For the second time this season, Miami has extended a winless streak to 10 games.
No. 7 Denver scored four times in the first period en route to a 7-3 pounding of the RedHawks at Magness Arena on Friday.
Miami (6-18-5) is 0-8-2 during its current skid. The RedHawks lost their last seven games of 2018-19 and went 0-2-1 to start this season.
RECAP: Miami took the lead 92 seconds into the game when Andrew Sinard threw a pass from the point that caromed off the end boards to Ryan Savage, who centered it from the goal line to Casey Gilling at the top of the crease, and Gilling batted it in.
But 72 seconds later, Denver’s Taylor Ward emerged from an offensive-zone scrum, went 1-on-1 through the slot, deked a defender and scored on the backhand to tie it.
With 12:39 left in that period on a Pioneers power play, Emilio Pettersen faked a slap shot from the top of the faceoff circle and instead fed Cole Guttman in the slot for a one-time rip that beat Miami goalie Ryan Larkin.
Ward extended the Denver lead to two less than three minutes later when he took an outlet pass in the neutral zone, skated through the slot and eluded a pair of defenders before stuffing the puck in the top corner of the net.
Ward completed a first-period hat trick with 1:01 left in the opening frame when Tyson McLellan corralled a rebound off a one-timer at the side of the net and slid a no-look pass to Ward, who slammed in a one-timer at the top of the crease, making it 4-1.
The RedHawks’ Grant Frederic’s one-time missile from the blue line off a feed by Phil Knies cut the deficit to two 6:47 into the second period.
Denver answered less than two minutes later when Guttman stripped the puck in the neutral zone and played give-and-go on a 2-on-1 with teammate Hank Crone, and Guttman ripped a one-timer home from the hash marks to give the Pioneers a 5-2 lead.
It was Miami’s turn again, as a backhand pass through the crease by Carter Johnson made it through three defenders, hitting teammate Chase Pletzke’s skate and sliding through goalie Magnus Chrona’s legs with 10:13 left in the middle frame.
But 52 seconds before the end of the period, the Pioneers regained their three-goal lead, as a centering pass by Liam Finlay hit a skate at the top of the crease, popped into the air and was bunted across the goal line by Crone.
Denver capped the scoring when Ian Mitchell threw a seeing-eye wrister at the net from the left point that snuck through traffic and into the net.
STATS: Frederic’s goal was the first of his career, coming in his 68th game as a RedHawk.
— Pletzke scored for the first time in six games, and Gilling snapped a seven-game goal drought.
— Johnson’s picked up his first assist of the season, and Sinard earned his third.
— It was the first time since opening night, 2015-16 that a Miami goalie has allowed seven goals in a game.
— Denver generated 55 shots on goal, and the last time a RedHawks opponent gave up at least 50 SOG, it was the Pioneers on Nov. 19, 2016.
Miami’s all-time record for most shots allowed is 65.
— It was the second time this season the RedHawks allowed three power play goals and the first time that has happened on the road in 2019-20.
THOUGHTS: This was arguably the worst defensive game Miami has played in the 14-year Cady Arena era.
The RedHawks were way too loose in the first period, basically playing basketball’s version of a zone defense, and Denver teed off from the perimeter, scoring four times on 19 shots.
Then there was the giveaways. The first 10 minutes of the middle frame were especially brutal, as Martha Stewart has probably not created as many turnovers as Miami did in that span.
MU played its best hockey in the second half of that second period, but there was little effort in the final 20 minutes, as the RedHawks seemed resigned to taking an ‘L’.
The expectation of Chris Bergeron’s first season was that Miami just show some improvement and play hard for 60 minutes. The RedHawks regressed in this game and played so poorly a good high school squad would’ve given them a good run.
Having tracked box scores for the last 11 seasons, there is no record in that span of a Miami opponent generating more than 51 shots, yet Denver put 55 on goal in this game and would’ve run that total up more if the Pioneers hadn’t taken their feet off the gas in the third period.
Sure, every night isn’t going to go your way, but these are the same players who tied North Dakota just a month ago and spanked Bowling Green in its own building right before New Year’s.
It was painful to watch the RedHawks, who were so competitive against quality opponents recently, not even show up for this game.
— Not a fan of allowing a goalie let in seven goals, much less leave him out there to potentially surrender an eighth. Larkin was hung out to dry in most cases, but it hurts a netminder’s confidence to give up that many, plus pulling a goalie – even if it isn’t his fault – can send a message to the rest of the team that it’s underperforming.
— Weird moment at the end of the second period. Denver batted that sixth goal into the net, but it was initially waived off and play was allowed to continue, and there was not another stoppage until the final horn.
So the play was reviewed and it was determined the goal was good. But why wasn’t the play blown dead when the puck entered the net, regardless of whether the officials thought the goal was legitimate?
— Four penalties to none in the first period for Miami. On a RedHawks team with one of the worst penalty-killing percentages in college hockey, that’s a death sentence.
Miami ended up with two power plays, the first of which lasted two seconds before the team took a penalty of its own. The RedHawks had zero shots on the man advantage.
— On top of everything, this game wouldn’t end because MU iced the puck about 90 times in the third period. There were a total of 71 faceoffs, which is a ton.
LINEUP CHANGES: Sinard was back in the lineup after missing five of the last six games with a lower-body injury.
Frederic also skated after being scratched for both games last weekend.
Out were Alec Mahalak, who has already missed stints for a lower-body injury and an illness this season, and forward Christian Mohs, as Miami went with seven defensemen.
STANDINGS: Colorado College also lost, so Miami remains two points ahead of the Tigers, holding seventh place in the NCHC.
Omaha, which beat CC and in sixth place, is now 10 points ahead of the RedHawks, who were mathematically eliminated from home-ice advantage contention in the conference tournament.
Despite a .293 winning percentage, Miami remains No. 42 in the PairWise rankings.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This loss was an embarrassment for the RedHawks’ hockey program.
Yes, Denver is a great team and capitalized of Miami’s many mistakes, but the Pioneers could have easily scored 10 had Larkin not made numerous quality saves.
Someone – not sure if it’s Larkin, captain Gordie Green, or one of the coaches – needs to light this team up. Because this effort was completely unacceptable.
If there’s any positive, it’s that it was Game 1 of a series, and the RedHawks will have less than 24 hours to dwell on this loss before hitting the ice again in Saturday’s finale.
Miami’s worst winless streaks, chronologically:
|Streak||Start date||End date||Record|
|13||Oct. 15, 1983||Nov. 26, 1983||0-13-0|
|14||Nov. 2, 1985||Dec. 20, 1985||0-13-1|
|12||Oct. 24, 1986||Nov. 29, 1986||0-12-0|
|11||Jan. 3, 1987||Feb. 7, 1987||0-11-0|
|13||Oct. 27, 1990||Dec. 8, 1990||0-11-2|
|17||Dec. 15, 1990||Feb. 2, 1991||0-16-1|
|10||Oct. 29, 2016||Dec. 9, 2016||0-7-3|
|12||Feb. 10, 2017||Oct. 7, 2017||0-11-1|
|15||Nov. 23, 2018||Feb. 8, 2019||0-11-4|
|10||Feb. 23, 2019||Oct. 12, 2019||0-9-1|
|10||Jan. 11, 2020||present||0-8-2|