Images from the series between St. Cloud State and Miami played at Cady Arena in Oxford, Ohio. All photos by Cathy Lachmann/VFTG.
OXFORD, Ohio – A St. Cloud State 5-on-3 late in the second period ruined what was otherwise one of Miami’s best periods of the season.
With the score tied and MU controlling play, the Huskies scored on the two-man advantage to take the lead and netted the next two goals to pull away in a 5-3 win over the RedHawks at Cady Arena on Saturday.
Trailing by three midway through the third period, Miami battled back, scoring twice in the final six minutes but could not dig itself completely out of its hole.
That completed a weekend sweep for SCSU, which won 2-1 on Friday. The RedHawks (4-10-3) head into their Christmas break on a four-game losing streak, their longest of the season.
RECAP: St. Cloud State’s Nick Poehling wristed one from the high slot that slipped through traffic and inside the far post to open the scoring 10:50 into the first period.
Miami tied it just 62 seconds later. Grant Frederic picked off a long pass down the middle, tipping it ahead to Rourke Russell who found Scott Corbett on the left wing, and Corbett skated toward the net, backhanding a pass to Chase Pletzke, who shoveled it in from the right side of the cage.
The Huskies (4-6-4) took the lead for good on their two-man advantage goal, which came at the 13:11 mark of the middle frame. Jack Ahcan teed up a one-timer for Spencer Meier, whose rip from the top of the left faceoff circle beat RedHawks goalie Grant Valentine on the glove side.
SCSU extended its lead to two three minutes into the third period on a 2-on-1, with Poehling feeding brother Jack Poehling for a slam-dunk at the top of the crease.
Kevin Fitzgerald made it 4-1 in favor of the Huskies when he coralled a stretch pass along the boards, skated toward the net, deked Russell and slammed the puck home with 9:58 left in regulation.
The RedHawks trimmed their deficit to two with 5:55 remaining when Christian Mohs eluded a defender with a toe drag and fired a wrister that beat goalie David Hrenak on the glove side.
St. Cloud State squelched any hope Miami had of a comeback with 4:35 to play when Ondrej Trejbal threw one toward the net that hit the end boards and caromed to a wide-open Sam Hentges for a bad-angle slap shot from the bottom of the right faceoff circle, making it 5-2.
With 2:36 left, Miami capped the scoring as Karch Bachman fed a blind backhand pass through traffic to Casey Gilling for a tap-in from the top of the crease.
STATS: Nine different players picked up a point for Miami.
— Gordie Green recorded No. 98 for his career, as he is now two away from becoming the 53rd member of the RedHawks’ 100-point club. He leads the team with 19 and has notched at least one in eight of nine games.
— Gilling scored for the second straight night and has six points in his last six games.
— Pletzke netted his fourth goal and his third in his last seven contests. Mohs’ marker was his first this season and the second of his career.
— Andrew Sinard dished for his second assist of the season and third career point – all on helpers. Corbett tallied his third assist on the campaign.
— Bachman leads the team with a six-game point streak, going 1-6-7 in that span. He has already tied his career high in assists (9) and is one point away from his career best in points, with 15 already in 2019-20.
— Miami was outshot for the 11th straight game.
— The RedHawks have allowed nine third-period goals in their last four games and 11 in this last six.
THOUGHTS: Really hate to bring up officiating, but it played a major role in the outcome.
Not saying in any way that Miami would’ve won – St. Cloud was the better team all weekend – just that it was a huge factor in how the game played out.
The power plays were 4-1 in favor of St. Cloud State, including an extended 5-on-3. The lone man-advantage for Miami was in the third period on an obvious infraction (holding was called although it was more interference-ish) after the Huskies had taken a 3-1 lead.
How SCSU got the 5-on-3 was pretty frustrating. Russell was assessed a holding penalty, then 48 seconds later Phil Knies was crashing the net shorthanded and was whistled for goaltender interference. He had a defender draped on him and had nowhere to go.
Miami coach Chris Bergeron showed about as much emotion as he has this season after that call and had a few choice words for the officials.
The RedHawks nearly killed the two-man advantage, then Corbett was kicked out of the faceoff circle – which was rarity in this game, and honestly, it’s hard to recall a single time that happened to SCSU – leaving nine-foot defenseman Sinard to make his Miami faceoff debut.
He didn’t win it and the Huskies scored seconds later.
To that point, the second period was one of the best Miami had played this season and the score was tied at one.
That PPG made it 2-1 in favor of St. Cloud, and the rest is history.
Gilling was kicked out of the faceoff circle in the closing minutes, and as he has in the past, got vocal with the linesman.
There were multiple opportunities for the refs to whistle SCSU for penalties and each time their arms stayed down.
There were certainly other reasons why Miami did not earn any points in this game, but the officiating certainly didn’t do the RedHawks any favors on their home ice.
— The first period was pretty even, with MU leading 9-6 in shots, but SCSU took control late in that frame and the RedHawks went into survival mode to hold the score in place at 1-1 heading into the first intermission.
Miami was outstanding in the second period and didn’t deserve to head into the locker room down one after 40.
But in the third period a pair of miscues led to SCSU goals three and four, and the fifth was slammed in after a lively kick off the end boards to a wide-open Huskie.
— The newly formed Knies-Ben Lown-John Sladic line was Miami’s best of the night, as the threesome was able to cycle the puck numerous times and create good looks while playing solid defense.
Juniors Knies and Lown were linemates most of their first two seasons and they seemed to generate excellent chemistry with Sladic.
— The Poehlings can stop producing hockey-playing sons any time. Even with Ryan Poehling flourishing in the Montréal system, Nick and Jack combined for two goals and two assists, including the third SCSU goal which was a 2-on-1 with Nick feeding Jack.
— Valentine back in net for the second straight night was a bit of a surprise, but he played very well on Friday. He wasn’t as sharp on Saturday, but he made his share of difficult saves and certainly wasn’t the reason Miami took the ‘L’.
— That third Miami goal, with Bachman threading a backhand pass to Gilling, was absolutely beautiful to watch, including Green’s role in it as he kept the play alive along the boards. Plays like that make it easy to be a hockey fan, even during a four-game losing streak.
FORWARDS: B. Definitely a better game for this corps than Friday. More puck possession, more offensive zone time, and that’s despite having just two minutes of power play time vs. seven for SCSU. Freshman Pletzke continues to put the puck in the net – that’s four this year – and Gilling is a completely different player than in 2018-19. Mohs had a sweet toe drag before his wrister found twine.
DEFENSEMEN: C-. Alec Capstick shot a puck into a pair of skates that went the other way, and he lost his balance and was unable to get back into the play, resulting in a St. Cloud State 2-on-1 and its third goal. Russell got beat 1-on-1 on the Huskies’ fourth goal. But overall this group did a decent job of getting sticks in front of Huskies’ shots. They contributed little offensively save Sinard’s assist, although Frederic did make a nice transitional play on MU’s first goal.
GOALTENDING: C. Valentine probably would’ve liked that first goal back, but the rest were all legit, and he stopped a penalty shot in the third period. He also made several other stops on Grade-A chances and was a stud on the 5-on-3 until the final seconds, when the Huskies finally broke through on a blast from the slot. The third and fourth goals were on odd-man chances, and an unfortunate bounce and quality bad-angle shot resulted in No. 5. It’s easy to blame the goalie when an opponent scores five, and although the numbers don’t show it, Valentine played a decent game.
LINEUP CHANGES: One each on defense and offense.
Frederic replaced Bray Crowder on the blueline, and Mohs dressed in place of Noah Jordan up front and netted his first goal in 11 months.
STANDINGS: Despite being swept, Miami remains in fourth place in the NCHC, although the RedHawks have played eight conference games and all four teams below them have two games in hand.
MU dropped seven places in the PairWise in one night, from tied for 40th to a tie with Niagara for No. 47.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This isn’t exactly the way Miami wanted to head into Christmas break, but at the same time, maybe this is a good time for a few weeks off.
Even with the recent losses, looking at the last four scores of 2018-19 (5-1, 6-1, 5-2, 6-3), this team is markedly better than it was even nine months ago.
But it’s still frustrating to see the RedHawks go 0-4 against a pair of teams that were 3-6-3 and 2-6-4 entering their series.
This game is a microcosm of the first half of MU’s season: The team played hard but defensive lapses were killers.
Hopefully we continue to see the former and less of the latter in 2020.
OXFORD, Ohio – St. Cloud State ruined Grant Valentine’s home starting debut.
A blast by Luke Jaycox beat the junior goaltender with 25 seconds left in regulation, snapping a tie and lifting the Huskies to a 2-1 win over Miami at Cady Arena on Friday.
The RedHawks’ loss was their third straight, and they have won just two of eight games on their home ice this season.
SCSU was previously 0-4 in NCHC play.
RECAP: St. Cloud State (3-6-4) opened the scoring 17:19 into the first period when a Nick Perbix pass up the middle of the ice sprung Jami Krannila loose for a breakaway, and Krannila snuck a backhander just inside the post.
Following a scoreless second period, Miami (4-9-3) tied it when Karch Bachman skated around a defender and fed a pass from the side of the net to Casey Gilling at the top of the crease, and Gilling backhanded it home at the 1:52 mark.
But Easton Brodzinski slid a pass through the slot to Jaycox, who ripped a one-timer home from the top of the faceoff circle with time winding down.
Miami challenged, claiming the play was off-side, but the call was upheld.
STATS: It was the first career home start and second overall for Valentine, who stopped 26 shots. His save percentage is now a team-best .894.
— Gilling scored for the third time in five games, giving him 13 points on the season. He recorded 12 all of 2018-19.
— Bachman picked up just three assists in his first 11 games but has five in his last five contests. He notched a point for the fifth straight game, a team high.
— Gordie Green, who was awarded the second assist, has points in six of seven games and leads Miami with 18 for the season.
He has 97 for his career and would become the 53rd player in team history to reach triple digits.
— This was the 10th consecutive game in which the RedHawks were outshot.
— It was also the fifth straight contest in which Miami used a different starting goalie. All three have made at least three appearances in 2019-20.
THOUGHTS: The RedHawks played well for the first 16 minutes of the third period but were unspectacular the other 44.
There were a lot of long offensive-zone possessions in the first period, with St. Cloud State controlling the puck for most of those extended shifts. Green had a breakaway in that first 20 minutes but shot wide.
Miami generated just two even-strength shots in the second period.
The light seemed to come on for the RedHawks in the third, and then the light did come on when Gilling scored two minutes in. That stanza started with Miami having to kill a portion of a penalty, and the RedHawks seemingly spent more time in the zone during that first minute than the entire middle frame.
Miami was playing well, but with six minutes left, the RedHawks were unable to score on a power play and St. Cloud State seized the momentum, culminating in the winning goal in the final minute.
Despite their record, the Huskies are still a quality team with excellent speed and was the better team overall in this game.
— Since playing so well in Omaha, Miami seems to have reverted defensively, as too many times skaters were chasing the puck instead of maintaining their positioning.
On the first SCSU goal, defensemen Alec Mahalak and Alec Capstick were at the points with no Miami forwards in site when the Huskies sprung Krannila loose for a breakaway right through the middle of the ice.
On the winning goal, three Miami players went into the corner – again, chasing the puck – and when St. Cloud State dug the puck out, Brodzinski was able to feed a perfect one-time pass to a wide-open Jaycox.
Valentine bailed the RedHawks out at the end of the first period, stopping five shots on the power play as the Huskies were not adequately defended and generated multiple point-blank blasts as a result.
— Ben Lown returned to the lineup after missing the last eight games with a lower-body injury, and he appeared nearly 100 percent.
With him healthy and Matt Barry set to become eligible for the Bowling Green game, Miami will boast much better forward depth.
FORWARDS: D+. Once again, Bachman was able to use his speed to create a goal, as he blew around a defender before feeding Gilling at the top of the crease. Unfortunately for the RedHawks, that was one of only 15 shots this corps would generate. Phil Knies played well and finished with five shots, and Gilling tallied four, but the other 10 forwards recorded a total of six. Even Bachman was held to one. Green, who was unable to score on his breakaway, ended the night with zero.
DEFENSEMEN: C-. It seems this group is too eager to jump into plays when it hasn’t proven it can collectively do its job in its own end. It’s sort of like shoveling your neighbor’s driveway before taking care of your own. Derek Daschke has more than established that he can pinch while handling his defensive responsibilities, but at this point the rest of this corps would be better suited playing a more conservative game. Daschke was absolutely robbed by David Hrenak on a 2-on-1 in the third period but that was the only quality scoring chance any blueliner had. Mahalak is getting very little power play time, possibly because he’s being brought along gently after the injury that cost him the first six weeks of the season, but his presence at the point could jump-start the man-advantage.
GOALTENDING: A-. Valentine entered the season as Miami’s third goalie but he had a .929 save percentage in this game and is .909 in his two starts. And he faced some A-plus chances in this game. He singlehandedly kept the RedHawks in the game late in the first period when SCSU already held a one-goal lead and fired seemingly at will during its power play. The Huskies’ first goal was on a nice backhand move and the other was on a rip from the top of the faceoff circle after a quick pass, and Valentine had little chance to stop it. He is making coach Chris Bergeron’s decision about who to stick between the pipes each night a lot more difficult.
LINEUP CHANGES: With Lown back in the lineup, Carter Johnson was scratched about dressing for eight straight games.
Jack Clement, Brayden Crowder and Noah Jordan all returned to the lineup after sitting last Saturday, replacing Grant Frederic, Chaz Switzer and Christian Mohs.
Miami has started three different netminders in its last three contests.
STANDINGS: Despite suffering its first three-game losing streak of 2019-20 and falling to a season-worst five games under .500, Miami is still in fourth place in the NCHC with eight points.
The RedHawks are currently tied with Colgate and Air Force for No. 40 in the PairWise rankings.
FINAL THOUGHTS: After collecting five points in Omaha, Miami was facing a four-game stretch vs. Connecticut and St. Cloud State, which were both in the bottom quarter of the PairWise.
Expectations were high after that UNO series, but the RedHawks were swept at UConn and lost the opener to SCSU.
The defensive lapses are a major concern considering how much better Miami had played against UNO and Minnesota-Duluth before that.
The RedHawks’ success this season hinges on their ability to tighten up in that area and stop allowing opponents to skate unabated into high-percentage scoring areas at will.
So which Miami team is this?
The one that allowed 38 goals in its first nine games, or the one that gave up just eight in four games against the two-time defending national champions and the No. 18-ranked team in Division I on the road?
We’ll see in the next four months.
It’s been quite the plummet for St. Cloud State, which entered the 2019 NCAA Tournament as the No. 1 overall seed but was shocked once again in the first round.
This season the Huskies have won just two games and only one of their last eight as they are mired in a four-game losing streak.
The SCSU squad that finished 19-2-3 in league play last season is 0-4 in the NCHC, having been swept by Colorado College in St. Cloud and North Dakota in Grand Forks.
A look at this weekend’s series:
WHO: St. Cloud State Huskies (2-6-4) at Miami RedHawks (3-6-3).
WHEN: Friday and Saturday – 7:05 p.m.
WHERE: Cady Arena (3,642), Oxford, Ohio.
ALL-TIME SERIES: St. Cloud State leads, 20-17-4.
MIAMI RADIO: Both games – WMOH-AM (1450), Hamilton, Ohio; WKBV-FM (100.9), Richmond, Ind.
ST. CLOUD STATE RADIO: Both games – KZRV-FM (96.7), St. Cloud, Minn.
NOTES: St. Cloud State is allowing too many goals, surrendering at least four in eight of its 12 contests and 3.58 per game overall.
Junior goaltender and Los Angeles Kings selection David Hrenak has struggled to an .881 save percentage this season and has a 3.22 goals-against average. He has played all but 30 minutes this season, with freshman Joey Lamoreaux stopping 14 of 15 in his debut.
Undrafted senior captain Jack Ahcan leads the Huskies defense with a team-high 123 career games played, and he has posted 17 goals and 71 assists in three-plus seasons.
Sophomore Nick Perbix, a Tampa Bay draftee, is 2-3-5 this season. Both he and Ahcan are minus-8.
Rounding out the regulars on defense are Spencer Meier (2-2-4), Clark Custer (1-1-2), Luke Jaycox (1-1-2) and Brendan Bushy (0-0-0).
Up front, sophomore Sam Hentges is tied for 12th in the NCAA in scoring with 18 points on six goals and 12 assists, just two points shy of his freshman output.
Easton Brodzinski has five goals and seven assists and has already scored 35 career goals for the Huskies.
But no other forward has more than six points.
Brothers and assistant captains Jack and Nick Poehling have combined for 11, and three others – Chase Brand, Jake Wahlin and Jami Krannila – have four each.
Miami was swept at Connecticut last weekend after going 1-0-1 at then-No. 18 Nebraska-Omaha.
These are the first home conference games of the season for the RedHawks, who do not play again until after Christmas.
After giving up an early goal, Miami scored three straight markers and held a two-goal lead after 20 minutes.
Unfortunately for the RedHawks, they were outscored, 5-1 in the final two frames and fell, 6-4 to Connecticut at the XL Center in Hartford on Friday.
Miami allowed 48 shots, its highest total of the season as the RedHawks fell for the second time in it last five games.
STATS: Gordie Green extended his points streak to six games, picking up a goal and an assist. He has three goals and five assists in that span and is just four points short of 100 for his career.
Derek Daschke and Casey Gilling also went 1-1-2, giving Daschke 11 points on the season and Gilling 12, tying him for his 2018-19 total.
Freshman Chase Pletzke also finished with two assists, the first multi-point game of his career.
The most shots Miami had previously allowed in a game was 42 in the season opener vs. Bowling Green.
THOUGHTS: And the above sentence says it all.
UConn, ranked No. 48 in the PairWise entering the weekend, managed 48 shots, six more than any opponent has fired against Miami this season.
Full disclosure: I was driving the entire time this game was playing but had CBS All-Access on throughout, so I was able to listen, occasionally glance at the action and check out the highlights.
But I saw enough – and the stats back me up – that Miami took it to the Huskies after Connecticut’s first-period goal, and then the UConn dominated the final two periods.
— Ryan Larkin was back in net after missing last week and stopped 42 of 48 shots, facing at least 14 shots in each period.
— Connecticut scored on an extended 5-on-3 less than three minutes into the game, but Miami was awarded a two-man advantage of its own midway through that frame, and Karch Bachman capitalized after one skater had returned.
— Both teams had three power play opportunities in the first frame but the teams combined for just three chances the balance of the game.
LINEUP CHANGES: Larkin was back in net, replacing Ben Kraws, who earned the win last Saturday.
Grant Frederic returned to the lineup, replacing Alec Capstick. The two have alternated at the seventh defense spot for several weeks.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Again, just listened to the game and saw bits and pieces.
But the Huskies dominated the final two periods and deserved to win this game.
Miami can’t expect to win many games allowing 48 shots.
Coming off such a successful road trip in Omaha, it’s a disappointing loss to a team previous ranked No. 48 in the PairWise.
Connecticut and Miami meet for just the second time in the teams’ history, with the RedHawks sweeping the Huskies in Oxford two years ago.
These games will be played at the XL Center, formerly the Hartford Civic Center, formerly the home of the Hartford Whalers.
It will be the first time Miami has played on an NHL team’s (or in this case former NHL team’s) ice surface since its final CCHA Tournament in March of 2013.
A look at this weekend’s series:
WHO: Miami RedHawks (4-6-3) at Connecticut Huskies (3-6-3).
WHEN: Friday and Saturday – 4:05 p.m.
WHERE: XL Center (8,089), Hartford, Conn.
ALL-TIME SERIES: Miami leads, 2-0.
MIAMI RADIO: Both games – WMOH-AM (1450), Hamilton, Ohio.
CONNECTICUT RADIO: Both games – WUCS-FM (97.9), Hartford, Conn.; WILI-AM (1400) and WILI-FM (95.3), Willimantic, Conn.
STREAM: CBS Sports All-Access.
NOTES: Despite boasting a plethora of NHL draft picks on its teams the past couple of seasons, Connecticut has struggled mightily on the ice.
The Huskies dropped from 15 wins in 2017-18 to 12 last season, and they are off to a 3-6-3 start this campaign with just one win in their last seven contests.
Scoring has been an issue for UConn thus far in 2019-20, as the team is averaging just 2.33 goals per game and has only netted four or more once.
Through 12 games, no one on the Huskies has more than seven points.
Among forwards Jachym Kondelik, a Nashville selection, leads the team in goals with four and is tied for the team lead in points. Alexander Payusov also has seven points, including five assists.
Five forwards – Carter Turnbull, Kale Howarth, Ruslan Iskhakov, Benjamin Freeman and Vladimir Firstov all have six points, with the former two going 3-3-6 and the latter three having matching lines of two goals and four assists.
Freshman Yan Kuznetsov leads all defenders with seven points on a goal and a team-best six helpers.
Another rookie blueliner, Harrison Rees, has notched one goal and three assists.
Of the seven defensemen Connecticut has used this season, four are freshmen.
In net, Tomas Vomacka has played all but nine minutes for the Huskies. He has a 3.33 goals-against average and a .900 save percentage.
Connecticut is very young with a European flare. The Huskies have seven freshmen and nine sophomores, and three of their players are Russian, three more are from the Czech Republic and another was born in England.
UConn has struggled on special teams, as its power play is clicking at just a 10.5 percent clip. Its penalty kill rate is 73.2 percent, ranking near the bottom of Hockey East.
Miami is 2-2-2 on the road after earning five points last weekend in Omaha.
Regular starting goalie Ryan Larkin was banged-up and missed that series, but back-ups Grant Valentine and Ben Kraws were both outstanding in his absence and are making the case for more time between the pipes.
Offensively, Gordie Green and Ryan Savage have been the hottest RedHawks with six points apiece in their last five games. Green has points in each of his last five games, including a two-goal performance last Saturday.
With goalie Ryan Larkin out for the weekend, Miami had to rely on its other two netminders this weekend.
The RedHawks earned a tie on Friday behind Grant Valentine, and in the series finale, freshman Ben Kraws turned aside 32 shots to earn his first career win in a 4-1 victory vs. No. 18 Nebraska-Omaha at Baxter Arena on Saturday.
It was the first time Miami (4-6-3) had earned at least five points in an NCHC road series in almost four years.
The RedHawks ran off the first three goals and never looked back as they improved to .500 on the road on the season at 2-2-2.
RECAP: Miami opened the scoring on the power play, as Ryan Savage slid a pass through the slot to Gordie Green, who buried a one-timer from the side of the net at the 6:32 mark of the first period.
The RedHawks extended their lead to two 6:39 into the second frame when John Sladic fired a shot from the slot that goalie Austin Roden couldn’t handle cleanly, and Green jammed it home from the same spot as his first goal.
Miami went up three on a crazy sequence with 6:02 left in the middle stanza. Karch Bachman stole the puck in his defensive zone, starting a 3-on-0, took two point-blank shots which were both denied before carrying the puck behind the net, centering one to Jack Clement in the slot, and Clement wristed it home.
Taylor Ward scored UNO’s lone goal with 2:50 left in that period when he carried the puck from behind the net to the faceoff dot and wired one into the far top corner to make it 3-1.
But 26 seconds later, the RedHawks answered as Noah Jordan’s pass along the boards through the neutral zone found Chase Pletzke, who eluded a defender, skated to center and stuffed it through Roden from the top of the crease.
The Mavericks fired 17 shots in the third period, but all were denied by Kraws.
STATS: It was the sixth two-goal game of Green’s career and his second this season.
He is currently the team leader in goals (6), assists (9) and points (15) and owns a five-game point streak which equals the longest of his career.
Green is just six points shy of becoming the 53rd RedHawk to tally 100 points.
— Kraws made his third start and his 32 saves were a season high and the third most by a Miami netminder in 2019-20.
— Clement tied a career high with two points (1-1-2) and Pletzke notched his third goal of the season.
— Savage picked up an assist, giving him six points in five games.
— After scoring just three power play goals the first eight games, the RedHawks have netted at least one in five consecutive contests, going 6-for-18 in that span (33.3 percent).
They were also perfect on the penalty kill in this game (4 of 4) and the weekend (6-for-6).
THOUGHTS: Earning five of a possible six points in this road series against the No. 18 team in Division I at this point is well beyond expectations, especially without Larkin.
Miami just seems to get better every night to the point where UNO’s announcers were gushing over how well the RedHawks were playing.
It’s hard to believe it was less than two months ago this team was skating around with no structure, allowing point-blank chances seemingly every shift.
On Saturday, the RedHawks had sticks in front of UNO (6-4-2) shots constantly and put on a clinic in shot blocking (25 overall). Although the Mavericks did finish with 33 shots on goal, most were relatively innocuous.
— Defense has been the biggest area of improvement for Miami by far since Game 1. Derek Daschke blocked six shots and Clement rejected four.
The goaltending, which is obviously a key component of the D, has been markedly better as well as of late. In Miami’s last four games, it has used all three netminders, and they have combined for a .939 save percentage.
— Kraws was fantastic, and thanks to his teammates, many of those 32 saves were on low-percentage chances. Early he appeared to overcommit while sliding to cover the net, but his positioning was textbook after that, which is partly why he didn’t have to make a ton of difficult saves.
His rebound control was excellent all night.
— If you want to feel good about the future of Miami hockey, look no further than the effort of the freshman class. As documented above, Kraws was 32 of 33 in net and four rookie skaters combined to go 2-3-5.
Clement picked up a goal and an assist, Pletzke also scored and Savage and Sladic earned assists.
LINEUP CHANGES: Other than Kraws, only one other change was made to Friday’s lineup.
Defensemen Alec Capstick and Grant Frederic continued their rotation, as Capstick dressed and Frederic sat. This was the fifth straight game that duo has alternated.
STANDINGS: Miami vaulted into fourth place in the NCHC with the win with eight points.
The RedHawks also jumped two spots in the PairWise to No. 36. They were 40th entering the weekend.
FINAL THOUGHTS: It appears Miami’s days as NCHC doormat are over.
This team has made amazing strides in practically every aspect of its game since season’s beginning, and this five-point road weekend has to do wonders for its confidence.
With struggling Connecticut and St. Cloud State left on their first-half schedule, the RedHawks have a chance to improve to .500 or better before the New Year.
It seems surreal to be writing the above sentence considering how this team played in its first few games.