OMAHA, Neb. – Miami entered Friday riding a six-game winless streak despite being either tied or leading after two periods in each contest.
Meanwhile, the RedHawks’ opponent, No. 9 Omaha, had won seven straight, one short of a team record.
But MU (2-4-1) broke its trend of late-game struggles, scoring twice in 19 seconds late in the third period to edge the Mavericks, 4-3 at Baxter Arena on opening night for NCHC play.
RECAP: Just 52 seconds in, Omaha (7-2) opened the scoring when Brock Bremer shot the puck off the side of the net and was able to retrieve it and center it from behind the net, off a body and in.
Miami tied it when Michael Regush fed a pass through the slot to Matt Barry, who slammed home a one-timer on the power play at the 5:45 mark of the opening frame.
The RedHawks took the lead four minutes later when Robby Drazner whipped a wrister from the point that Thomas Daskas tipped past UNO goalie Isaiah Saville.
The Mavericks evened it again when Tyler Weiss skated through the slot and backhanded a shot past Miami goalie Ludvig Persson with 13:08 left in the middle period.
Weiss broke the stalemate when he skated through the RedHawks defense for a breakaway and roofed a backhander at the 7:54 mark of the final stanza.
Miami once again faced a potential loss, as the RedHawks were 0-1-1 when tied after 40 minutes and 1-3 on the season when leading through two periods.
But Matthew Barbolini poked home a loose puck off a Monte Graham shot to even the score at three with 4:35 left in regulation.
Nineteen seconds later, a Derek Daschke wrister from the left point found the far corner of the net, giving the RedHawks the lead for good.
STATS: Despite the four-goal output, Daschke was the only Miami skater to record multiple points, as he finished 1-1-2.
It was the second tally of the season for Daschke, Daskas and Barry and the first for Barbolini.
— Jack Clement, Regush and Daschke all earned their third assists of the season. Clement has all three in his last four games.
— Andrew Sinard picked up his first helper since Jan. 3 vs. Western Michigan.
— Doesn’t get much more perfect than 1-for-1 on the power play and 4 of 4 killing penalties.
THOUGHTS: It appeared Miami was in line for yet another loss after being tied or leading after 40 minutes, but a 19-second window late in the third period completely flipped that narrative.
To pull off a road win while visiting one of the hottest teams in Division I has to do wonders for a RedHawks team that was 1-4-1 when tied or leading after two periods.
Beating the No. 9 team in its home building is huge, and hopefully it squashes Miami’s reputation as a team that can’t hold leads.
The RedHawks were outshout badly, 35-13, their worst shot total since, well, their 1-0 win over UNO in the bubble on Dec. 12, 2020.
— Persson got off to a somewhat unlucky start as the first true shot he faced a minute in hit his own player and caromed in, but he recovered nicely and played an excellent game.
LINEUP CHANGES: First it was injuries, now it’s a non-COVID ailment that will hopefully end its reign on the Miami roster after this series. Joey Cassetti, one of Miami’s leading scorers, was a late scratch due to illness.
Will Cullen rejoined the team on defense after suffering an undisclosed injury three weeks ago.
Scott Corbett made the trip and was available to make his 2021-22 debut after recovering from an undisclosed injury, but he too came down sick and did not dress.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This was obviously a fantastic win to start NCHC play for Miami.
The RedHawks were the walking wounded – forced to play with 18 skaters instead of the normal 19 – and several of those on the lineup card were less than 100 percent.
But Miami found a way to win, and this couldn’t have come at a better time, as MU heads into murder’s row.
There was nowhere for the RedHawks to go but up after they went 1-4-1 in their first six games, but this team battled to the end and ultimately came away with three points in their league opener.