OXFORD, Ohio – Miami saw its scoreless streak reach 120 minutes after two periods on Saturday.
But the RedHawks finally broke through early in the third period, completely swinging the momentum their way as they eventually won, 2-1 over UMass-Lowell at Cady Arena.
Ben Lown scored the tying goal 1:05 into the final stanza of the weekend after Miami (4-2) had been shut out the first five periods.
Derek Daschke found the net for the game winner less than eight minutes later and the RedHawks survived a late Riverhawks surge.
RECAP: Both teams managed just five shots in a scoreless first period.
UMass-Lowell (2-2) finally broke through with 5:49 left in the middle frame when a Miami pass hit a teammate’s skate and was intercepted by Connor Wilson, who skated in and fired one past RedHawks goalie Ryan Larkin from the high slot.
Miami tied it when Ben Lown roofed a backhander after Karch Bachman surged into the zone and handcuffed goalie with a point-blank wrister 65 seconds into the third period.
On a 4-on-3, Daschke’s initial shot was blocked, but he corralled his own rebound and swept it just inside the far post with 11:02 remaining.
Ryan Larkin shut down a wide-open, point-blank chance by diving across his crease, and another high-quality chance hit the post down the stretch as Miami preserved the win.
STATS: Daschke is the first RedHawks defenseman to record his second goal this season, and Lown snapped an 11-goal skid without a marker.
Bachman remains tops on the team in points with five as he earned one in this game with an assist.
Larkin has allowed just four goals in four starts this season as he lowered his goals-against average to 1.00 and raised his save percentage to .956.
Miami snapped an 0-for-20 power play slump with Daschke’s game winner in the third period. The RedHawks scored on their last chance in their season opener vs. UAH and had not tallied a PPG since.
Also on special teams, this was the fourth time Miami did not allow a power play goal as its penalty killing rate improved to 90.5 percent. The RedHawks were 4-for-4 on Saturday.
THOUGHTS: It’s amazing that coaches and players can put in thousands of hours of recruiting, game planning, practices and workouts in preparation for games and yet Miami was pretty much flat all weekend until that tying goal.
Then, somehow, it clicked for the RedHawks and they were a completely different team.
They played with tons of energy and controlled play, ultimately leading to UML goalie Tyler Wall tripped Josh Melnick on a 4-on-4, setting up a Miami power play and Daschke’s decisive goal.
Then the RedHawks were really tested: A quality Hockey East team trailing by one threw all it had at Miami in an attempt to tie it.
Running out the clock was facilitated by a pair of undisciplined Riverhawks penalties in the final minutes.
MU didn’t play perfect hockey during UML’s surge but was good enough to survive its first close game of the season. And that experience is invaluable as the RedHawks – with 11 new members – form a cohesive unit.
No disrespect intended to Alabama-Huntsville or Mercyhurst, but Miami went 3-0 against those teams and should’ve gone 3-0 against those teams.
On multiple levels, this was the first quality win of the season for the RedHawks. Hopefully many more will follow.
– Miami kept its head during some rather chippy moments. If UML’s goal was to bait the RedHawks into penalties, it backfired because the Riverhawks spent most of the final five minutes in the box as they tried to tie the score.
– Bachman gave an example of what speed can bring to the game when he surged through the UML defense and fired a shot that resulted in Lown’s rebound goal. Brayden Crowder deserves credit for his outlet pass on that play as well.
– On that note, the Bachman-Lown-Casey Gilling line played well together. Like the chemistry of those three with their collective skills.
FORWARDS – C. Didn’t do a whole lot the first two periods and obviously this corps was much better in the third. Lown scored at a tough angle and Bachman made it happen with his speed. Melnick stood out and was 16-6 on faceoffs.
DEFENSEMEN – B. Again, this corps kept the Grade-A chances by opponents below that of the past couple of seasons. Daschke scored the winning goal and Grant Hutton picked up an assist on it.
GOALTENDING – B+. Larkin probably conceded a little more ground on the stick side than he should have on the UML goal, but it was an absolute snipe so it might not have mattered. He juggled a very easy chance in the first period but for the most part was extremely solid all night.
LINEUP CHANGES: After Jordan Uhelski started in net on Friday, it was Larkin between the pipes in this one. Larkin has now played in four games, Uhelski two.
Defenseman Grant Frederic dressed for the first time and was slotted in that “flex” spot, so every skater on the Miami roster has now played in at least one game. Forward Zach LaValle was also back on the ice.
Out were Fs Christian Mohs and Carter Johnson.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Can’t emphasize how big this split is.
As it stood through two periods, Miami was looking at a 3-3 record having played zero true road games with an 0-3 record against teams in the top 70 percentile of the NCAA if that score held.
This win showed Miami can not only play with good teams but can beat them.
A similar mid-range team in Colgate heads to Oxford next weekend, giving the RedHawks another chance to step forward.
OXFORD, Ohio – Through four games, Miami had been on either the giving or receiving end of a shutout three times.
On Friday, the RedHawks made that 4-for-5, and unfortunately for them they came out on the losing end, 3-0 vs. UMass-Lowell at Cady Arena.
Miami has held two opponents off the scoresheet and has been blanked twice this season. All of its 2018-19 contests have been decided by at least three goals.
RECAP: UMass-Lowell could not score on a 28-second 5-on-3, but after Miami returned one to the ice, Sam Knoblauch slipped a shot through the five hole of RedHawks goalie Jordan Uhelski with 2:20 left in the first period.
The Riverhawks extended their lead to two when Connor Wilson backhanded a shot just inside the far post on a 3-on-1 with 5:05 remaining in the middle stanza.
UMass-Lowell capped off the scoring when Connor Sodergren stole the puck from Uhelski behind the Miami net and fed Kenny Hausinger for a shorthanded tap-in.
STATS: Despite the lopsided loss, the RedHawks outshot UML, 36-22.
Special teams were a killer for Miami, which was 0-for-5 on the power play and allowed a shorthanded goal. UMass-Lowell also scored once on three chances with the man-advantage.
THOUGHTS: No offense to Alabama-Huntsville and Mercyhurst, but the RedHawks are better than those teams and won all three games against them, as they should have.
Providence is a top-5 team and Miami fell short.
This was an opponent that would be a true litmus test for Miami, a mid-level Hockey East school, and this series is in Oxford.
At least in the opener, Miami fell well short of expectations. The RedHawks’ passing was sub-standard and communication seemed poor at times as passes were thrown to no one in particular or sometimes right at Riverhawks skaters.
And despite outshooting UML by a wide margin, many of those shots were from the outside with no traffic in front, making for easy saves. To be fair to Wall, he made several outstanding saves and was deserving of first-star status.
It was kind of mind-boggling that with the power play struggling, the RedHawks went with a stay-at-home defenseman in Bray Crowder at the point in their first chance, although Miami is obviously still experimenting with combinations and seeing what works and what doesn’t. And right now the man-advantage clearly doesn’t.
FORWARDS – D-. Pass completion percentage among this corps was poor and the top players didn’t impress, although Josh Melnick did steal a puck and draw a penalty and Ben Lown skated with a lot of energy. Another positive is Monte Graham’s faceoff ability. He was 9-1 and is extremely innovative in earning draw wins.
DEFENSEMEN – B-. Grant Hutton was so-so and Rourke Russell lost the puck after pinching, which resulted in a 3-on-1 and the second UML goal. Other than that no one really stood out positively or negatively.
GOALTENDING – D. The first goal was on a nice power play shot through the five hole. The second was on a backhander to the far post. Uhelski probably should’ve come up with one of those two. He lost the puck behind his own net for an easy tap-in, which squarely falls on him. Uhelski made a couple of solid saves, flashing a quick pad to deny a shot in the first period and covering the post to prevent a goal.
LINEUP CHANGES: The biggest one was Uhelski is net for Larkin after Larkin had shut out Mercyhurst last Saturday, playing his best game in some time. Larkin did warm up and did not appear to be suffering from any injury. One of Uhelski’s roles is to push Larkin, so perhaps that’s why he got the start.
Carter Johnson returned after taking a devastating head shot in the season opener and was the extra skater.
On defense, River Rymsha was back on the ice after sitting vs. Mercyhurst. Andrew Sinard and Chaz Switzer were both a scratches.
FINAL THOUGHTS: It’s still a process of course, but at some point it will become a concern if Miami can’t score against mid- and high-level opponents. Against Providence and UML the RedHawks have zero goals in 120 minutes.
As for the power play, even though Miami has generated good chances during its drought — especially against Mercyhurst — lack of success may be getting into players’ heads.
Salvaging a split with a win on Saturday could be a real boost for this team, which seeks its first quality win of 2018-19.
WHO: UMass-Lowell Riverhawks (1-1) at Miami RedHawks (3-1).
WHEN: Friday – 7:35 p.m.; Saturday – 7:05 p.m.
WHERE: Cady Arena, Oxford, Ohio.
ALL-TIME SERIES: UMass-Lowell leads, 1-0-1.
UMASS-LOWELL RADIO: Both nights – WCAP-AM (980), Lowell, Mass.
NOTES: Funny that this will be the first-ever meeting between these teams on one of their campuses.
They’ve met twice: Once in the Frontier Classic in Anchorage in the fall of 2003, a game that ended tied, 4-4, and again in the first round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
The latter was a skate-to-the-throat 4-3 overtime loss that saw the RedHawks rally from three down to tie it only to surrender a goal in the extra session.
So in two all-time meetings, both games have gone past 60 minutes.
Miami might welcome a close contest, as each of its four games this season have been decided by three or four goals.
The RedHawks are coming off a third-place finish in the four-team Ice Breaker in Erie, Pa., that saw them drop a 4-0 decision to No. 5 Providence but handle host Mercyhurst, 3-0 in the consolation game.
The week before Miami swept an unimpressive Alabama-Huntsville team, outscoring the Chargers, 9-1.
The Riverhawks split their season-opening series vs. RIT, with both of those games decided by a goal. They won the opener, 2-1 but lost 4-3 in the finale.
Senior forwards Ryan Dmowski and Connor Wilson both went 1-2-3 the opening weekend and lead the team in points. Dmowski went 11-11-22 in 2017-18, leading the team in goals.
Kenny Hausinger scored twice vs. RIT. He scored 10 goals and set up 10 more last season.
Tampa Bay selection Ryan Lohin is the returning team leader in assists (16) and points (25), and freshmen Sam Knoblauch and Reid Stefanson have both scored in the team’s first two games.
Mass.-Lowell had three defensemen total at least 17 points last season but all were seniors. Croix Evingson and freshman Seth Barton have dished for two assists each, and Mattias Goransson has one helper.
Evingson was drafted by Winnipeg and Barton was taken by Detroit.
In net, Christoffer Hernberg was a stud last year with a 2.07 goals-against average and .921 save percentage. Ty Wall struggled in 12 games as his backup.
But last weekend Wall – a New York Rangers draftee – was 25-for-26 in a win while Hernberg suffered the loss, allowing five goals on 30 shots.
Look out Bridgeport, here come the RedHawks! It was just announced on ESPNU that Miami will face the UMass-Lowell Riverhawks on Friday at 6:30pm. The other matchup in the East regional bracket features Union vs. Michigan State.
More to come from the Redskin Warriors today and over the next week. We’ll also “phone in” our predictions for the entire tournament and preview some of the matchups.
Here is the bracket at NCAA.com