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.