It truly was Groundhog Day for Miami.
On Feb. 2, a night after the RedHawks lost, 5-1 at No. 1 St. Cloud State, MU fell to the Huskies by an identical score at the Herb Brooks Center.
Gordie Green netted the only Miami goal, with 7:34 left in regulation and the RedHawks down by five.
Blake Lizotte scored twice and added an assist to pace St. Cloud State.
MU dropped its eighth straight game and is winless in its last 14 (0-10-4). Its losing streak is its longest since 1995.
Miami’s winless streak equals its second-longest in team history.
RECAP: For the second straight night, the Huskies wasted no time taking the lead.
At the 2:25 mark, Ryan Poehling dished a pass to a streaking Lizotte, who redirected the pass into the net from the top of the crease.
Jack Ahcan made it 2-0 less than four minutes later, wristing a shot past Miami goalie Ryan Larkin on the stick side off a centering feed from Patrick Newell.
Lizotte scored again with eight minutes left in the middle stanza, as he was left alone at the side of the net and tapped in a feed from Robbie Jackson.
That duo reversed roles less than five minutes later, as Lizotte kicked a pass out to Jackson, who was alone for a bad-angle one-timer even with the goal line, giving St. Cloud State a four-goal lead.
Nick Pervix extended the Huskies’ lead to five in the final minute of the second period, as he skated from behind the net and stuffed one past Larkin.
Miami scored its lone goal when Grant Hutton fired a shot that hit the stick of teammate Jonathan Gruden and ended up on the stick of Green, who roofed it from the slot.
STATS: Green’s goal was his 10th of the season, extending his team lead, and he is tied with Josh Melnick atop the RedHawks’ point leaderboard with 20.
He picked up a point for the second straight game, as did Grant Hutton, who earned the secondary assist.
— Gruden picked up the primary helper, his second point in three contests.
— Miami is 1-23-6 when pursuing its 10th win the past three seasons.
— The RedHawks were 0-13-1 in early 1985, and their worst-ever winless stretch was a 17-game, 0-16-1 skid in 1990-91.
— MU has given up the first goal in 12 straight games.
— St. Cloud State improved to 12-0 on its home ice.
THOUGHTS: It was Groundhog Day in terms of the score, but unlike Friday, St. Cloud State dominated the first 40 minutes.
Dominated probably isn’t a strong enough word. It looked like the Tampa Bay Lightning playing a Midget Minor team. The shots were 31-9 after two periods.
The Huskies took their foot off the gas in the third period, playing their third and fourth lines a significant amount, and they were less aggressive pushing the offensive tempo.
St. Cloud State played great and deserves credit but Miami made it a lot easier on the Huskies by again failing to cover opponents close to the net and failing to get defensive sticks in the lane.
SCSU also seemingly won every boards battle and was first to every loose puck.
It’s really hard to remain competitive under those conditions.
LINEUP CHANGES: Larkin was in net for the third time in seven games, and this was the first contest he has completed in that stretch.
Scott Corbett returned to the lineup after sitting out Saturday, and Zach LaValle did not dress.
STANDINGS: Miami fell to last in the NCHC, two points behind Omaha, which split vs. Western Michigan this weekend.
The RedHawks are 3-11-2 in the conference with 12 league points, two behind the Mavericks. They are 13 points out of fourth, which is the last home-ice spot for the NCHC Tournament.
Eight games remain in both the regular season and conference schedules.
Miami is now 38th in the PairWise.
SCHEDULE: The RedHawks host Omaha next weekend, then after a week off they face Denver and Minnesota-Duluth, both top five teams and both on the road, before wrapping up their regular season slate vs. Western Michigan in Oxford.
FINAL THOUGHTS: It was a tall order to earn points on this trip, but Miami didn’t come close, and with the RedHawks plummeting in the league standings, this is one of the teams they would have to beat on the road just to earn a berth in the Frozen Faceoff.
Realistically, MU now has very little chance of earning home ice for the first round of the NCHC Tournament, which means an extremely difficult road series just to advance to the conference semifinals.
And at No. 38 in the PairWise, Miami can forget about any chance of an at-large, even if somehow the team won out.
With their postseason fate somewhat sealed, that may take the pressure off the RedHawks somewhat, as they can concentrate more on getting better for the league tournament.
But this is the type of matchup that awaits when the regular season ends, it will be a sisyphean task for to earn a trip to Minneapolis in March and beyond.
For two periods, Miami remained competitive with the top-ranked team in Division I on the road.
The RedHawks were down just one goal after 40 minutes, but No. 1 St. Cloud State ran off three straight markers in the final frame to seal Miami’s 5-1 loss at the Herb Brooks Center on Friday.
Ryan Poehling, the Montréal Canadiens’ first-round pick in 2017, scored twice and added a pair of assists for the Huskies.
Grant Hutton netted the lone goal for Miami, which lost its seventh straight game and extended its winless streak to 13 (0-9-4).
RECAP: Just 38 seconds in the game, Jack Poehling slammed home a one-time feed from brother Ryan Poehling on a 2-on-1 to give St. Cloud State (19-4-2) the early lead.
Miami (9-14-4) appeared to have tied it midway through the period when Gordie Green stuffed a wraparound just inside the post, but it was ruled no goal on the ice and no conclusive angle showed the puck completely across the goal line.
The RedHawks legitimately evened the score when Hutton wound up at the top of the faceoff circle, pump faked and aimed a modified slap shot into the far corner of the net at the 2:22 mark of the second period.
But just 53 seconds later, the Huskies went ahead for good when Jimmy Schuldt ripped a one-timer inside the near post from the blue line on the power play.
Ryan Poehling made it 3-1 four minutes in the final stanza, as he played give-and-go with Blake Lizotte, who sent a return pass through the crease where it was shoveled into the back of the net by Poehling.
Ryan Poehling extended the Huskies’ lead to three when he skated through the Miami defense, went in alone and beat RedHawks goalie Jordan Uhelski glove side with 12:15 remaining in regulation.
Patrick Newell capped off the scoring with a turnaround wrister from the faceoff dot that hit off the inside of the far crossbar 1:16 to play.
STATS: Hutton’s goal was his second in three games. That moved him into third place unofficially on Miami’s all-time defenseman scorers list with 28 goals.
— Green snapped a string of five games without a point, as he picked up the primary assist.
— Josh Melnick, returning after a six-game injury absence, earned the secondary helper, giving him points in eight straight contests in which he has dressed.
It was career point No. 101 for Melnick, who tied Pat Leahy and Mitch Ganzak for 50th on the RedHawks’ career leaderboard.
THOUGHTS: Despite allowing a goal 38 seconds into the game, Miami played pretty well for 40 minutes, but St. Cloud State dominated the third.
The Huskies led for all but 91 seconds – the first 38 and 53 between Hutton’s goal and SCSU’s eventual game winner.
Defensively, the RedHawks have been sloppier lately, which has compounded the other woes that have culminated in this 2½-month winless streak.
St. Cloud State may be the most skilled all-around teams in Division I, and in the final 20 minutes the Huskies played like it.
— Green’s non-goal is tough for Miami, but there really wasn’t a definitive camera angle showing the puck completely across the line.
One suspects that the puck was completely on white ice at the furthest point goalie David Hrenak extended his glove, but that isn’t proof.
Had it initially been ruled a goal it almost certainly wouldn’t have been disallowed, so the call on the ice was going to the be final one either way.
Things like that seem to happen to struggling teams. At least Green picked up a point on Hutton’s goal.
— Melnick’s return was a blessing, as he did not appear any worse for wear due to his lower-body injury. Hopefully Miami’s offense will be rejuvenated with him healthy.
LINEUP CHANGES: Scott Corbett was scratched for the second time this season, and Brian Hawkinson sat for the first time in his career.
Melnick took one of those forward spots, and Zach LaValle dressed in the other after not dressing last Saturday.
It was Uhelski in net, making his fourth start in six games. He has played in six straight, relieving Ryan Larkin in both of his starts in that span.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The game was closer than the final score indicated, but a great college hockey team played great hockey and pulled away from a lesser squad.
Not much more to be said about this one.
It’s an unforgiving league, and one of the things BoB said was paramount to a solid Miami second half was not letting a losing streak snowball, and that’s exactly what has happened to the RedHawks since the start of 2019.
St. Cloud State and Miami played two dynamic games in Oxford that saw the RedHawks rally to tie both nights against the top-ranked team in Division I.
That was two months ago, and it feels more like two years. MU is 0-7-1 since and is riding a 12-game winless streak.
The Huskies may have left points on the table when visiting Miami but SCSU has been unbeatable at home. St. Cloud State is 10-0 at the Herb Brooks Center and has outscored its opponents, 43-14 in its home rink.
BoB takes a look at the upcoming series between these teams:
WHO: Miami RedHawks (9-13-4) at No. 1 St. Cloud State Huskies (18-4-2).
WHERE: Herb Brooks Center (5,519), St. Cloud, Minn.
WHEN: Friday – 8:07 p.m.; Saturday – 7:07 p.m.
ST. CLOUD STATE RADIO: KZRV-FM (96.7) and KVSC-FM (88.1), St. Cloud, Minn.
MIAMI RADIO: WKBV-AM (1490), Richmond, Ind.
NOTES: We talked about this two months ago: Few teams in college hockey can match St. Cloud State’s offense.
The Huskies lead the conference in scoring, averaging 3.75 goals per game, and they haven’t fattened up against a few weak opponents. They’ve netted at least four in 15 of their 24 contests.
SCSU’s depth is the envy of the NCAA. Seven skaters are averaging at least three-quarters of a point per game and 12 have points totals in double figures.
Among forwards, Patrick Newell is in a four-way tie atop the NCHC scoring leaderboard with 25 points on 12 goals and 13 assists.
Senior Robbie Jackson has a 10-12-22 line after finishing 15-27-42 last season. He has 103 career points with the Huskies.
Freshman Nolan Walker has been a huge addition for St. Cloud State, netting six goals and adding 15 helpers, and Blake Lizotte has scored eight times while picking up 11 assists.
Ryan Poehling, a first-round pick of Montreal in 2017, has a 3-15-18 line, and Easton Brodzinski and Kevin Fitzgerald have scored 10 goals each.
Jimmy Schuldt and Jack Ahcan share the team lead in defensemen points with 20 each.
Nick Perbix, a Tampa draft pick, is having a stellar rookie season for the Huskies, going 1-10-11 with a plus-15 rating that is tied for tops on the team.
David Hrenak, a Los Angeles Kings selection, has logged 1,031 minutes but has a .902 save percentage, and Jeff Smith has a .918 save percentage, and he relieved Hrenak in SCSU’s most recent 5-1 loss at North Dakota.
St. Cloud State has excelled not only at staying out of the box but not allowing goals when it is shorthanded. The Huskies have surrendered just eight goals on the man advantage on only 77 chances.
It’s unclear who will start in net for Miami. Jordan Uhelski has started three of the last five games and has relieved Ryan Larkin in the other two.
Larkin has been the regular starting goalie most of the season but has allowed 19 goals in his last five outings, including the two in which he was pulled.
The RedHawks are hoping Josh Melnick will return to the lineup for this weekend’s series. The team’s leading scorer with 19 points has missed the last six games with a lower body injury, and Miami is 0-6 with him out.
OXFORD, Ohio – It happened again.
Like Friday, every time No. 1 St. Cloud scored, Miami answered, resulting in a 2-2 tie in the series finale at Cady Arena on Saturday.
And this time, the RedHawks (9-6-3) picked up the extra conference point, as Josh Melnick batted home a one-timer in the 3-on-3.
Both teams were assessed a major and game misconduct courtesy of review, and each netted a goal because of the call.
On Friday, the teams tied, 4-4, with SCSU (11-1-2) earning the extra point in the shootout.
Miami, which has completed exactly half of its 36-game schedule, does not play again until a home exhibition vs. Guelph (Ont.) on Dec. 30. The RedHawks head to Providence on Jan. 3-4 for their next regular season action.
RECAP: Just 22 seconds into a major power play, St. Cloud’s Blake Lizotte beat goalie Jordan Uhelski in the slot with 5:10 left in the first period after a pass from teammate Easton Brodzinski caromed to him off a Miami skate.
The RedHawks tied it when a point-blank shot by Ryan Siroky pinballed through the crease to MU’s Casey Gilling, who chopped it across the goal line 5:46 into the middle stanza.
Just 22 seconds into the third period a puck floated loose at the side of the net following a wrister from the blue line, and Easton Brodzniak backhanded it home to put the Huskies ahead, 2-1.
Miami capped the scoring with exactly nine minutes left in regulation, as Scott Corbett tapped home a puck at the side of the net off a shot from the outside of the faceoff circle by Melnick.
After five minutes of overtime, the game was officially ruled a tie, and Melnick wired home a one-timer on the ensuing 3-on-3 to earn the RedHawks the extra point.
STATS: Rourke Russell led Miami with two points on a pair of assists. It was Russell’s second career multi-point game, with the other coming vs. Denver on March 2.
— Gilling and Corbett both scored for the second straight game. Gilling has four markers in his last seven.
— Miami flipped its woeful faceoff numbers from Friday, going 36-25 on draws led by a 17-11 record by Josh Melnick.
— Melnick’s assist was career point No. 99. He is one point away from becoming the 52nd skater in Miami history to record 100 points.
THOUGHTS: Basically copy and paste yesterday’s comments and multiply by two.
Miami has a crushingly long break coming up, so tying the top-ranked team in college hockey twice has to give the team serious momentum heading into Christmas break.
It was another amazing game to watch and another testament to the RedHawks’ resilience.
So for the weekend, St. Cloud scored six times, took six leads, and Miami answered each time.
Again, against the No. 1 team in college hockey.
— Ben Lown was absolutely everywhere in this game. He did it all – penalty kill, stick handling, passing, winning boards battles despite his diminutive size.
— So River Rymsha was assessed a cross checking major after a skirmish, and St. Cloud scored. Same happened when Jonathan Gruden was buried and a minor was flipped to a 5-and-10, resulting in Gilling’s goal.
This is the new norm for college hockey, so players need to remain on alert. Everything is reviewable, so don’t do anything your mother would disapprove of.
Don’t agree with giving players the boot for fringe majors but the bar has been set so players best keep their cool.
— Attendance was 2,615. Yep, for the top team in D-1. Come on, we can do better. Get to the rink for these all-important contests or give your tickets to someone close by who can make the games.
— Karch Bachman continued to generate scoring chances as a result of his speed. Several times this weekend Miami launched fly pattern passes to see if he can chase the puck down.
His power play passing was markedly improved in this one, as he occupied one of the points and tried to feed passes into the slot.
— Corbett had a strong weekend, scoring in both games and nearly adding another on a breakaway. His game is more physical, but his offense is welcome as he plays on the top line.
FORWARDS: B-. Not quite the offensive results from Friday but the effort was still there. Loved the effort from Lown, and Brian Hawkinson seemed to gravitate toward the puck as he generated three shots and blocked two.
DEFENSEMEN: B+. Helped cut the SCSU shots down to 30. Have we mentioned St. Cloud entered the weekend the top-ranked team in Division I?
GOALTENDING: A-. Uhelski was 22-for-23 the final 45 minutes and was a major reason Miami was able to earn a pair of ties this weekend.
LINEUP CHANGES: All 19 skaters from Friday were in the lineup again on Saturday.
Larkin was the lone change for the RedHawks, who started Uhelski in net.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This fall it has been more fun to come to the rink than it has been since 2014-15.
Players are holding their own against top-level competition, and this team is bonding better off the ice than in previous seasons.
It’s been an enjoyable first two months, and hopefully the RedHawks’ vigor will continue following an extended break.
OXFORD, Ohio – Four times Miami fell behind by a goal, and each time the RedHawks generated the equalizer against the top-ranked team in Division I.
Casey Gilling netted the tying goal as MU salvaged a 4-4 draw vs. No. 1 St. Cloud State at Cady Arena on Friday despite neither leading nor trailing by more than one.
The Huskies (11-1-1) did earn the extra conference point by winning the single-round shootout.
Making the tie even more impressive is goalie Ryan Larkin was injured midway through the first period and RedHawks (9-6-2) finished with backup Jordan Uhelski in net.
RECAP: It was an eventful first period, with both teams scoring three times including once each in the opening 77 seconds.
Robby Jackson put SCSU ahead at the 1:08 mark when he fired a shot from the slot that tricked through Larkin and across the goal line. Originally the call was no call, so play continued, but after the next whistle the play was reviewed a ruled a good goal.
Nine seconds later, Scott Corbett drove to the high slot and appeared to have his shot deflect off a defender’s stick and past goalie Jeff Smith on the glove side.
Josh Melnick won the center-ice draw and Gordie Green sprung Corbett loose by seizing the puck along the boards in traffic.
Jackson put St. Cloud ahead three minutes later when he ripped one from the high slot over the shoulder of Larkin on the power play.
An errant defensive-zone pass by the Huskies from the behind the net slid through the slot to a wide-open Monte Graham, who unloaded for the shorthanded tying goal to make it 2-2 just 80 seconds after St. Cloud State had regained the lead.
The Huskies ahead took a one-goal lead when Patrick Newell fed a pass through both Miami defensemen to Sam Hentges for a one-time rip from the inside edge of the faceoff circle with 6:26 left in the opening frame.
And once again Miami answered, as Gordie Green flipped a two-line pass that was chased by Karch Bachman, who took control of it at the blue line, took two strides and went top shelf just under the far crossbar from the left wing with 2:20 remaining in the first stanza.
The score remained 3-3 until late in the second period when Newell skated in along the left wing boards, cut to center ice – beating two Miami defenders in the process – and backhanding one in to give the Huskies the lead.
Gilling leveled it at four when he intercepted a clearing attempt, passed to himself on the near boards and whipped a bad-angle shot from the bottom of the faceoff circle with 7:06 remaining.
The remainder of regulation, the five-minute 5-on-5 overtime and the five-minute 3-on-3 session did not produce a goal for either side, and the Huskies picked up the third league point on a Jon Lizotte shootout goal after Gilling was denied on this attempt.
STATS: Green led Miami with two points, both on assists, giving him five multi-point games this season, and this was his second time with at least a pair of helpers.
— It was the first career goal for Graham, and the third in six games for Gilling after he was held scoreless through the first 11.
— Bachman has four markers in his last six contests as he moved into solo control of first on the team with seven.
— Melnick extended his points streak to a team-high four games, and he is 2-3-5 in that stretch. That gives him 98 for his career, with 34 goals and 64 assists.
— Uhelski finished with a RedHawks career-high 31 saves despite coming on in relief. He had three previous starts for Miami but had never stopped more than 24.
— Miami ended the game 0-for-3 on the power play and killed off just one of three SCSU chances. However, the RedHawks did notch a shorthanded goal.
— Despite not winning, St. Cloud State dominated in a couple of key areas. The Huskies were 48-22 on faceoffs and led on the shot counter, 44-30 including 32-17 in the first 40 minutes.
Miami actually led in SOG the final 25 minutes, 13-12.
Here’s the difference in shots: SCSU blocked 22, the RedHawks just eight. Jimmy Schuldt of the Huskies rejected seven himself.
THOUGHTS: Although Miami fell short of a win, this is a huge boost for the program.
Although the process for a young hockey team is more important than the results, the result was a tie vs. the No. 1 team in college hockey three months after conference media slated the RedHawks the worst team in the league.
And the way Miami did it showed the process is working.
The RedHawks weren’t as talented as St. Cloud State, not as deep, not as fast, not as skilled at puck possession.
Miami was shorthanded three times in the first period and lost its starting goalie to an injury less than 10 minutes in. Yet every time the Huskies found the net, the RedHawks answered.
A minute in SCSU scored. Nine seconds later, tie game. Then a minute after the second goal, same. A third time later in the period, all while seemingly nothing was going the RedHawks’ way.
The process has put the team at the threshold of being a really good team just nine months after Miami Marchmageddon.
It’s not just that the RedHawks tied the No. 1 team in the NCAA, playing for the ninth straight weekend, it’s that they are playing the game the right way. Playing physical, battling for pucks along the boards, taking smart angles defensively, getting solid efforts from goaltenders every night.
Playing to the final whistle regardless of the score.
Miami is very close to becoming a power player in this league again.
— Uhelski. Had to come off the bench cold after Larkin’s injury, and all he did was turn 31 of 33 shots aside including back-to-back point-blank chances at the top of the crease and a handful of others on high-percentage shots.
He also shut down a third-period breakaway.
Even when he’s not playing, he’s contributing by pushing Larkin, who didn’t have tons of competition for the starting job in 2017-18.
Larkin’s save percentage last season was just .886. It’s now .935. Uhelski’s is .910.
— Bachman. It’s one of greatest pleasures of following a college hockey team for a number of years: Watching players improve.
Karch Bachman’s stock seems to rise by astounding intervals every night. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a player visibly progress on a night-to-night basis at Bachman’s current rate.
On one shift, he gained the offensive zone with his speed, then when the puck ended up in his corner, he drove an opponent off of it by burying him along the boards, resulting in a sustained attack by the RedHawks.
He’s never been overly physical but it has seemed natural to him recently.
We’re watching the Florida Panthers draft pick develop into a serious force in the NCHC.
— This was one of Jonathan Gruden’s best games. Against the very best in D-I, he got the play started on the Bachman goal. His passing, which has resulted in a number of turnovers early, was extremely accurate and his stick handling was impressive.
— So how about Coach Enrico Blasi holding court with both referees at the beginning of the second period? It actually delayed the start, but the power plays were 3-0 SCSU, with St. Cloud scoring twice on the power play, and a couple of clear penalties against the Huskies were not whistled?
Fantastic move. The result: Zero power plays for St. Cloud the final 45 minutes, three for Miami.
FORWARDS: A-. The top three lines all scored, and Graham added an SHG. And Graham was solid beyond his 4-on-5 goal. Liked the way the lower lines battled in this game. Negatives? Gilling had a chance to clear a puck that ultimately resulted in a St. Cloud goal. Faceoff rate of under .333 is unacceptable.
DEFENSEMEN: C+. The Huskies moved the puck extremely well and it seemed like this corps was slow to react at times. A pass on the third goal got through both Rourke Russell and Grant Hutton, and Bray Crowder was beaten at the blue line, helping the Huskies notch their final tally.
GOALTENDING: B+. Larkin should’ve stopped one of the first two St. Cloud goals but faced 11 shots in under 10 minutes, including a handful of high-quality chances. Uhelski had little chance on his two goals against and he was brilliant otherwise. As mentioned above, he denied a point-blank chance and the ensuing rebound plus shut down a late breakaway.
LINEUP CHANGES: D Andrew Sinard was back in for Chaz Switzer, and up front Christian Mohs took the place of Zach LaValle.
Mohs’ play has improved and he is making a case for regular playing time. He has dressed eight times in 17 games this season.
Sinard was the extra skater and has been in the lineup four of Miami’s last five games. Blasi has kept his ice time down.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This was a fun game to watch, hopefully one of many we’ll see at Cady Arena the balance of the season.
Seeing St. Cloud State live for the first time, it’s easy to understand why it’s No. 1 in the NCAA. But Miami deserved the tie as much as the Huskies did.
The RedHawks wouldn’t quit, which is becoming a theme with this team.
Win or lose, Miami plays hard for 60 minutes, or in this case 65. Or 70 counting the 3-on-3.
Regardless of the game length, the RedHawks Version 2018-19 certainly battle from start to finish.
That’s a major reason Miami is carrying an above-.500 record into December for the first time in four years, which was same season the RedHawks carried a No. 1 seed into the NCAA Tournament.
The last time Miami faced St. Cloud State was the first round of the NCHC Tournament, and despite being outmanned and playing on the road, the RedHawks not only took the Huskies to Game 3 but forced overtime.
MU finished 1-4 vs. SCSU last season and the Huskies enter this weekend riding a six-game winning streak and No. 1 ranking.
BoB takes a look at the upcoming series between these teams:
WHO: No. 1 St. Cloud State Huskies (11-1) at Miami RedHawks (9-6-1).
WHERE: Cady Arena (3,642), Oxford, Ohio.
WHEN: Friday – 7:35 p.m.; Saturday – 7:05 p.m.
ALL-TIME SERIES: Miami leads, 17-16-2.
LAST SEASON: St. Cloud went 4-1. SCSU swept its two-game series in Oxford and won 2 of 3 in a home opening-round NCHC series.
MIAMI RADIO: Both nights – WKBV-AM (1490), Richmond, Ind.
ST. CLOUD STATE RADIO: Both nights – KZRV-FM (96.7).
NOTES: St. Cloud State enters this weekend as the lone unbeaten team in conference play (4-0) as well as the NCHC leader in goals, goals allowed and winning percentage.
The Huskies average 4.25 goals, second-best in the NCAA, and they are tied for second in goals against average at 1.83.
Senior Patrick Newell leads the team in goals (8) and points (15) as he hones in on triple digits for his career.
Three Huskies are tied for second in points with 13, including Montreal draftee Ryan Poehling (3-10-13). Ryan Jackson has an identical line, and Robby Jackson is 5-8-13.
A pair of standout defensemen, Jack Ahcan and Jimmy Schuldt, have 12 points each, and Blake Lizotte has 11.
In net, Los Angeles draft pick Dave Hrenak has played eight games, going 7-0 with a 2.13 goals-against average despite a pedestrian .907 save percentage.
Jeff Smith has excelled in relief, posting a 1.26 GAA and .948 save percentage.
Miami has been limited to 12 goals in its last six games, with Josh Melnick and Karch Bachman accounting for three each.
Ryan Larkin is the favorite to start both games between the pipes for the RedHawks.
March was an exhausting month for the St. Cloud State hockey program.
The Huskies won the NCHC regular season title and earned the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Within a week and a half of the bracket layout, SCSU had been bounced by four seed Air Force and lost head coach Bob Motzko to in-state foe Minnesota.
Despite the turnover behind the bench, the Huskies return nine of their top 10 scorers from 2017-18, with their lone loss from that corps being early pro signee Mikey Eyssimont.
NCAA titles: 0.
COACH: Brett Larson (first season).
2017-18 RECORDS: 25-9-6 (16-4-4 NCHC).
POSTSEASON: Lost to Air Force, 4-1 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
RINK (capacity): Herb Brooks National Hockey Center (5,159).
MIAMI VS. ST. CLOUD STATE LAST SEASON: 1-4.
ALL-TIME SERIES: Miami leads, 17-16-2.
SCHEDULE VS. MIAMI: Nov. 30-Dec. 1 – at Miami; Feb. 1-2 – at St. Cloud State.
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: F Robby Jackson, F Ryan Poehling, F Blake Lizotte, F Easton Brodzinki, D Jimmy Schuldt, D Jack Ahcan, G David Hrenak.
KEY NEW FACES: F Sam Huntges, D Nick Perbix, D Spencer Meier, D Brendan Bushy.
KEY LOSSES: F Mikey Eyssimont, F Judd Peterson, D Will Borgen.
NOTES: Larson has been an assistant at St. Cloud State for six of the past 10 seasons, and his only high-level head coaching experience was two years at Sioux City of the USHL.
But where the Huskies lack in head coaching experience they account for on the ice, as they return all but three players from that top-seeded 2017-18 squad.
Robby Jackson is back after leading the team in points with 42, and the two-way forward also netted three shorthanded goals.
Montréal draftee Ryan Poehling also returns up front following a 30-point campaign.
Three other returning St. Cloud State forwards eclipsed 20 points – Blake Lizotte posted eight goals and 19 assists for 27, Patrick Newell also finished with 27 points, including 21 assists and Easton Brodzinski scored 14 goals en route to a 24-point season.
The Huskies hope newcomer Sam Huntges can help the forward corps as well, as the Minneapolis native was selected by his hometown Wild in June.
Talk about an experienced D-corps: Four returning blueliners played in at least 36 games for SCSU last season.
Team captains Jimmy Schuldt and Jon Lizotte are both seniors and dressed for all 40 contests in 2017-18.
Schuldt led the team in assists with 28 and scored 10 times for 38 points, the second-best total on the team. He led the Huskies with eight power play goals.
Lizotte’s five goals, 12 assists, 17 points and plus-20 rating were all career highs.
Undersized junior Jack Ahcan also skated in all 40 contests last season and rolled up 22 points, including 19 helpers.
Mike Ilvonen also returns for his fifth year as a graduate student.
St. Cloud State also added three freshman on the back end, all massive, in-state products. Tampa Bay draftee Nick Perbix and Spencer Meier are both 6-feet-4 and Brendan Bushy weighs 225 pounds
Both pieces of the Huskies’ goaltending tandem from last season also return.
Sophomore David Hrenak was selected by Los Angeles this summer after posting a 2.11 goals-against average, a .919 save percentage and three shutouts in 25 games for SCSU.
Senior Jeff Smith went 11-2-4 in 19 games and has played over 2,500 career minutes.
SCSU’s 3.60 goals per game last season was fourth in Division I. The Huskies were second in the NCHC and 10th in college hockey in drawing penalties, going to the power play 174 times, and they scored 39 times on the man advantage.
St. Cloud State’s also tied for second in college hockey with seven shorthanded goals.
Since 2006, this program has been stuck in a holding pattern. The Huskies have qualifying for the NCAAs eight of the past 12 years including four of the last five but despite all their regular season success have only advanced to the Frozen Four once and was bounced in the regional semifinal that year.
The next step for St. Cloud State is an extended NCAA Tournament run, as this program has never been to a championship game.
This season’s team has the weapons to make that happen but enters 2018-19 with a rookie head coach.
Miami’s next loss will be its last of 2017-18.
The RedHawks fell, 5-2 to No. 1 St. Cloud State in the opener of their best-of-3, first-round NCHC Tournament series at the Herb Brooks Center on Friday.
Miami needs to win out in the conference tournament to advance to the NCAAs.
The loss extended the RedHawks’ winless streak to four games, and they are 1-7-2 in their last 10 and 2-11-3 since Jan. 6. It was Miami’s seventh straight defeat in this building.
Game 2 is at 8:05 p.m. on Saturday, and if necessary, Game 3 would be played at 8:05 p.m. on Sunday.
RECAP: St. Cloud’s Jake Ahcan fired a slap shot past Miami goalie Ryan Larkin on the glove side after taking a feed from Blake Winiecki on a rush just 6:02 into the game.
The RedHawks tied it with 4:32 left in the first period, as Grant Hutton sent a pass all the way across the ice through traffic to the tape of Kiefer Sherwood, who buried a wrister.
Jimmy Schuldt put St. Cloud State back ahead, 2-1 on a stick side slap shot from the top of the faceoff circle on the power play 6:11 into the second period.
Blake Lizotte gave the Huskies a two-goal lead with 4:56 remaining in the middle stanza when he intercepted a clearing pass along the board, skated in and beat Larkin 1-on-1.
Sherwood beat two defenders down the right side to create a 2-on-1 and centered one to Gordie Green, who made a move and slid it in, cutting the deficit to one with 15:34 to play.
But Robby Jackson dropped a pass to Easton Brodzinski, who whipped it past Larkin on the glove side with 8:21 remaining and Mikey Eyssimont sealed it with an empty netter.
STATS: Sherwood led Miami with two points on a goal and a helper. He has points in a team-best five straight games, with three goals and four assists in that span.
Green scored in his second consecutive contest and leads the RedHawks with 15 goals and 32 points.
Louie Belpedio picked up an assist and tied Matthew Caito for eighth on the team’s all-time defenseman points leaderboard.
The RedHawks’ last win in this building was in the 2013-14 NCHC Tournament when they swept the Huskies. Miami was also a No. 8 seed that season, and St. Cloud State was the top seed.
Special teams have been anything but for the RedHawks. They allowed a power play goal for the fifth straight game and are just 14-for-20 on the PK their last five games (70.0 percent).
On the man advantage, Miami has just one goal its past 10 games, converting on 1 of 27 chances (3.7 percent).
THOUGHTS: We saw a lot of repeating themes in the St. Cloud goals.
Miami losing 50-50 battles, trailers jumping in on the rush uncontested and stoppable shots to the glove side getting by Larkin.
A tough road to the NCAA Tournament just got a lot tougher for the RedHawks, who need to win the final two here and run the table in the conference semifinal and title game.
Sherwood played some of his best hockey in this one, highlighted by his Jimmy Mullin-like acceleration past two defenders along the right wing boards for a 2-on-1 and goal by Green.
LINEUP CHANGES: Miami went with the same 19 it dressed in the final game of the regular season.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The RedHawks must win tomorrow to extend their season.
One positive stat: Miami is still 2-1 in St. Cloud in the NCHC Tournament.
OXFORD, Ohio – For the first time this season, Ryan Larkin was not the starting goalie for Miami.
And the RedHawks didn’t give their back-up netminder any offensive support, as No. 4 St. Cloud State completed the weekend sweep with a 4-0 win at Cady Arena on Saturday.
Larkin was in the starting slot on the lineup card and practiced sparingly in warm-ups, but he was battling an illness and did not return to the ice after the pre-game scrape.
Chase Munroe made his first start of 2017-18 and the fourth of his career.
Miami slipped to 1-7-1 in its last nine games and is 1-8-1 in February the past two seasons.
It was the second time this season the RedHawks (10-15-3) have been blanked.
RECAP: It was scoreless through one period, but St. Cloud State (19-7-3) broke though 3:48 into the second period when Nick Poehling beat Munroe low to the glove side.
Miami’s Carson Meyer had a penalty shot early in the third period but was unable to capitalize.
Patrick Newell made it 2-0 when a loose puck found him in the faceoff circle, and he fired it just under the far crossbar.
The final two SCSU goals were both empty netters, with Newell and Judd Peterson finding the net shorthanded.
STATS: Munroe had to be happy for the opportunity to lower his bloated goals-against average, which was 12.36 due to struggles in his lone outing this season. He stopped 17 of 19 shots, dropping it to 4.59 and raising his save percentage from .636 to .800.
— Gordie Green’s team-high four-game points streak was snapped.
— Scott Dornbrock blocked a Miami-best four shots, and RedHawks Rourke Russell added three, giving him a team high of 39.
— Carter Johnson was 9-3 on faceoffs as he continues to make his case for regular ice time.
— No power play goals were scored on the weekend. The teams each had eight chances in the two-game set. SCSU did score twice shorthanded, but both were empty netters.
THOUGHTS: This is the part where some expect a rant about how bad Miami was yet again.
While inflammatory speech may generate hits, it wouldn’t be fair to rip the team’s play on Saturday. The RedHawks played pretty well in this game.
They just couldn’t get the puck in the net.
The defense, perhaps inspired by their missing regular goalie, tightened up and held SCSU to just 21 shots. And very few good scoring chances.
One St. Cloud goal should’ve been stopped, one was on an exceptional shot and two were empty netters.
Huskies goalie David Hrenak deserves a lot of credit too, as he stopped all 30 Miami shots he faced.
Sometimes teams run into a hot goalie, and you just have to tip your hat.
The problem of course is that the 27 previous games this season have netted just 10 wins, the RedHawks have used up their allotment of acceptable losses, with plenty of unacceptable losses mixed in.
— He obviously didn’t pick up any points, but Kiefer Sherwood played his best hockey of the season this weekend. He seems to have gotten back that extra gear of skating speed, he backchecked relentlessly and dished out a couple of big hits, which has never been a major part of his game.
Sherwood had a slow start to this season and is still down overall in terms of points pace but seems to be over whatever held him back the first few months of 2017-18.
— The forwards took six minors penalties, with five leading to SCSU power plays. Conor Lemirande an Casey Gilling both were whistled for a pair of minors. Gilling leads the team in minors (17) and PIM (50), which isn’t going to cut it if he’s going to be a major part of this team the next three-plus years.
— Came away once again impressed by the A-through-Z Poehling contingent on the Huskies.
— Coach Enrico Blasi has been pulling the goalie radically early when trailing this season, even doing so with 17 minutes left in the third period earlier this calendar year. SCSU scored three empty netters this weekend as a result, but really, if it helps the team’s chance of winning just an iota and only drawback is a more lopsided final score, then go for it.
FORWARDS: D. Hot goalie or not, this group’s job is to score goals and they came up empty. And yeah, the penalties.
DEFENSEMEN: B. They seemed to make a conceded effort to tighten up with Munroe in net and were solid overall. This corps also stayed out of the penalty box. They helped hold a potent SCSU team to 21 shots, and very few high-quality chances.
GOALTENDING: C. Munroe definitely should’ve stopped the first goal. The second one was ticketed for the corner of the net. His rebound control was solid, although he didn’t see many difficult shots. He can thank his D-corps for stepping up. Munroe was also put in a difficult spot, as he likely didn’t know he was starting until minutes before the game.
LINEUP CHANGES: After three straight games going with the same 19, Austin Alger and Grant Frederic both dressed. Alger, a forward, replaced Willie Knierim, and blueliner Frederic was in for Chaz Switzer, who had played in 13 straight games.
FINAL THOUGHTS: All eight NCHC teams have six games left, and Miami can finish no better than third.
The RedHawks are last in the conference with 17 points, and UNO is seventh with 21. So it’s an uphill climb just to get out of the basement, especially considering Miami’s remaining schedule.
The ultimate goal of fourth would likely require Miami to run the table and hope the teams the RedHawks are chasing falter down the stretch. The RedHawks are 10 points down on both fourth-place North Dakota and fifth-place Duluth, and they would have to catch one of those teams and pass UNO and Colorado College.
Miami heads to Duluth next week, returns home to play North Dakota and finishes as Denver. Those teams are ninth, 12th and second in PairWise, respectively.
In other words, if you’ve already pre-paid for first-round NCHC playoff tickets at Cady Arena, a refund is extremely likely for the third straight year.