OXFORD, Ohio – At least Miami got into the record books, albeit for its opponent’s achievement.
Second-year Division I program Long Island University set a new mark for goals vs. a D-1 team en route to beating just its third-ever team in the NCAA’s top echelon, topping Miami, 7-4 at Cady Arena on Friday.
LIU (1-6-2), which had not beaten a Division I since Dec. 11, 2020, scored four times in the first period – including three straight to break a 1-1 tie – and never trailed.
It was the sixth straight loss for the RedHawks (2-10-1), who remain winless at home this season.
RECAP: The Sharks took the lead at 4:33 of the first period on the power play when a pass from near the top of the crease to the top of the right faceoff circle found Tyler Welsh wide open, and he fired it past sprawled-out Miami goalie Ludvig Persson.
The RedHawks tied it 18 seconds later when Monte Graham fed a backhander from the left side of the net through the crease to a crashing Ryan Savage for a tap-in.
But LIU took the lead for good with 11:34 left in the opening frame when Marty Westhaver dropped a pass from the bottom of the right faceoff circle to a wide-open Jack Quinn in the slot, and he picked the corner of the net.
With 2:29 left in the first stanza, a wrister from the left faceoff circle by Zack Bross hit a Miami defender and found an uncontested Isaiah Fox, who skated through the slot and slid the puck under Persson on the 1-on-1.
Ninety-three seconds later, a shot from the right point was tipped in by P.J. Marrocco to make it 4-1.
The lone goal of the second period came from Miami’s Chase Gresock, who took a feed at the top of the right faceoff circle, toe dragged and whipped the puck past goalie Kris Carlson at the 11:23 mark.
The RedHawks cut the deficit to one, 4-3 with 9:31 left in regulation when Matt Barry ripped a one-time pass from Jack Clement at the top of the left faceoff circle that was saved by Carlson, but the rebound richoted in off a Sharks defender.
But LIU regained control less than three minutes later when Dylan Schuett finished a 2-on-1 by backhanding the puck through Persson off a feed by Quinn, and after the puck went in and the net was dislodged, the Sharks’ Spencer Cox crashed into Persson, who had his legs spread in an attempt to make a save.
Persson left the game under his own power but he limped heavily down the tunnel.
LIU’s Welsh made it 6-3 on the power play with 3:59 to seal it.
Savage netted his second goal of the night off a rip from the right side that trickled through Carlson with 1:14 remaining.
Marrocco threw the puck the length of the ice from his own slot and into the Miami net with nine second to play.
STATS: No other RedHawk has scored twice in a game this season, but Savage did it for the second time.
He also netted two goals in the opening-night win at Ferris State on Oct. 2 and leads the team with ive tallies.
Savage and Barry led Miami with two points each, as Barry finished with a goal and an assist.
It was the eighth multi-point game of Barry’s career and his first of 2021-22.
— Chase Gresock scored in his return from injury, his fourth marker of the season as he trails only Savage in that department.
Barry has scored three times.
— Miami allowed seven goals for the second straight game. The last time the RedHawks gave up at least 14 markers in a two-game span was at Denver on Feb. 21-22, 2020 when the Pioneers netted seven in each contest.
MU was held to fewer than 20 shots for the seventh time in eight games. The RedHawks are averaging 17.1 shots over their past eight contests.
THOUGHTS: Chris Bergeron and company have been coaching this team for 2½ years, and while plenty of leeway should be given because of the hand this staff inherited and the recruiting restrictions due to COVID, this loss clearly falls on them.
The pandemic can’t be an excuse when losing to a team that was formed during said pandemic, with no skaters or coaches, and no home rink.
And this game is coming off a 7-1 shalacking at Denver last Saturday in which – for the first time under Bergeron – the team largely quit playing in the second and third periods.
Miami Version 2021-22 got off to a slower-than-expected start, with a 1-3 record against Ferris State and Michigan State, but the potential was there and close followers (myself included) thought this team was going to take a stride forward over last season.
But the RedHawks have not only squandered every opportunity to earn wins, they couldn’t even come out on top against a team that only has one sweater, forcing Miami to dress in its road reds.
— Didn’t catch the late hit on Persson the first time even though I had a good look live, but it looked like a cheap shot by Cox on the replay. The play was long over and he slammed down on the goalie while he was fully extended.
That’s just my perspective from a grainy replay, and we’ll trust the league to look at that play and determine any intent. Despite being called for numerous major penalties this season, LIU certainly didn’t stand out as dirty.
It looked like a groin issue, and if so Persson could miss significant time.
Neaton stopped 2-of-3 shots in relief and would likely start every game in Persson’s absence. Henrik Laursen in the team’s third goalie, and he would shift into the backup role.
— This is a Miami site, so we’re going to talk Miami successes and failures for the most part, but Long Island really deserves credit for this win.
With all this team has gone through, the Sharks absolutely earned this win. They were the better team all night and took it to a team that probably thought it could win just by taking the ice.
LIU fought for every loose puck and won most of the physical battles, and when presented a scoring chance, the Sharks didn’t miss. Tons of respect for this program.
LINEUP CHANGES: The two most important pieces of news were Gresock’s return and Nick Donato made his debut.
Gresock and Chase Pletzke returned from injury up front, and Jack Olmstead and John Sladic did not dress after playing last Saturday.
On defense, Donato classmate Alex Murray was also in the lineup after sitting Saturday, and Alec Capstick and Andrew Sinard were scratched.
FORWARDS: D-. Yes, despite scoring four goals. This corps consistently failed to backcheck, as if the corps expected Miami would somehow find a way to win without working hard, and LIU shooters proved accurate. And way, way too many turnovers. Four lines of established forwards playing in the top college hockey league in the world should’ve been cycling in the offensive zone the whole game. Instead 12 forwards combined for 11 shots.
DEFENSEMEN: D. There were miscues here as well and this offensive-minded corps only managed three of the 12 points Miami earned and none of the four goals. Donato played a pretty conservative game and looked pretty comfortable, although he did take the holding the stick penalty late in the third period that resulted in LIU’s clinching goal.
GOALTENDING: D. Persson made an amazing save in the first period when he crossed the crease and stacked the pads to shut down a one-timer, but otherwise Long Island scored its goals on good-but-not chances. Not the Grade-As but the A-minuses or B-plusses. Neaton wasn’t really at fault for his goal allowed but he looked rusty on the other shots he faced.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Miami hockey has devolved to DEFCON 1 in a span of seven days, as the RedHawks went from underachieving through their first 11 games to panic-inducingly bad.
It can’t be emphasized enough how big of a steamer this was, especially on the heels of a 7-1 laugher in their last effort.
One game could be an aberration, two games is a trend. And it’s a really, really bad one.
Enrico Blasi was fired after posting winning percentages of .347, .392 and .342 his final three seasons. Under Bergeron, Miami has gone .309, .240 and .192 — with the latter including a loss to a Ferris State team that didn’t win a game vs. a Division I opponent last season and this ‘L’ against a team that hadn’t beaten a D-1 team in 2021-22 in eight tries.
Full faith is still in Bergeron et al ultimately turning this program around, but this rebuild has not worked to this point.
We leave you with this stat: Miami ended the night with 17 shots against a team that was 0-6-2 against Division I competition in 2021-22.
It’s both embarrassing and depressing, and the coaching staff that has been in place since April of 2019 needs to right this ship in the coming hours, or as we’ve seen, sharks will tear it apart.