OXFORD, Ohio – Freshman Ryan Savage scored the first goal of his Miami career on Saturday.
Unfortunately for the RedHawks, the other 33 shots they fired were blanks as Ferris State beat them, 3-1 at Cady Arena on Saturday.
The teams settled for a series split as MU completed its season-opening, five-game homestand with just one win and a tie.
RECAP: Miami dominated the first period, outshooting the Bulldogs, 15-5 but the teams went into the locker room scoreless.
Ferris State (2-1) finally opened the scoring with 7:32 left in the middle frame when Joe Rutkowski threw an outlet pass to Marshall Moise, who beat the defense and shoveled a shot past RedHawks goalie Ryan Larkin.
Just 29 seconds later, Savage tied it when he slammed a rebound home from the right side of the net off a shot from Noah Jordan.
Coale Norris gave the Bulldogs the lead for good when he streaked down the left wing and ripped one far post with 3:04 left in the middle stanza.
Ferris State sealed it 4:12 into the third period when Jake Transit slid a pass through traffic and the top of the crease to Lucas Finner, who tapped it home to make it 3-1.
STATS: It was the first career goal for Savage, whose father, 12-season NHL veteran Brian Savage, scored 66 times for Miami.
— Jordan, who finished 2018-19 with just two points, picked up a point for the third straight game with an assist on the RedHawks’ lone goal. Jordan is 1-2-3 in that span.
— Christian Mohs earned the other assist on the play, his first point since Jan. 5.
— Miami has allowed exactly two second-period goals in every game this season.
THOUGHTS: Miami had its chances, but a tip of the hat belongs to Roni Salmenkanga, the Ferris State goalie who stopped 32 of 33 shots.
The RedHawks did help him a bit by shooting numerous shots right at his crest, and too many MU passes were deflected by FSU sticks.
This was a pretty evenly-played game, but Miami failed to convert its opportunities and the Bulldogs got three through the RedHawks’ defense.
– There were many more high-percentage scoring chances around both teams’ nets than in any of Miami’s first four games, and Larkin fared admirably.
– The first power play unit struggled, and the second line actually fared better most of the night. For that matter…
– Ferris State did a good job of shutting down Miami’s top line overall. None had a point, although Karch Bachman finished with eight shots.
LINEUP CHANGES: After missing Friday, Scott Corbett returned to the lineup, replacing Carter Johnson. Brayden Crowder also sat after playing the series opener, and Chaz Switzer made his season debut.
FORWARDS: C-. This corps took a decent number of shots, but the power play was anemic. Completing passes was also an issue.
DEFENSEMEN: C+. This is really a criticism of both the D-corps and the forwards, but defensively, Miami continues to lose sight of attackers streaking toward its net, resulting in high-percentage scoring chances.
GOALTENDING: B. Larkin made some spectacular saves, although he probably should’ve stopped at least one of his goals against. This was his finest performance of the season to this point.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Admittedly, personal expectations were a little higher for Miami in this five-game season-opening homestand largely against teams in the bottom third of the PairWise.
The treading gets a lot tougher from here, as the balance of Miami’s non-conference schedule will be played on the road, with its only remaining home contests vs. NCHC foes.
The good news is that the RedHawks seem like they’re on an upward trajectory, at least compared to where they were in Game 1.
The defense is getting a little tighter, the goaltending a little more sound and a lot of the skaters seem to be more comfortable in their roles.
The freshmen are establishing themselves as well, with Savage scoring his first goal, Sladic notching three points already, freshman goalie Ben Kraws logging 80 quality minutes in net and Jack Clement and Alec Capstick continuing to develop on the blue line.
It would’ve been foolish to expect miracles from this team this season, but at least we’re seeing progress.