Images from the series between North Dakota at Miami played at Cady Arena in Oxford, Ohio, on Jan. 17-18, 2020. All images by Cathy Lachmann/VFTG.
OXFORD, Ohio – Scoringwise, Saturday’s game bore a striking resemblance to Friday.
Miami took an early 2-0 lead, was ahead by one after the first period, No. 1 North Dakota eventually tied it and scored the go-ahead goal in the closing moments of the final frame.
Unfortunately for the RedHawks, unlike Friday when the teams ultimately skated to a tie as the Fighting Hawks’ last-minute tally was waved off, UND’s marker with 1:04 remaining in regulation of the series finale stood as the RedHawks fell, 5-3 at Cady Arena.
North Dakota (18-2-3) added an empty netter to clinch the win and take five of a possible six points from Miami (6-12-4) on the weekend.
RECAP: The RedHawks jumped out early on a power play goal by Derek Daschke, which he scored on the power play on a wrister from the top of the left faceoff circle off a feed from Casey Gilling.
Miami capitalized on another man-advantage exactly two minutes later, as Gilling’s initial shot from the right faceoff dot was denied, and after his follow-up shot was also stopped, Phil Knies swept home the loose puck to make it 2-0.
Just 43 seconds later, the Fighting Hawks got on the board, as Harrison Blaisdell saw his 3-on-2 shot turned aside by RedHawks goalie Ben Kraws but Judd Caulfield eventually jammed it in during a scramble at the top of the crease.
Twenty seconds into the second period, UND’s Shane Pinto – left all alone in the slot – ripped a one-timer past Kraws on the stick side off a feed from Jordan Kawaguchi to tie it at two.
Miami regained the lead on its third power play goal of night on a tic-tac-toe pasasing play, with Daschke at the point feeding Gordie Green down low and Green sending one through the crease to Karch Bachman for the one-timer to make it 3-2 with 50 seconds left in the middle stanza.
But the Fighting Hawks would run off the final three tallies.
They tied it at the 4:24 mark of the third period when Kawaguchi skated into the offensive zone along the boards, cut across to the slot uncontested and found twine with a wrister.
Cole Smith put North Dakota ahead on a backdoor cut with 64 seconds to play when Matt Kiersted sent a pass through traffic to Smith at the side of net, and Smith shoveled it in to make it 4-3.
Westin Michaud tacked on the empty netted with 27 seconds left.
STATS: Daschke, Green and Gilling all finished with two points, with Daschke going 1-1-2 and the latter two picking up a pair of assists.
Gilling ended the weekend with six points, and Daschke scored for the third time in four games, and it was his fifth multi-point game of the season.
Green extended his points streak to seven games and has points in 13 of his last 14 games.
He now has 106 points for his career, moving him into a tie with Randy Robitaille and Greg Dornbach for 47th on the Miami all-time leaderboard.
— Knies snapped a 13-game goal drought and picked up his third point in four games, Bachman found the net for the eighth time and has points in 10 of 11 contests.
— Miami scored three power play goals in a home game for the first time since Oct. 28, 2017 vs. Connecticut.
— Opponents have preferred the third period, as they have scored 27 times in that stanza in 2019-20, including 17 goals in the MU’s last 11 games.
— The RedHawks scored five first-period goals this weekend and have 10 in their last five games. The opening stanza has been their best in terms of scoring, as they have 28 tallies in that frame vs. 19 in the second and 20 in the third.
THOUGHTS: Miami, which almost lost on a late goal on Friday and did lose that way on Saturday, was out of gas by the end of this one.
Green and Gilling practically needed oxygen masks on the bench as they logged time on each penalty kill, and – of course – all of the power plays.
And there was a lot of special teams play this weekend.
The decisive goal was all too predictable, as Miami was on fumes the final few minutes of regulation, and Kraws was a key reason the score remained tied as long as it did.
North Dakota, like buzzards circling a carcass, swarmed the offensive zone the final couple of minutes, with an exhausted RedHawks corps unable to generate any offense of their own or even clear the zone, before the inevitable happened.
The hockey gods were fair in this one. The better team, the one with more skill, earned the win, but the team with less talent never gave up and salvaged a tie while making the better team earn every one of its five points.
— The power play has made a definite improvement, not just because the usual suspects have converted recently.
It’s not exactly newsworthy that Green-Bachman-Gilling-Daschke are man-advantage studs, but others are starting to chip in as well.
John Sladic scored the tying goal on Friday, Knies picked up a marker in this one, Chase Pletzke has been factor on 5-on-4s as well.
Defensemen Rourke Russell (0-2-2 on the weekend) and Bray Crowder are also thriving on power play time.
And defying any kind of statistical logic is Matt Barry, who was on the ice for all three Miami PPGs but somehow did not pick up a point.
— Speaking of statistical anomalies, Kraws’ last start was Nov. 30 vs. Connecticut, when he stopped 31 of 35 shots. Saturday? Sam exact line: Thirty-one saves, four goals against.
But Kraws was solid in this one. He juggled some pucks early, which is understandable since he had not seen live action in nearly two months, but settled down and made some huge saves on high-percentage shots.
— The RedHawks seemed to get away from their quest for the perfect pass and shot, and they were better for it, as they turned the puck over too much and ended up with a season-low 16 shots on Friday.
— Miami went 30-34 on faceoffs, which was better than Friday but still not great, as North Dakota seemed to win a higher percentage in its offensive zone, leading to sustained, high-pressure possessions.
— Miami led for 44:38 on this series and trailed for 2:38 (credit UND writer Brad Schlossman for this stat, which VFTG confirmed) but finished the weekend 0-1-1.
— Would’ve liked to have seen Miami’s penalty kill tighten up on the left wing after Pinto scored from the inside of the faceoff circle, but UND still had multiple Grade-A chances on subsequent power plays after skaters were left wide open in that area.
FORWARDS: C+. The Gilling-Bachman-Green trio accounted for five points, but Knies was the only other forward to pick up a point. Carter Johnson, a healthy scratch on Friday, played with a ton of energy and generated three shots, the second-most of any forward. Bachman of course led the team with five. Monte Graham, normally a faceoff stud, won 2 of 11 draws and was kicked out of the circle numerous times this weekend.
DEFENSEMEN: B-. This corps was OK defensively, and Daschke and Russell accounted for three points. Alec Mahalak, recovering from an upper body injury, played arguably his best game of the season, and his deke and drive to the net drew a penalty that eventually led to a Miami goal. Grant Frederic was very solid in his own end and had one of his better nights of 2019-20.
GOALTENDING: B. Kraws faced a ton of A-plus chances and stopped a few of those, showing off his ability to go post-to-post to shut down 2-on-1 chances. We mentioned above he appeared a little nervous early but settled down to play a very good game.
LINEUP CHANGES: Besides Kraws occupying the net for the first time in nearly two months – replacing Ryan Larkin – Johnson was the only other player to skate on Saturday who was not in the lineup for the opener.
Johnson replaced Noah Jordan.
STANDINGS: With St. Cloud State’s win over Duluth, giving the Huskies 15 points, Miami dropped into a tie for sixth place with Omaha, as both have 12 points.
Colorado College is in eighth with 10 points. Western Michigan holds the No. 4 position with 19 points.
Miami fell one spot to No. 42 in the PairWise.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Considering Miami had opportunities to win both nights, one point on the weekend is not optimal.
But with a first-year coach heading a totally inherited roster, this season is about improving, and the RedHawks led the No. 1 team in Division one for a good portion of the weekend and rarely trailed.
This team continues to battle against more talented opponents and have success.
Miami may have earned only one of a possible six points vs. North Dakota, but to hang with the top team in Division I all weekend shows that after just a half season under Bergeron, the RedHawks are already making progress.
OXFORD, Ohio – Miami was held to a season-low 16 shots on goal, including seven in the final 40 minutes of regulation.
But John Sladic backhanded a puck in with 2:34 left in regulation as the RedHawks salvaged a 4-4 tie vs. No. 1 North Dakota at Cady Arena on Friday.
Miami (6-11-4) lost the sudden-death shootout in the second round, as the Fighting Hawks (17-2-3) earned the extra league point.
It was a career night for both Karch Bachman and Casey Gilling, who finished with four points apiece.
RECAP: The RedHawks stunned top-ranked North Dakota, scoring twice in the first 89 seconds.
Bachman centered a pass from behind the net to Gilling, who slammed it home at the 1:03 mark to open the scoring.
Twenty-six seconds later, Bachman skated into the zone on the left wing and threw one on net. UND goalie Adam Scheel made the save, but Gordie Green crashed the net and banged the rebound in to make it 2-0.
With 4:13 left in the first period, UND’s Westin Michaud tipped a blue line shot by Jordan Kawaguchi just under the crossbar on the power play to cut the deficit in half.
Miami answered 83 seconds later, as Gilling wired one from the left wing into the near top corner of the net on a 2-on-1 to make it 3-1.
The Fighting Hawks’ Grant Mismash streaked into the slot and took a pass Kawaguchi, which he was able to kick to himself before batting it past Miami goalie Ryan Larkin just 17 seconds later.
Scheel was pulled after the first period.
North Dakota tied it at three when Kawaguchi ripped a one-timer from the side of the net on feed from Matt Kiersted on a two-man advantage with 12:37 left in the middle stanza.
It remained a 3-3 game until the Fighting Hawks took their only lead with 4:08 left in regulation when Gavin Hain centered a pass to Cole Smith, who got behind the Miami defense and slid one past Larkin.
But North Dakota led for just 94 seconds, when Gilling had a slot blocked and it caromed to a wide-open Sladic, who backhanded it through traffic and into the side of the net on the power play.
The Fighting Hawks appeared to have taken the lead in the final seconds on a blue line shot that was deflected in the slot, but it was ruled that the puck was touched with a high stick and after review the call stood.
Miami went on the power play late in the 5-on-5 overtime but could not convert, as the game was officially ruled a tie.
North Dakota had a man-advantage in the 3-on-3 session but also could not end it.
Mismash netted the decisive goal in the second round of the shootout, as the other three shooters for both teams failed to score.
STATS: Gilling and Bachman both set career highs with four points each.
Gilling ended the night with two goals and two assists, and Bachman racked up four helpers.
Gilling reached the 20-point mark, breaking his previous career high of 19 set last season, and Bachman is now the team leader in assists with 16.
— Sladic scored in his second straight game and is now tied for fourth on the team with six markers.
— Green’s goal gives him a team-best 10 for the season, and he recorded his 104th career point. That ties him with Justin Mercier and Andrew Miller for 49th on Miami’s all-time leaderboard.
THOUGHTS: It was the best start possible for Miami, scoring twice early and forcing UND to call time out in the second minute.
Predictably, the top-ranked team in Division I battled back and eventually took the lead, but the RedHawks didn’t give up, coming right back and knotting it at four just over a minute later.
In its last four games, Miami has earned wins at the No. 10 team (Bowling Green) and a blowout victory at altitude (Colorado College) and now a tie vs. a Fighting Hawks team topping the Division I poll.
Consistency has been an issue for the RedHawks, but overall they are 2-1-1 in their last four games in four difficult settings.
Even though this game goes down as a tie, and Miami earned just one of a possible three points, considering where the RedHawks were at this point last January – and the first couple of games this season – the progress the same pool of players has made is nothing short of remarkable.
— National television didn’t seem to bother Miami, which scored twice before much of the crowd had found its seats.
Ben Holden, Dave Starman and Shareen Saski did a great job as usual, and Starman was very complimentary of Miami.
Starman was especially impressed with the speed of Bachman and the netminding of Larkin.
— The first period was played at a furious pace, and the balance of the contest was much more controlled and choppy.
Miami generated a whopping two shots over about a 27-minute span from early in the second period to midway through the third.
The RedHawks tried to get a little too fancy with passes, and too often they resulted in turnovers. They also passed up too many shot opportunities as they tried to make the perfect play rather than put the puck on net.
— Faceoffs, an area of vast improvement for Miami this season, worked against the RedHawks in this one, as they won just 26 of 63 draws (41.3 percent).
— So the waved-off goal in the final minute was and still is quite a controversy among the North Dakota faithful. The ruling was that it was played with a high stick, then hit the body before trickling in.
Looking at replays, it’s really hard to tell if the puck hit the stick, although it did appear to change direction twice.
It touched the stick of Miami’s Bray Crowder before going in, but he did not possess the puck so that did not negate the high stick.
The original call was no goal, which was key, because if it was ruled a good goal initially, that call would’ve likely stood.
— Weird penalty sequence: Miami was whistled for four straight minors, then North Dakota was called for the final five.
FORWARDS: B+. It’s hard to ding this corps for a lack of shots and faceoffs wins when it scored four goals against one of the best defensive teams in the NCAA. Gilling was named first star, and it was a well-deserved honor, as he was best player on the ice. North Dakota – a super-quick team itself – had no answer for Bachman’s speed. Green scored and also took the penalty that resulted in UND’s 5-on-3 and the tying goal.
DEFENSEMEN: C. Grading on a curve considering the caliber of opponent, but the blueliners did get caught out of position on a couple of Fighting Hawks goals. Jack Clement, who is having an outstanding freshman season, let Michaud get around him for the tip-in first goal and later was caught flat-footed in the offensive zone as the puck went the other way and ended up in the Miami net. Crowder had one of his better games of the season.
GOALTENDING: B. Larkin made a couple of exceptional saves and his rebound control was outstanding, as it usually is when he’s playing well. He had no chance on the first and third goals, the second was an A-plus and the fourth was also a high-percentage chance. Larkin kept Miami in the game.
LINEUP CHANGES: Injuries continue to haunt Miami, as defenseman Alec Capstick is the latest RedHawk to go down. He joins Ryan Savage and Scott Corbett in MU’s triage unit.
Fortunately for the RedHawks, Mahalak came back and appeared close to 100 percent in limited action. He replaced Capstick, who had dressed for 16 of the first 20 games.
The only other change for Miami was Noah Jordan replacing Carter Johnson up front. Jordan has played in 15 games in 2019-20 after being in the lineup just six times last season.
STANDINGS: Earning their 12th conference point of the season, Miami is tied with St. Cloud State for fifth place in the NCHC. All eight teams have played 11 league games.
Miami is currently No. 41 in the PairWise.
FINAL THOUGHTS: It’s a tie vs. the No. 1 team, and while Miami did not play a perfect game, this is quite an accomplishment.
Progress is paramount this season, and the RedHawks – overall – seem to be making plenty despite battling key injuries.
This is an incredibly difficult four-game homestand, with No. 4 coming in next weekend, but Miami has started it well.
It didn’t go well when Miami traveled to Grand Forks in early November, as North Dakota obliterated the RedHawks in the opener and closed out a series sweep by scoring four times in the first period and holding on for a one-goal win.
The Fighting Hawks are ranked No. 1 in college hockey, with a 15-1-1 record in their last 17, including a 5-0-1 mark in their most recent six road games.
A look at this weekend’s games:
WHO: No. 1 North Dakota Fighting Hawks (17-2-2) at Miami RedHawks (6-11-3).
WHEN: Friday – 6:30 p.m.; Saturday – 7:05 p.m.
WHERE: Cady Arena (3,642), Oxford, Ohio.
ALL-TIME SERIES: North Dakota leads, 16-7-3.
NORTH DAKOTA RADIO: Both nights – KFJM-FM (96.1), Grand Forks, N.D.
MIAMI RADIO: Both nights – WMOH-AM (1450), Hamilton, Ohio.
TV: Friday – CBS College Sports (DirecTV Ch. 221).
STREAM: Saturday – NCHC.tv.
NOTES: North Dakota has dominated the top spot of the polls for over a month.
The Fighting Hawks have outscored their opponents, 88-38 and are outshooting foes on average, 31-21.
Jordan Kawaguchi is tied for third in the NCAA in points with 30, having scored 10 goals and assisted on 20 more.
New York Islanders draft pick Collin Adams has seven goals and 12 assists for 19 points, and a pair of other drafted players – Shane Pinto (Ottawa – 10-6-16) and Grant Mismash (Nashville – 6-9-15), have keyed the Fighting Hawks’ offense.
Colorado College transfer Westin Michaud has been another major contributor to the UND offense with eight goals and nine assists for 17 points.
Also up front, Cole Smith and Jasper Weatherby (San Jose) also have seven goals.
On defense, Jacob Bernard-Docker (Ottawa selection) and Matt Kiersted lead the corps with 14 points apiece.
Colton Poolman has two goals and nine assists, and another Senators pick – Jonny Tychonick – is 3-6-9 in 15 games.
Three other North Dakota skaters are NHL draftees: Harrison Blaisdell (Winnipeg), Gavin Hain (Philadelphia) and Judd Caulfield (Pittsburgh).
Adam Scheel has logged all but 27 minutes in net this season. He is 17-2-2 with a 1.73 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage.
Columbus draftee Peter Thome played 25 minutes and stopped all three shots he faced.
North Dakota has been outstanding at killing penalties, doing so at a 91.4 percent clip.
The Fighting Hawks have also won three games in the 5-on-5 overtime.
For the first two periods, it looked like the two teams that played the previous night had switched sweaters.
Miami controlled Friday’s game for 60 minutes but was dominated in a similar manner for the first 40 in the series finale, a 4-2 loss to Colorado College at World Arena on Saturday.
The RedHawks blew the Tigers out in the opener, 6-1.
In the finale, Miami fell behind, 3-0 in the first period and the shots were 28-11 in favor of CC heading into the second intermission. The RedHawks pulled to within one late but were unable to generate the equalizer before the Tigers put it away with a clinching goal late.
RECAP: Just 2:22 into the first period, Colorado College’s Christiano Versich skated behind the Miami net and fired a wraparound shot that was initially saved by Miami goalie Ryan Larkin, but the puck sat loose at the side of the crease and Troy Conzo poked it home.
With 10:04 left in the opening frame, the Tigers’ Chris Wilkie wristed one from the blue line that hit a Miami skate and caromed in on the power play to make it 2-0.
On a 3-on-2, Colorado College’s Patrick Cozzi dropped a pass to Conzo, who buried a shot from the center of the faceoff circle with 5:04 to play in period one.
Miami finally got on the board at the 16:36 mark of the second stanza as Chase Pletzke deked a defender, carried the puck into the slot and had a shot partially deflected to the side of the net, where John Sladic slammed it home.
Derek Daschke ripped a one-timer from the high slot that found the net on the short side with 14:44 left in regulation to cut the RedHawks’ deficit to one, 3-2.
But CC sealed it with 6:40 to play on a 2-on-1, with Alex Berardinelli feeding Josiah Slavin for the tap-in.
STATS: Pletkze recorded two more points on assists, giving him four points for the series.
The freshman was credited with one point in the first 10 games but has 11 in the last 10, including 10 in Miami’s most recent eight contests.
— Daschke scored in both ends of the weekend series, giving him six markers on the season. He has four points in his last three games.
— Sladic netted his fifth goal, with this being his first career one-goal game. His other four tallies came in a pair of two-goal games.
— Gordie Green earned a helper, giving him 103 career points, ranking him No. 51 on the team’s all-time leaderboard.
— Karch Bachman saw his eight-game points streak snapped, and Casey Gilling’s four-game run was also halted.
— Miami scored on its only power play of the game and has four goals on the man advantage in its last three games (3-of-10).
— Monte Graham was 11-0 on faceoffs! The RedHawks were 40-26 overall on draws.
THOUGHTS: Maybe the RedHawks thought that like Friday this game started at 9:37 Eastern and were caught unprepared?
Would love to hear a more logical reason to explain MU’s atrocious start. I mean, if we’re going to blame the Rocky Mountain altitude of Colorado Springs, wouldn’t the RedHawks have struggled late rather than play dead early?
Colorado College’s first-period surge is something that anyone who has watched hockey for a decent amount of time could’ve predicted, but Miami’s complete ineptitude the first two periods after such a decisive win is difficult to accept.
Credit the Tigers, who are a decent team, for responding well after taking a beating on home ice a day earlier.
But there’s a difference between Miami being on its heels while enduring a surge and skating like it had never played competitive hockey before.
The RedHawks were back to their at-Bowling-Green-and-at-CC-Game-I form for the third period, outshooting the Tigers, 20-8, but the damage had been done.
Overall, this weekend goes in the books as a split, and a road split in an NCHC series during a rebuild season is a good thing, but the way this game went down is puzzling after Miami played so well in every facet in the series opener.
— Not saying it would’ve flipped the outcome, but the refs gave Colorado College four power plays and Miami none. A bench minor for too many men on the ice was the only penalty assessed to the Tigers, and the linesmen caught that.
— Colorado College’s Wilkie finished with 13 shots on goal, including his 15th tally. The rest of the team had 23.
LINEUP CHANGES: Brian Savage suffered a lower body injury on Friday, and Carter Johnson replaced him. Bad timing, as Savage had points in back-to-back games and 10 on the season.
That was the only change from Friday, as regulars Alec Mahalak and Scott Corbett were also scratched. Both are suffering from short-term injuries.
STANDINGS: Miami is in fifth place in the NCHC with 11 points, as the RedHawks, CC and Omaha all have 3-6-1 records but MU has the extra league point.
St. Cloud State is last at 3-7 with nine points. Western Michigan is fourth with 13.
Miami is No. 43 in the PairWise rankings.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Through 20 games, one thing we’ve established is that this is arguably the most unpredictable Miami team ever.
The RedHawks showed completely different faces in Games 1 and 2 this weekend.
The MU team that was so good against Duluth and also a week later in Omaha came home and laid giant eggs in four games at Connecticut and vs. St. Cloud State in Oxford, then was positively studly in Bowling Green on Dec. 30 prior to this series.
Admittedly, unpredictable is better than consistently dreadful, which is what Miami was the final three months of 2018-19. So that’s improvement.
But No. 1 North Dakota is coming to Oxford next weekend, and if the RedHawks give anything short of their best effort in that upcoming series, those games will be painful to watch.
What a start to 2020 for Miami.
In their first game of the calendar year, the RedHawks reeled off four straight goals in the first period-plus as they pounded Colorado College, 6-1 at World Arena on Friday.
It was the first time since Oct. 27, 2018 that Miami scored six goals in a game, and MU has not done that on the road since Jan. 12, 2018.
RECAP: Jack Clement gave the RedHawks (6-10-3) the early lead when he penetrated from the point to the center of the right faceoff circle before whipping one past Colorado College goalie Ryan Ruck at the 5:34 mark.
With 7:31 left in the opening period, Miami made it 2-0 on a crazy sequence as Ryan Savage poked the puck home after Ruck had vacated the crease to play a loose puck and never recovered.
Derek Daschke stole the puck in Miami’s offensive zone, skated across the top of the crease until Ruck had committed then roofed it shorthanded with 1:19 left in the opening stanza to give the RedHawks a three-goal lead heading into the first intermission.
Chase Pletzke extended the RedHawks’ lead to four 102 seconds into the second period.
Chris Wilkie scored his 14th goal of the season, wristing one through traffic to cut the Colorado College (7-9-1) deficit to three with 9:19 left in the middle stanza.
But Miami answered, as Matt Barry scored his first career goal in a RedHawks sweater when he took a pass from Ben Lown, who was behind the CC net, skated it to the inside edge of the faceoff circle and fired it home to make it 5-1 with 4:56 left in the frame.
MU capped the scoring 51 seconds into the third period on a 5-on-3 when Casey Gilling threaded a pass through the slot to Gordie Green, who slammed the one-timer into the back of the net.
STATS: Four Miami players finished with two points: Lown, Barry, Pletzke and Phil Knies.
It was Pletzke’s second multi-point game of the season and the first of 2019-20 for the other three. Barry recorded his first points as a RedHawk, as he played in his second career game for Miami.
— Karch Bachman extended his points streak to eight games, the longest for a Miamian since Kiefer Sherwood in 2017-18. He has assists in five consecutive contests.
— Green has points in 10 of 11 games. He and Savage both found the net for the second straight game.
— Miami has won back-to-back road games for the first time since 2016-17. Ryan Larkin stopped 25 shots en route to his second consecutive win, which has not happened since Nov. 2017.
THOUGHTS: It was pure dominance by Miami from opening faceoff to the final horn.
That’s two games in a row the RedHawks have played at top form. Both games on the road, both ended up in the win column.
What was most impressive was Miami’s killer instinct. In past seasons, especially in the winter months, two- and three-goal leads too often turned in ties and losses.
In this game, the RedHawks ran the lead to four, then five.
And Colorado College’s shot total in the third period? Six. The Tigers’ lowest shot total of the game.
Miami established the lead, expanded the lead and held the lead.
A complete effort and a textbook win for the RedHawks.
— Miami finished 35-24 on faceoffs, which is a key reason for its 5-for-5 penalty killing and 26 shots allowed. Colorado College seemed liked it couldn’t win an offensive-zone faceoff all night, and the RedHawks seemed liked they were in the attack zone all night.
— MU’s transition game was its best of the season, amazing considering the lack of live action over the past month. The RedHawks put on a clinic in this area, thus the end-to-end action and 42 shots on goal, a season best.
— Barry looked very comfortable wearing the Miami ‘M’. Besides the goal and assist, he was 7-4 on faceoffs, played stellar defense and moved the puck well. He’s been as good as advertised so far and should be a staple for MU up front for the next 2-plus seasons.
— Daschke’s goal was flat-out sick. If you haven’t seen the replay, go to NCHC.tv. Right now. And while you’re there, go to Miami’s final goal and admire Gilling’s pass to Green. Beautiful.
— Loved Pletzke in this game. He seems to be gaining more confidence every game and despite his size, he doesn’t seem to get ridden off the puck.
— That freshman line overall – Savage, Pletzke and John Sladic – was one of Miami’s best. The trio combined for four points and had plenty of offensive zone possession time.
— Lost in the lopsided win is the play of Larkin. He stopped a breakaway. He shut down a 3-on-0. His rebound control was exceptional, as it usually is when he’s going well. And he’s gone very well in Miami’s two-game winning streak.
LINEUP CHANGES: Two regular forwards were not in the lineup: Scott Corbett and Noah Jordan. Corbett missed just his second game of the season, and Jordan had dressed for 14 of the first 18.
Brian Hawkinson, scratched for the first time in 2019-20 vs. Bowling Green, returned up front.
Miami went with seven defensemen, as opposed to the 13 forwards they dressed at BGSU.
The 13-feet combo of Andrew Sinard and Bray Crowder returned, and Alec Mahalak was out. Mahalak was a late scratch in Bowling Green and appears to be suffering from a lingering injury.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Miami has been brutal in the winter months seemingly forever, but unlike in past years, the RedHawks seemed to have zero rust from the holiday break.
Quite the opposite.
As we’re now about 100 days from opening night, this team is vastly superior than it was in October in every way.
Hopefully Game 1 of the calendar year is an indication that good things are in store for the RedHawks in 2020.
For Colorado College, the road has been the new home the past two months.
The Tigers have hosted just one game since Nov. 2, with nine of their last 10 contests being played on hostile or neutral ice.
Like Miami, CC has seen little live action recently, having played only two games since mid-December.
A look at this weekend’s games:
WHO: Miami RedHawks (5-10-3) at Colorado College Tigers (7-8-1).
WHEN: Friday – 9:37 p.m.; Saturday – 8:07 p.m.
WHERE: Broadmoor World Arena (7,380), Colorado Springs, Colo.
ALL-TIME SERIES: Tied, 10-10-2.
MIAMI RADIO: WMOH-AM (1450), Hamilton, Ohio.
COLORADO COLLEGE RADIO: KRDO-FM (105.5), KRDO-AM (1240), Colorado Springs, Colo.
NOTES: The big story for Colorado College has been senior Chris Wilkie’s outstanding first half.
Wilkie, a North Dakota transfer whose previous career highs were six goals and 19 points, has scored 13 times and added seven assists for 20 points.
The Florida draft pick has recorded 27 percent of his team’s goals and earned a point in 42 percent of its tallies.
Fellow upperclassman Nick Halloran is second in scoring with a 7-9-16 line and is tops on the Tigers in helpers.
After that, the scoring drops off considerably, as Bailey Conger is the only other Colorado College skater with double-digits in points with four goals and seven assists.
Among forwards, Grant Cruikshank and Ben Copeland have also been solid contributors with eight points apiece, and Alex Berardinelli has seven.
Tigers defensemen have done little offensively, as the 10 that have dressed have combined for just four goals this season and no blueliner has more than eight points.
Bryan Yoon has eight assists, and freshman Connor Mayer is at 1-6-7, and everyone else has four points or fewer.
Colorado College has dressed 10 defensemen this season, and opponents are averaging over 35 shots a game.
Freshman Matt Vernon – son of former NHL goalie Mike Vernon – has done a fine job in net despite facing a ton of quality shots. His save percentage is .915 and he has a goals-against average of 3.03.
Vernon has played in 11 games, and senior Ryan Ruck has been between the pipes for seven. Ruck’s GAA is 3.25 and his save percentage is .905.
Penalty killing has been a major shortcoming for Colorado College. The Tigers are 67.2 percent on the PK – worst in all of Division I – and 60.0 percent in conference play.
The Tigers overall are still trending upward, but it’s been a slow climb. After four straight seasons of single-digit win totals, Colorado College is just six games under .500 the past 2½ seasons.
Surprisingly, the Tigers have been better on the road than on their home ice at elevation. CC is 2-4-1 at home and 4-4 on the road.
Same goes for Miami, which is 3-4-2 away from Oxford and 2-6-1 at Cady Arena.
The RedHawks have struggled vs. Colorado College in recent years, going 1-5-1 in their last seven and 1-4-1 in their last six in this building.