going to play 10 minutes of extra hockey when the temperature reaches the mid-80s in southern Ohio, can we please scrape the ice first?

But as the rules currently stand, the game should have been over after the five-minute 5-on-5 overtime. From the NCAA’s perspective it was. Why should fans who paid good money walk away from the rink unclear about that fact? [/rant]

– Speaking of fans, they were great. The students were on mid-term break, but it was still a loud crowd. Let’s hope that continues, and based on Miami’s level of play it should.

GRADES

Ah yes, with mid-terms come grades. As we have the past few seasons for games we attend, we evaluate the play of each facet of Miami’s lineup.

FORWARDS: C. They didn’t score a single goal but the season is a process, especially with all of the rookies. There was a lot to like in the line combinations, especially the Sherwood-Bachman combination with Green on the right wing. Anthony Louis showed a lot of life on the first line with Josh Melnick, who never seems to have an off game, and Carson Meyer gives the former two a sniper to finish. Conor Lemirande really seemed to step his play up, as he carried the puck more and was effective in both ends of the ice, using his huge frame.

DEFENSEMEN: B. The three freshmen did their jobs by not making a splash. Grant Hutton and Scott Dornbrock both looked like they may take another step forward this season, and Belpedio was at times the best and at other times the worst among this corps. Hopefully his first period was just the result of new captain jitters.

GOALTENDING: A. Well, Larkin made a couple thousand new fans, especially since he made his overtime rebound-shot save in front of the most boisterous fans in the student section. It was just one game but the kid looks like the real deal: Watching him away from the puck he appears to have great anticipation of where the puck is going and is athletic enough to position himself perfectly in order to squelch any scoring threats.

LINEUP CHANGES: How about this for Game 3: Blasi’s starting 19 were the same as in Game 2.

One surprise was that goalie Chase Munroe was a scratch, and Andrew Masters was the backup. Masters was expected to be the third goalie after committing late last school year.

Miami is light up front, with Alex Alger and injured Christian Mohs being the only scratches there, and Colin Sullivan and Grant Frederic sat among the blueline corps.

Miami ties OSU to open home slate

OXFORD, Ohio – Ryan Larkin deserved better than a tie.

The Miami freshman goalie stopped 23 of 24 shots including multiple point-blank chances late as the RedHawks and Ohio State finished even at one in Miami’s 2016-17 home opener at Cady Arena on Saturday.

Larkin, who has been the lone goalie to log minutes for MU this season, denied a breakaway in the third period, and after making the initial save on an overtime rip, he stretched to his right to cover the post, narrowing denying a rebound shot from the side of the net.

After allowing four goals in Miami’s season opener in Providence, Larkin has stopped 43 of 45 shots (.956), surrendering just two goals in 124:58 for a 0.96 goals-against average in his last two outings.

The Buckeyes (1-0-2) struck first when David Gust slammed home a rebound after Larkin had stopped a shot from the high slot by Dakota Joshua just 4:32 into the first period.

Miami goalie Ryan Larkin made this third-period save to preserve the tie (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

Miami goalie Ryan Larkin made this third-period save to preserve the tie (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

The RedHawks (1-1-1) tied it on a 5-on-3 when junior defenseman Louie Belpedio ripped a shot that beat OSU goalie Matt Tomkins just inside the far post 4:11 into the second period.

Miami hit a pair of posts on quality scoring chances, one off the crossbar by sophomore Kiefer Sherwood in the middle stanza and another by freshman Karch Bachman that rang off the far post late in the final frame.

Ohio State dominated the overtime, outshooting the RedHawks, 4-1 and spending 1:59 on the power play.

After overtime, the teams played an exhibition 3-on-3 to no avail, and finally the Buckeyes won a shootout that also did not have any bearing on the standings or rankings.

Belpedio and Sherwood, who picked up an assist on Belpedio’s goal, lead the team with three points each. Senior forward Anthony Louis also picked up a helper, his first point of the season.

Miami has scored six goals in three games this season, and all have come on the power play. All of its contests to this point have been decided by one goal or zero.

The RedHawks host Maine next weekend, with faceoffs slated for 7:35 p.m. on Friday and 7:05 p.m. on Saturday.

Preview: Ohio State at Miami

WHO: No. 19 Ohio State Buckeyes (1-0-1) at Miami RedHawks (1-1).

WHERE: Cady Arena, Oxford, Ohio.

WHEN: Saturday–8:05 p.m.

TV: None.

NOTES: Miami has dominated this series in recent years, but Ohio State is ranked No. 15 in the USA Today poll and 19th in the USCHO.com rankings.

The Buckeyes are coming off a 3-2 win over then-No. 3 Denver in Denver and a 3-3 tie vs. Air Force in the Ice Breaker last weekend.

Defenseman Matt Joyaux is a Miami transfer (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

Defenseman Matt Joyaux is a Miami transfer (photo by Cathy Lachmann/BoB).

OSU put 82 shots on net last weekend, including 49 vs. Air Force. John Wiitala scored a pair of goals, and five other players also picked up two points, including RedHawks transfer and defenseman Matt Joyaux.

Senior Christian Frey started both games in net last weekend, but classmate Matt Tomkins relieved him in the second game, stopping all 10 shots to salvage the tie.

Based on that, it would appear likely Tomkins would start between the pipes in this game. He is 16-21-5 with a 3.24 goals-against average for Ohio State. He has struggled vs. Miami with a 4.05 GAA in four games while Frey allowed two goals in his lone appearance vs. the RedHawks.

The Buckeyes are a balanced team in terms of class size, with seven seniors, seven juniors, nine sophomores and five freshmen. Three rookies played in both games last weekend and another dressed once.

Miami has won seven straight games against Ohio State and is 11-1-1 in its last 13 in this series, including a 4-0 record at Cady Arena since the 2013-14 season.

Overall, the RedHawks are 75-62-13 vs. OSU and 46-22-4 in Oxford.

Normally these teams play a home-and-home series the same weekend, but this season they meet in Columbus on New Year’s Eve, likely to break up a long Christmas break for both.

Analysis: MU succeeding without vet scoring

OXFORD, Ohio – A 2-1-1 record to start the season with one point from Anthony Louis and Sean Kuraly you say?

As Miami fans, yeah, we’ll take it.

The RedHawks’ two top returning scorers are off to slow starts offensively, but the RedHawks (2-1-1) swept Ohio State this weekend, 3-2 in Columbus and 3-1 in Oxford the following night with five of its goals coming by freshmen.

Rookies have potted seven of 11 Miami goals for the season. Four of the five freshmen forwards have found the net in the team’s first four games.

Miami's Jack Roslovic (photo by Cathy Lachmann).

Miami’s Jack Roslovic (photo by Cathy Lachmann).

Beyond Jack Roslovic, it was unclear entering the season how much newbies would contribute offensively to a forward corps that had lost Austin Czarnik, Riley Barber and Blake Coleman among others. But at least for two weekends, the answer is significantly.

Overall, Miami hasn’t set the world on fire from a scoring perspective, averaging 2.75 goals per game. But the RedHawks missed several Grade A scoring chances in the first period alone on Friday and had multiple chances on Saturday it should’ve cashed in.

MU finished the finale with 41 shots on goal and missed the net a number of times.

There is cause for optimism regarding this team’s offensive potential. The RedHawks are holding their own during what most knew would be a transition process with numerous new faces taking over the jobs of established studs.

If they have been able to hold their own during their growing pains without contributions from Kuraly or Louis, just wait until those two hit their strides.

And they will hit their strides, hopefully very soon.

Other thoughts on Saturday:

– This was the best all-around game Roslovic has played. He engaged in battles along the boards and was generally more of a presence on the ice than in the previous games. Roslovic also showed more of ability to make defenders look silly as he can seemingly skate around them at will, a feat made even more amazing considering he is still just 18. That won’t fly at higher levels, or even against better college opponents, but he is certainly showing everyone why he was a first-round pick this summer.

– Sherwood seems to get better every game. He blew up in the USHL last season, scoring 29 goals after netting 13 the previous season, so hopefully that will translate at this level – it certainly did on Friday when he picked the top corner on his first college goal. And it looks like he could do more, as he engages physically and appears capable of playing both ways. Josh Melnick and Roslovic have been the obvious standouts early, but Sherwood looks like he may develop into a very good player for Miami as well.

– The power play was 1,000 percent better on Saturday than Friday. Yes, Miami went 2-for-5, but beyond that, the puck movement was outstanding and the communication appeared much improved. The first unit could be devastating to opponents this season with Roslovic-Melnick-Louis-Kuraly-Belpedio, and its makeshift second unit scored the final goal on Saturday, with Zach LaValle finding the net.

– Miami’s four-game road stand will be difficult but should provide a bonding opportunity and could make the team better overall. At least the RedHawks get their feet wet on a real road trip – not like Ohio State, which was an up-and-back drive with more Miami fans than OSU fans in attendance – before opening conference play in two weeks.

GRADES

FORWARDS: B+. At this point of the season, improvement is more vital than results, and the improvement is there. The freshmen are getting better. Louis played well but only had a point, and many more will follow. Kuraly has struggled at times early but appears ready to break out. If either Kevin Morris or Alex Gacek ever find the net they may be unstoppable – both have done everything right except finish in the first four games. Overall, this unit fired a ton of shots and missed the net a bunch more. They played pretty well defensively as well, but the competition will get a lot stiffer very soon.

DEFENSEMEN: A. This unit made mistakes the first three games, and many were costly. That really didn’t happen on Saturday. We mentioned Louis and Kuraly and how they will get going eventually, and Louie Belpedio belongs on that list as well. His best hockey is yet to come. Senior Matthew Caito was outstanding, as he shut down seemingly every OSU threat on his watch, and classmate Chris Joyaux is playing some of the best defense of his career right now. Like with the forwards, the process is in place, which is very encouraging, and the opponents will get better from this point forward.

Miami goalie Ryan McKay (photo by Cathy Lachmann).

Miami goalie Ryan McKay (photo by Cathy Lachmann).

GOALTENDING: A. Senior Ryan McKay hasn’t played a lot of back-to-back nights, but he shined in this one. He appeared to be screened on the only goal against, and he had to shut down a couple of high-percentage chances, including a breakaway. McKay finished 27 of 28 (.964) on the night and 52-for-55 (.945) on the weekend. This team’s prospects are a lot higher if McKay can continue to play at this level.

LINEUP CHANGES: Senior Michael Mooney was back in at forward on Saturday, replacing junior Devin Loe, who did not have a point in his first three games. On defense, sophomore Scott Dornbrock was scratched for the second time this season, as junior Colin Sullivan returned to the lineup sheet. McKay started for the third straight game.

Frosh help Miami complete Ohio St. sweep

OXFORD, Ohio — Miami’s youth continued to shine offensively on Saturday.

Freshmen scored all three of the RedHawks’ goals in a 3-1 win over Ohio State at Cady Arena in the series finale, a night after edging the Buckeyes in Columbus.

Forwards Josh Melnick, Jack Roslovic and Zach LaValle all found the net in the win, Miami’s sixth straight in its all-time series vs. OSU (0-4).

Roslovic set up Melnick’s goal to open the scoring when he whipped a cross-ice pass for a one-timer on the power play with 7:49 left in the first period.

Like Friday, after the RedHawks (2-1-1) took the initial lead, Ohio State tied it. A wrist shot from just inside the blue line by Mason Jobst eluded Miami senior goalie Ryan McKay 5:11 into the second period to make it 1-1.

Roslovic put the RedHawks ahead for good when he beat two defenders and roofed a shot with 6:04 left in the middle stanza. Melnick picked up the lone assist on that goal after a steal in the neutral zone.

Miami's Zach LaValle scores his first career goal to ice Saturday's game (photo by Cathy Lachmann).

Miami’s Zach LaValle scores his first career goal to ice Saturday’s game (photo by Cathy Lachmann).

LaValle jammed a rebound home off a shot by Kiefer Sherwood – another rookie – with 17:55 to play in regulation, sealing it. That goal also came on the man advantage, on which Miami finished 2-for-5.

Melnick and Roslovic finished with a goal and an assist each, as they are tied for the team lead with five points apiece.

Of the eight individual points earned by Miami in this game, six were by freshmen – two each by Melnick and Roslovic and one apiece by LaValle and Sherwood. Junior forward Anthony Louis and senior defenseman Matthew Caito also picked up assists.

Louis finished with nine of the RedHawks’ 41 shots.

McKay stopped 27 to earn the win for the second straight night.

The RedHawks’ first significant road trip of the season is this weekend, as they travel to St. Lawrence for a two-game set. Both games will be at 7 p.m.

Following those games, Miami travels to St. Cloud State to open NCHC play on Oct. 30-31.

Analysis: Win over OSU a morale booster

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Granted it wasn’t against a top-10 team, but getting into the win column has to be a huge moral victory for Miami, especially on a late game winner.

The RedHawks won their road opener at Ohio State, 3-2 at Value City Arena on Friday on a rebound goal by Columbus native Jack Roslovic with 1:33 left.

Miami has a plethora of new forwards this season, and many are in the starting lineup because of their abilities, and also with three extra skaters on the roster including one blueliner, it was obvious most or all of them were going to get the opportunity to play.

Seeing four of them into the points column in this game (Roslovic, Josh Melnick, Kiefer Sherwood, Ryan Siroky) had to be a mental boost for all of them, and getting that first win does everyone good.

The offense was a concern heading into this season, with so many ultra-talented players from 2014-15 departing. But this team has scored eight goals in three games, which is neither bad nor good, and better things are ahead for this team.

One can see the passes that just miss, the chemistry that is still developing, the shots that aren’t quite perfect enough to hit the net. And let’s face it, the Ohio State ice does not exactly rival Edmonton.

We’ll say it again: The defense will be fine. Heck, Colin Sullivan was scratched in this game and he scored a beautiful goal last Friday and made very few mistakes last weekend.

The goaltending? Two fourth-year starters there. Can’t get more experienced there in college.

With the 2015-16 team, the question is always been about scoring enough goals. Three games into the season, Miami is already scoring at an OK clip, and the offense should only improve.

Other thoughts:

– Can’t say enough about how much better senior Alex Gacek has been this season. He kills penalties, he passes, he hits people – which almost defies physics at his size – he defends, he’s doing pretty much everything. Gacek finished strong in 2014-15 and it was hoped that would carry over to this season, but he has exceeded those expectations.

– Also impressed with the step up taken by senior Kevin Morris. He’s been seemingly everywhere so far this season.

– On defense, senior Chris Joyaux seems to have taken a big step forward as well. He was scratched for the season opener last week but has really earned a spot in the lineup with his play since.

– Senior Taylor Richart has been shooting and generally getting involved in the offense a lot more, which is a good thing. He had a shot redirected into the net last week, and he was firing from the blue line again on Saturday and pinched into the play several times. He’s such a smart player that he can be trusted to pick his spots while jumping in without getting caught.

– How about that Crash Cousins line? Andrew Schmit scored the first goal, and the whole line of him, Conor Lemirande and Ryan Siroky played well together. On a team that really only has two scoring lines at present, it was great to see this trio step up.

– Let the controversy begin: Josh Melnick is the best overall forward on the team right now. He’s an absolute pest on the PK (and how much confidence does Coach Enrico Blasi have in him to put a freshman right into the mix on the top PK unit?), he passes incredibly well, he goes into corners and win battles, he scores, he defends very well and steals pucks. Three games in, this kid is the biggest story on the team, especially since everyone knew Roslovic was going to be unreal. Roslovic hasn’t disappointed, Melnick has just been that good. And oh yeah, that winning goal? Melnick made that happen with a picture-perfect centering feed to Morris from along the boards.

Miami forward Josh Melnick (photo by Cathy Lachmann).

Miami forward Josh Melnick (photo by Cathy Lachmann).

– The penalty killing has been excellent. Miami allowed just two shots on three man advantages and is now 12 of 13 (92.3 percent) early in the season. Again, defense, goaltending, not a surprise this is a strength for the RedHawks. Add in a rejuvenated Gacek and Morris, plus Melnick up top and this team could stay above 90 percent this season. The power play on the other hand…but that will get better. Let’s hope.

– Kudos to Miami fans and event organizers who helped get Red and White fans in the seats for this game. RedHawks fans easily outnumbered Ohio State fans in the Buckeyes’ own rink and made a lot of noise. It’s possible there were more Miami fans at this game than at either for opening weekend at Cady.

GRADES

FORWARDS: B. Miami missed some shots it should’ve buried early but got the big one from Roslovic when it needed it. In addition to the others mentioned above, Anthony Louis was more involved all around although he didn’t get on the scoresheet. Sherwood was OK in the opener, scratched for Game 2 and much more of a factor in this game. Overall there was a lot to like from this group, but the RedHawks’ opponent was nowhere near Providence level.

DEFENSEMEN: C. Belpedio fell into the boards with the puck, which directly resulted in the first goal against. On the second one, it looked like freshman Grant Hutton lost Anthony Greco as he skated to the net, resulting in the one-timer. Sophomore Scott Dornbrock, Joyaux and Belpedio all took penalties, and for the latter, that’s four minors in three games. Dornbrock struggled early but got better.

GOALTENDING: A-. McKay stopped 25 of 27 shots (.926) but after Belpedio slipped on the first goal, McKay was left out of position (he understandably couldn’t have anticipated Belpedio losing the puck there), and the second one was a point-blank one-time run he had no chance on. McKay didn’t face many other tough chances until the six minute of the third period, when Miami took a shift off and McKay had to make three great saves. He’s been very solid so far this season.

LINEUP CHANGES: Sherwood was dressed in place of senior Michael Mooney, and Dornbrock played in place of Sullivan. One could envision Blasi going with the same 12 forwards tonight, and which defenseman will sit is anyone’s guess, but Sullivan certainly should not be scratched every night. McKay started for the second straight game, which was interesting because Jay Williams was in net for the opener, so it’s unclear what Blasi will do for the finale. Knowing Blasi he won’t let Williams rot on the bench over one game, especially since numerous goals scored in that tilt weren’t his fault.