Miami led twice, but No. 6 St. Cloud State extended its winning streak over the RedHawks to nine games and its unbeaten stretch vs. MU to 12.
The Huskies’ go-ahead goal early in the third period propelled the Huskies to a 3-2 win over Miami at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center on Friday.
The RedHawks led, 1-0 and 2-1 in the first and second periods, respectively, but surrendered the equalizer both times. They have not beaten SCSU since March 10, 2018.
RECAP: Miami (4-9-2) went ahead at the 14:46 mark of the first period when Casey Gilling skated around in the offensive zone before Matt Barry eventually fed Rourke Russell at the blue line for a blast that beat goalie Jaxson Castor.
The Huskies (10-6) evened the score on the power play when Sam Hentges skated through Miami’s defense corps at the blue line and ripped a shot that was saved by RedHawks goalie Ludvig Persson, but the rebound was batted home by Veeti Miettinen 3:15 into the middle stanza.
The RedHawks regained the lead eight minutes later when Barry slid a pass through the slot to Bray Crowder, who skated in and buried a wrister from the faceoff dot.
St. Cloud State tied it at two when Zach Okabe backhanded a pass across the top of the crease to a wide-open Jami Krannila, who connected on a one-timer with 1:06 left in the second frame.
The Huskies took their only lead of the game when they turned a Miami turnover into a 2-on-1, with Miettinen feeding Okabe, who whipped it top shelf 2:03 into the third period.
STATS: Barry led the RedHawks with two points, giving him a MU season-best five-game point streak. All of his points in that span have come on assists and he leads the team with 12 points this season.
Miami goal scorers Crowder and Russell are both defensemen.
Crowder was back after missing the last seven games with an undisclosed injury, found the net for the first time since Jan. 24, 2020.
Russell’s last tally came on Nov. 16, 2019, and he also earned an assist for his fourth career multi-point game.
— Miami was outshot for the 17th straight game, 40-22 overall including 15-7 in the third period.
THOUGHTS: St. Cloud State’s first power play was a game-changer.
The RedHawks hung with the Huskies in shots, 12-10 in the first period, but SCSU seemed to shift into a higher gear after scoring on the man-advantage 3:15 into the middle frame.
At that point, St. Cloud State had already killed two Miami penalties in the opening stanza, so the Huskies had to be brimming with confidence after that equalizer.
While St. Cloud State seemed to play better as the game progressed, the RedHawks wilted. Shots were 28-12 in favor of SCSU the final 40 minutes.
It’s hard to criticize the defense corps for getting caught pinching when they score both of Miami’s goals.
Crowder was caught up ice when fellow D-man Alec Capstick was carrying the puck through center ice, but he scored a much-needed goal earlier.
Russell played arguably his best game of 2020-21 as he was involved in both goals, his first points of the season after notching 22 in his in three previous seasons.
Blueliner Robby Drazner had one of the other helpers.
That means the forwards combined for two points – both assists by Barry. Nine of Miami’s shots were by defensemen, meaning the 12 RedHawks forwards generated just 13.
The RedHawks’ defensemen are clearly being more aggressive on offense with the forward corps accomplishing so little.
— Persson had little chance on all three of the goals he faced. He made a spectacular save on the first goal but was out of position for the rebound.
Krammila made a highlight-reel pass for the second goal that was banged home by Okabe, but Okabe was wide open at the right side of the crease.
The decisive goal was scored on a 2-on-1 following a turnover, and Persson had no chance on that wrister.
LINEUP CHANGES: The week off allowed Miami to heal, and forwards Jack Olmstead and Scott Corbett returned to the lineup, forcing Caleb Rule and Brian Silver out.
With defenseman Crowder also back, Alec Mahalak did not dress.
STANDINGS: At 15 points, Miami is tied with Colorado College for last place in the league, although the Tigers have a game in hand over the RedHawks.
Denver is three points back of both teams with 18 points, and Western Michigan has 19 and is currently in fifth.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Same story for Miami.
The RedHawks can hang with the big boys for a while but ultimately come out of the short end.
Too many defensive breakdowns, too few offensive opportunities vs. opponents that are too good.