OXFORD, Ohio – The second period was may be the tipping point for approving alcohol sales to the general public for Miami home hockey games.
The RedHawks entered that frame with a one-goal lead but left down three and down their starting goalie, and the onslaught was painfully extended for 15 more minutes because of a glass pane break behind the south end net.
Colorado College’s four-goal outburst in the frame keyed a 5-1 win over Miami in the series opener at Cady Arena on Friday.
Tyler Coffey recorded a natural hat trick to cap off the scoring for the Tigers, who have won four straight games in Oxford and haven’t lost at Cady Arena since Nov. 3, 2017.
RECAP: Miami (4-14-1) took the lead at 7:57 of the first period when a shot from Nick Donato created a big rebound to Matt Barry, who slammed the puck home from just inside the left faceoff circle.
But Colorado College (5-11-3) tied it on a one-time power play blast by Hunter McKown from the high slot 98 seconds into the second period.
Hugo Blixt scored his first goal of the season to put the Tigers ahead when he won the battle to a loose puck at the top of the left faceoff circle and snuck it through Miami goalie Logan Neaton with 11:56 left in the frame.
Colorado College capitalized on a two-man advantage just 79 seconds later as Danny Weight fed a pass through the slot to Coffey, who fired it into the open half of the net, as Neaton was slow to react.
Ninety-five seconds after that goal, the Tigers went up 4-1 when the same duo pulled a nearly-identical play on the 5-on-4, and Neaton could not cover the vacant side of the net.
Neaton left the game after that goal and did not return to the bench.
Then a pane of glass broke behind the Tigers’ net, extending the agony another 15 minutes. Also at 11:36, Bray Crowder was assessed a kneeing major and a game misconduct.
Coffey capped the scoring when he skated into the Miami zone, through the slot and beat Ludvig Persson’s glove with 15:16 left in regulation.
STATS: Donato picked up his first career point as a RedHawk, earning a primary assist on Barry’s goal.
Barry, who also created a turnover in that sequence, has three markers in seven games.
— Somehow Miami set a season high in shots (37) and led, 18-4 in the third period.
— The RedHawks finished 0-for-8 on the power play – the most man-advantage chances they’ve had in 11 months.
— Miami has now allowed four or more goals in five straight and 11 of its last 12 games.
THOUGHTS: The final score says it all. Standings-wise, including this season, the RedHawks and CC have been seven-eight in an eight-team conference for much of the NCHC’s existence, and this game definitely showed which team belongs in the cellar.
— Neaton appeared way too slow to react on the 5-on-3, then couldn’t cover the crease on the fourth and went down. Coach Chris Bergeron admitted after the game he must’ve been playing hurt.
— Ryan Savage also went down when he was hit in the neutral zone during the third period. He seemed to struggle with his balance as he skated off, and he did not return.
— Fifth-two penalty minutes assessed in the game. Didn’t see any trend to warrant that, and there weren’t any major skermishes. On most nights a crew would’ve given out five or six minors total.
— No opinion on the Crowder major. Didn’t see a good angle but he definitely does not have the reputation of a dirty player even dating back to Juniors.
Loved seeing the Ross High School band step in with Miami playing during its J-term! Fantastic job!
Kudos to whomever coordinated this.
LINEUP CHANGES: One at all three positions.
Up front, John Sladic replaced Thomas Daskas. On defense, Donato dressed in place of Andrew Sinard. In net, Neaton started.
FORWARDS: D+. Other than Barry’s goal, no one else among this corps recorded a point. The power play was awful again. The SOG total was better but not a ton of those shots were high-quality chances.
DEFENSEMEN: C+. For a 5-1 loss, this corps wasn’t that bad. Donato looked a lot more comfortable and made a good case for a top-6 slot.
GOALTENDING: D. Neaton was excellent in the first period but was beaten on a slapper in the second, and the second goal was very stoppable. The other two he gave up were those power play goals when he was injured. Persson was solid, but again, the fifth goal was on a good shot but also one that is often stopped by a goalie on top of his game.
FINAL THOUGHTS: In talking to someone upstairs before Tuesday’s game against Mercyhurst, we were discussing an over-under in wins for this three-game, six-day homestand.
He went with two, VFTG said 1½.
Apparently those expectations were too lofty.
This team continues to regress, as it fell to a remarkable 3-6-1 when leading after one period.
Bergeron said in his postgame presser that injuries will affect the lineup on Saturday, and whomever dresses in place of a regular has a major opportunity to earn more ice time.
Because with a 4-14-1 overall record, the balance of the season becomes more of a proving ground for 2022-23.