Photos: New Hampshire at Miami

 

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Down 3, Miami rallies to tie UNH

OXFORD, Ohio – Trailing by three, Miami rallied for four straight goals to take a 4-3 lead and was within six minutes of its first win under Chris Bergeron.

John Sladic (photo by Cathy Lachmann/VFTG).

But New Hampshire evened the score late and the teams skated to a 4-4 tie in the series finale at Cady Arena on Saturday.

Freshmen played a key role for the RedHawks, as John Sladic scored his first two career goals and Chase Pletzke netted his first as a Miamian. It was also the first start for freshman goalie Ben Kraws as the RedHawks held an opponent to fewer than five goals for the first time in eight games.

RECAP: Like Friday, Miami fell behind, 3-0.

Nine minutes into the first period, Angus Crookshank tipped home a blue line wrister from Max Gildon seconds into a power play to give New Hampshire the early lead.

Kohei Sato extended the Wildcats’ lead to two when he skated in alone and deposited the puck under Kraws at the 6:28 mark of the second period.

Gildon ripped a shot from the high slot on a 5-on-3 as UNH went up, 3-0 with 8:54 left in the middle stanza.

With 6:19 left in that frame, Miami finally got on the board when Pletzke skated uncontested through a flat-footed New Hampshire defense and snuck a shot just inside the crossbar.

Just over three minutes later, Casey Gilling cut the lead to one when he pulled up at the top of the faceoff circle and floated a wrist shot through traffic and into the net.

Sladic tied the score with eight seconds left in that period as he clutched and wired one home from the faceoff dot.

It was Sladic again just 83 seconds into the final stanza as Scott Corbett skated around the back of the net and slid a pass across the top of the crease to Sladic, who crashed the net and banged the puck home to give Miami its first lead of the series.

But UNH tied it with 5:46 to play, as Charlie Kelleher’s slap pass from the point connected with Patrick Grasso at the side of the net for an uncontested one-timer.

Miami finished the game on the power play for the final 1:39 but could not score on either of the shots it generated during that advantage.

STATS: Sladic scored a pair of goals for his first career points, and Pletzke also picked up his first D-1 point.

— Derek Daschke and Jack Clement notched two assists, giving both three helpers in three games to start the season.

Karch Bachman is the only Miami skater with points in all three games, as he notched one assist to give him two goals and two assists.

— The RedHawks killed just 2 of 5 penalties as they dropped to 61.9 percent on this season, 49th out of the 52 NCAA teams that have logged a game in 2019-20.

— Miami may have halted its losing streak at nine games, but it is still winless in its last 10. The RedHawks are suffering through one of their roughest stretches in history, as they are 2-20-5 since last Thanksgiving.

THOUGHTS: As with all ties, there is plenty of good and bad.

The boom: Freshman scoring. These guys are the future. Sladic and Pletzke netted three of the four goals in this game. Noah Jordan is just a sophomore and played the best game of his Miami career. Classmate Monte Graham seems to get better every game as well. Kraws was solid in his first D-1 start.

The bust: The penalty kill has been atrocious. The slow starts have been maddening. Too many quality chances against vs. a veteran defenseman squad, and the goaltenders haven’t stopped enough Grade-A chances.

GRADES

FORWARDS: B. Much better. It’s hard to emphasize enough the importance of having freshmen score three goals when the team is in major rebuild mode. Gordie Green didn’t record a point but he’s elevated his game a level for his senior year. Bachman continues to excite with his speed and the resulting scoring opportunities. Graham has taken a major jump this season. Noah Jordan dressed for the first time this season and played the best game of his career.

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Ben Kraws (photo by Cathy Lachmann/VFTG).

DEFENSEMEN: C+. Improved over Friday. Jack Clement made some key plays in the third period, Andrew Sinard upped his physical presence and as a result his over defensive game improved, and Daschke again played at a higher level than in 2018-19, showing significant maturity for his age as a two-way blueliner.

GOALTENDING: C+. The raw numbers for Kraws are: 21 of 25 saved for an .840 save percentage. There were some good saves, and Kraws appears to be extremely athletic for a 6-feet-4 netminder, but he didn’t make any stops of the spectacular variety. Like Jay Williams early in his career (who was also 6-4), Kraws almost appeared to overcommit from side to side at times, probably as the result of nervous energy. But for a freshman in his starting debut on a team that is at times defensively challenged, this was a quality start to his career. And hey, Miami had allowed at least five goals in each of previous eight contests, so at this point we’ll take the improvement.

LINEUP CHANGES: Pletzke returned to the lineup, and he netted his first career goal. Jordan dressed for the first time this season and notched a helper. Both are forwards.

Defenseman Bray Crowder was benched, and forward Carter Johnson was suspended for a kneeing incident on Friday.

It was the first time this season Miami used 13 forwards.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Honestly, when Miami was down 3-0 in the second period, the thought here was: If the RedHawks can’t beat a Hockey East cellar dweller in either game of a two-game series on its home ice, will Miami ever win a game?

But then that MU team that made Period 3 vs. Bowling Green exciting showed up, and it scored four unanswered goals to take the lead.

It’s amazing how one’s hypothesis of the next five months can be swayed in less than a period, but to the point when UNH took its three-goal lead again on Saturday, Miami had shown only short bursts of life in 4½ periods of hockey on the weekend.

We’ll need to see more of that gear from the RedHawks this year – which they did display at times early in 2018-19 – if they hope to have success this season.

Early UNH goals doom Miami

OXFORD, Ohio – Three New Hampshire goals in a four-minute span of the first period created too big of a hole for Miami to dig out of.

The RedHawks twice cut their deficit to two but could pull no closer as the Wildcats won easily, 6-2 at Cady Arena on Friday.

RECAP: At 9:47 of the first period, Eric MacAdams slid a pass across the ice to Kohei Sato, who beat the defense for an easy tap in on a 3-on-2.

Jackson Pierson extended the UNH lead to two when he scored on a breakaway just 66 seconds later.

At the 13:31 mark, Benton Maass ripped one timer from the slot past Miami goalie Ryan Larkin to make it 3-0.

With 19 seconds left in the opening stanza, Monte Graham had a slot from the side of the net blocked, but Phil Knies banged it home from the top of the crease to trim the Wildcats’ lead to two.

Nine minutes into the second period, Sato took advantage of a Miami miscue at the blue line, skated in alone and scored to give New Hampshire a 4-1 edge.

The RedHawks answered 36 seconds after that goal, as Karch Bachman skated behind the defense and fed a streaking Gordie Green at the side of the cage.

But the Wildcats (1-0) sealed it in the final second of the middle frame, as a Charlie Kelleher shot from the edge of the faceoff circle beat Larkin, ending his night.

Gordie Green (photo by Cathy Lachmann/VFTG).

Ben Kraws took over in net for Miami (0-2) in the third period, and Pierson batted a loose puck over Kraws to cap the scoring with 10 minutes left.

STATS: Green has scored three goals and five points in Miami’s first two games, and Bachman picked up his third point and first assist.

Knies, Graham and defenseman Rourke Russell notched third first points on 2019-20.

– The RedHawks finished 0-for-4 on the power play while UNH converted on 2 of 6 chances, outshooting Miami, 12-4 on the man advantage.

– MU has now lost nine straight games and has allowed at least five goals in each of its last seven.

THOUGHTS: Unlike Sunday when Miami battled back against Bowling Green in an exciting third period, there was little to cheer about for RedHawks fans in this one.

It was a three-goal game 14 minutes in and Miami never seriously challenged.

This was a disappointing result considering UNH finished in the bottom 10 of the PairWise last season and was recently picked to finished seventh in Hockey East.

But to the Wildcats’ credit, they created a lot of good scoring chances and took advantage of them. They played the better game and deserved to win.

Miami took too many penalties, allowed too many quality scoring chances and didn’t generate nearly enough offense. The RedHawks were shorthanded six times: Three on penalties by Bray Crowder, with two of those ending up in their net, and they ended the game killing a kneeing major on Carter Johnson.

Coach Chris Bergeron talked before the season about how he wanted his team to be “hard to play against”.

This night, Miami wasn’t.

– The shots were actually 3-1 in favor of the RedHawks early including a quality power play, but UNH generated the next 11 with three goals mixed in. The Wildcats definitely seemed to get their legs after that penalty kill.

– Damage control has been a Miami problem for years, and this game epitomized that. UNH was outplaying the RedHawks midway through the first period, and Miami broke instead of bending.

– Would have to do a decent amount a research, but 1,571 might be the lowest announced attendance in Cady Arena history. Having the students out on fall break didn’t help.

GRADES

FORWARDS: C-. The Bachman-to-Green goal was clearly the Miami highlight of the night. But no forward had more than three shots and six finished the night with zero. Casey Gilling, coming off a sub-par sophomore season, was 15-8 on faceoffs and has played much better these first two games. Graham was a bright spot among this corps as well with an assist, three blocks, three SOG and a solid defensive effort.

DEFENSEMEN: D-. As a whole on this night, this group wasn’t physical, didn’t get enough sticks in shooting lanes and left way too many UNH players wide open. Jack Clement was late getting back on the first goal (which is Sato was wide open), Crowder and Alec Capstick allowed Pierson to get behind them for a breakaway on the second, and Crowder lost the puck at his own blue line, resulting in the Wildcats’ fourth goal. Crowder, after a stellar first game, was benched in the third period.

GOALTENDING: D+. Yes, Larkin was peppered with high-quality scoring chances, but a quality goaltending shouldn’t get scored on almost every time an opponent has a Grade-A or A-plus chance. Kraws stopped 8 of 9 shots, with the lone goal coming from in close on a scramble in front of the net. It was a solid debut for the freshman, and it will be interesting to see if he gets the nod on Saturday.

LINEUP CHANGES: Bergeron went with 19 of the same 20 players that dressed in the opener. Johnson was in the lineup for Chase Pletzke. Miami is still banged up on the blueline, as Alec Mahalak was still walking around the concourse in a boot. Chaz Switzer is getting closer to 100 percent.

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Ben Kraws (photo by Cathy Lachmann/VFTG).

FINAL THOUGHTS: Kraws was one of the few bright spots for Miami in this game.

It seemed the perfect opportunity for Bergeron to insert him into live action, as the RedHawks were down three so it was definitely a low-leverage situation.

Other than that, there’s little to be positive about.

No one expected instant miracles with Bergeron taking over behind the bench, but this wasn’t a quality effort and more should be expected from the RedHawks in the series finale.

Preview: New Hampshire at Miami

Miami already opened its season last weekend vs. Bowling Green, but New Hampshire has yet to play a game in 2019-20.

When these teams have met, it has typically been on neutral ice, as this is just the Wildcats’ second-ever trip to Oxford.

Miami split that home series in 2010, with each team winning a 6-3 decision.

A look at this weekend’s series:

WHO: New Hampshire Wildcats (0-0) at Miami RedHawks (0-1).

WHEN: Friday and Saturday – 7:05 p.m.

WHERE: Cady Arena, Oxford, Ohio.

ALL-TIME SERIES: New Hampshire leads, 7-5-2.

TV: NCHC.tv.

NOTES: The trip to Durham last season was disastrous, as many players had nightmarish flight issues with some dealing with five layovers and a travel time of nearly 24 hours.

The effect that had on Miami on the ice can’t be quantified, but the RedHawks – who had been playing well to that point – went 0-1-1 against a UNH team that was, at the time, below the 20th percentile mark in the PairWise.

Like Miami, New Hampshire limped into its conference tournament and was swept in the opening round, ending its season.

Scoring was an issue for the Wildcats last season, as they averaged just 2.50 goals per game.

But three of UNH’s 20-point producers up front are back, led by senior Liam Blackburn. The senior led the team in points last season (10-14-24) and is tops among active Wildcats scorers with 63 points.

Angus Crookshank, an Ottawa draftee, tied for second in scoring in 2018-19 with 10 goals and 13 assists.

Charlie Kelleher is also back after leading the team in helpers with 18 in addition to his three goals.

Max Gildon, who was selected by Florida, leads the defense as he has notched over 20 points each of his first two seasons and was easily No. 1 on the team in defenseman goals and assists last season.

No other returning blueliner picked up more than eight points in 2018-19.

Will MacKinnon went 1-7-8, playing in all 36 games UNH games, and Anthony Wyse scored one and tallied six assists in his junior campaign.

Benton Maass, a Washington draftee, and Ryan Verrier, who did not record a point last season, both logged 30 or more games last season.

All three of the goalies who logged ice time for UNH in 2018-19 are back, and the top two in minutes are both NHL draft picks.

Junior Mike Robinson logged 1,836 minutes, going 11-12-8 with an impressive 2.48 goals-against average and .915 save percentage.

Ty Taylor, a Tampa Bay selection who was the back-up last season, went 1-3-1 with a 3.67 GAA and .855 save percentage.

Overall, UNH boasts five NHL draft picks on its roster.

The Wildcats have a six-man freshman class of four forwards and two defensemen, four of which played in the USHL last season.

New Hampshire was picked seventh out of 11 teams in Hockey East.

Gordie Green (Cathy Lachmann/VFTG).

Miami fell, 7-4 to Bowling Green in its season opener on Sunday,

Gordie Green and Karch Bachman accounted for all of the goals, with two each, and Green finished with four points as he assisted on the RedHawks’ other two tallies.

Bowling Green ruins Berg debut

OXFORD, Ohio – The Hollywood script disintegrated in the final 28 minutes of the game.

Until then, everything was aligning for a fantastic story.

Miami fell to Bowling Green, 7-4 in the teams’ season opener and RedHawks coach Chris Bergeron’s debut at Cady Arena on Sunday.

Bergeron was the head coach of the Falcons (1-0) for the past nine seasons.

The RedHawks (0-1) took the lead in the first minute of the second period and held it for over 12 minutes, but the Falcons scored seven times in the final 27:05.

Gordie Green (photo by Cathy Lachmann/VFTG).

MU did pull to within one, 5-4 in the final minutes but Bowling Green scored twice in the final 98 seconds to seal it.

Cameron Wright scored four goals to pace the Falcons. Gordie Green netted two goals and assisted on two more to pace the RedHawks, and Karch Bachman netted the other two MU tallies.

RECAP: The game was scoreless through the first period, but 50 seconds into the second, Green skated the length of the ice and beat goalie Eric Dop just inside the far post.

Wright tied it with 7:05 left in the middle stanza when he seemed to fool both teams by securing the puck along the end boards, skated into the faceoff circle and whipped one home to tie it.

Wright put BGSU ahead three minutes later when he skated in on net from the right side and snuck a puck past Miami goalie Ryan Larkin.

The Falcons made it 3-1 when Connor Ford beat Larkin after taking a 2-on-1 feed from Alex Barber two minutes into the third.

Bowling Green took a three-goal lead less than four minutes later when Evan Dougherty ripped a loose puck in the slot past Larkin after T.J. Lloyd had a wrister from the blue line knocked down.

Two minutes later, Miami cut the deficit to two on the power play when Brayden Crowder sent a pass from the blue line across the ice to Green, whose one-touch to the side of the net was redirected in by Bachman.

Wright completed his hat trick on the power play 49 seconds later when he ripped a one-time pass home from the high slot.

The score held at 5-2 for over eight minutes, but Green redirected a Casey Gilling feed as the side of the cage with 3:56 remaining to cut the deficit to two.

Miami made it a one-goal game when Green sent a pass from the left point to Bachman, who controlled it and fired it home on the short side with 2:24 left.

But Wright buried a centering feed from Max Johnson with 98 seconds to play.

Alec Rauhauser sealed it with an empty netter from his own zone in the closing seconds.

STATISTICS: Green’s two-goal, two-assist performance ties him for the second-highest point total of his career. He recorded five points at Maine as a sophomore.

Karch Bachman (photo by Cathy Lachmann/VFTG).

Bachman scored two goals in the season finale loss in the best-of-3 opening-round NCHC Tournament series at St. Cloud State. That means Bachman has scored four goals in his last two games.

— Crowder tallied two assists, a career best, and Gilling also went 0-2-2, the second two-assist game of his career.

— It was the first time in at least a decade Miami has allowed five third-period goals.

— Defenseman Jack Clement picked up his first career point, earning a secondary assist on Green’s second tally.

— Six goals allowed ties the most Larkin has ever allowed. It’s the fourth time an opponent has scored that many goals against him: He previously gave up six once as a freshman, once as a sophomore and once as a junior.

THOUGHTS: It was three different games: A feeling-out process in the first period, a typical hockey game in the second and a run-and-gun track meet in the third.

Bowling Green outshot Miami, 12-5 a sluggish first period that saw the RedHawks unable to clear the puck out of their own end way too many times.

Miami scored on its first shot of the second period in the opening minute but generated just two more SOG the duration of that frame.

The Falcons took a 3-1 lead early in the final stanza, so obviously the RedHawks had to take more chances to try and tie it, but this period proved why Miami doesn’t have the weapons to play a high-tempo game.

RedHawks’ passing was less than crisp, but it was Game 1 and hopefully a lot more repetitions will remedy that. That’s a key reason Bowling Green had a transition game and Miami did not.

— Crowder was a major story in this game, as he was arguably the best defenseman on the team. He stole the puck at least five times, shut down rushing attacks numerous on numerous more occasions and moved the puck extremely well, including that set-up pass on one of Bachman’s goals.

— Bergeron used a line of Monte Graham, Brian Hawkinson and Scott Corbett. They were scored on once when the entire rink seemed to lose sight of the puck along the end boards, but they had solid chemistry, which is not surprising since all three worked extremely hard last season.

— Bowling Green brought a ton of fans, and many were great, but some booed the announcement of Bergeron as Miami head coach. A handful openly voiced their displeasure about him returning to Oxford, saying he betrayed them.

Note to those fans: Bergeron saved your program from literal extinction and took it to its first NCAA Tournament berth in 29 years. Appreciate what he did for BGSU, ride the momentum he has created to more success and encourage your alumni to contribute to the program to help in recruiting to ensure winning seasons in the future.

GRADES

FORWARDS: B-. Considering they were held to 19 total shots and 15 by this corps, four goals looks pretty admirable. Green was buzzing all night and Bachman seemed to improve as the game went along. Gilling had a down season in 2018-19 but was one of the top forwards in this game.

DEFENSEMEN: C-. Crowder’s play was documented above and Derek Daschke was solid in both ends. The rest of this corps earned a ‘needs improvement’ grade, as far too many BGSU players skated into the slot unabated, many of which fired high-percentage shots.

GOALTENDING: C-. The second BGSU goal maybe could’ve been stopped, but the other five goals Larkin allowed were on high-percentage chances. Larkin faced a shooting gallery in the third period and he was largely left to fend for himself. He made several key saves in the first and early second periods to keep Miami in the game.

LINEUP CHANGES: Every freshman dressed in Game 1.

What better way for an on-ice evaluation of the newbies.

The worst injury news is that Alec Mahalak was in a boot after taking a shot to the leg in practice. He will miss significant time. Chaz Switzer was also banged up, but he could return next weekend.

FINAL THOUGHTS: This season is going to be a process.

A Bowling Green team on the edge of the top 20 dominated Miami on its home ice in Game 1.

That’s where the RedHawks are at this moment.

Miami never quit, which was very encouraging, and while no sane person is expecting miracles this season, it’s fair to monitor the effort and progress this team makes from now until March.

Preview: Bowling Green at Miami

Easiest story lead ever: Chris Bergeron was the head coach of Bowling Green the past nine seasons and now faces his old team in his first game at the helm of Miami.

Chris Bergeron.

The RedHawks open their season and a five-game homestand on Sunday in Bergeron’s highly-anticipated Miami head coaching debut.

WHO: Bowling Green Falcons (25-11-5) at Miami RedHawks (11-23-4).

WHEN: Sunday – 5:05 p.m.

WHERE: Cady Arena, Oxford, Ohio.

ALL-TIME SERIES: Bowling Green leads, 62-49-9.

BOWLING GREEN RADIO: None.

MIAMI RADIO: WKBV-AM (1490), Richmond, Ind.

TV: None.

NOTES: What an opening-game matchup for Miami to kick off the Chris Bergeron era.

Bergeron was the head coach at BGSU for the past nine seasons, and Ty Eigner is making his Falcons debut in that role.

Miami has had incredible success vs. Bowling Green the past 14 years, going 27-3-2 in the the teams’ last 32 meetings.

But the Falcons are coming off an NCAA Tournament season in which they won 25 games.

They also return all three of the forwards that posted at least 30 points in 2018-19.

Max Johnson led the team in goals (19) and points (43), and Vegas draft pick Brandon Kruse was tops in assists (31) and second in points (41).

Connor Ford went 17-17-34 with a BGSU-best nine markers in NCHC play.

All three will be juniors.

Two more members of that class should be major contributors this season. Cameron Wright found the net nine times and picked up 11 helpers, and Sam Craggs scored eight goals and notched seven assists.

Frederic Letourneau, Taylor Schneider and Alex Barber also finished with double-digit points totals last season and should be significant offensive contributors again in 2019-20.

Alec Rauhauser is BGSU’s top defenseman, having posted 87 points in three seasons including a 4-22-26 line last year.

Will Cullen and Will Theocharidis both reached double digits in points as freshman.

Three-year veteran goalie Ryan Bednard turned pro this off-season, leaving Ryan Dop as the lone BGSU netminder with D-I experience.

Dop went 5-3-1 with an outstanding 1.34 goals-against average and .948 save percentage last season as Bednard’s backup.

Junior Brett Rich and freshman Zack Rose will also challenge for ice time between the pipes.

Outstanding goaltending was a key in Bowling Green’s success last season, as the Falcons finished with a team save percentage of .927, including five empty netters.

Miami hasn’t hosted BGSU in three years, and the loss it suffered in that 2016 series finale was its first vs. the Falcons on home ice since 2001.