Miami is not having its best season defensively, but the RedHawks kept Minn.-Duluth off the scoreboard until the final four minutes of the second period.
Unfortanately for the RedHawks, that goal ignited the Bulldogs, who found the net four times in a 16-minute span to beat Miami, 4-1 at Amsoil Arena on Friday.
Red Savage was the lone goal scorer for MU.
RECAP: Minn.-Duluth’s Blake Biondi finally opened the scoring with 3:29 left in the second period when teammate Darian Gotz centered a pass from the left half wall through the slot to Biondi, who roofed it.
The Bulldogs went up by two 2:26 into the third period when Kobe Roth carried the puck into the zone and fed a pass to Casey Gilling at the top of the crease, and the former Miamian pitchforked it in on the backhand.
The RedHawks made it 2-1 when Matthew Barbolini won a boards battle and centered to Red Savage, who was wide open at the top of the crease, and after his initial shot was denied, he was able to tuck it past goalie Ryan Fanti.
UMD’s Koby Bender found the net on a power play wrister from the top of the left faceoff circle with 9:38 to play, and Quinn Olson sealed the Bulldogs’ win on a 2-on-1 goal off a feed from Dominic James less than two minutes later.
STATS: Savage scored his fourth goal, all coming in his last seven games.
Barbolini’s primary assist gives him nine points in nine contests.
P.J. Fletcher picked up the other helper and and has five points in four games.
THOUGHTS: Going to keep this segment a little pithier the remainder of the season…
Miami didn’t play badly, really, but this is a tough road game and the RedHawks are nowhere near as talented as Duluth.
It was a story line we’ve seen often this season: MU hangs around until the third period then something really bad happens. In this case it was a pair of goals against less than two minutes apart midway through the third period to ice the game.
— Red Savage pre-World Juniors: One goal in 16 games. Red Savage post-World Juniors: Three goals in four games.
You know who also had one goal (and three assists) in his first 16 games? Gordie Green.
The 18-year-old true freshman finished with a game-best seven shots on goal and has been best storyline by far for Miami this season. His game is taking huge strides every night, and he still hasn’t filled out physically.
LINEUP CHANGES: Out up front were John Sladic and Brian Silver at forward and Andrew Sinard and Alec Capstick on defense.
Dressing in their place were forwards Michael Holland and Michael Regush — who missed his first game of the season last Saturday — and back on defense were Robby Drazner and Hampus Rydqvist.
Drazner had played in every game prior to last Saturday, and Rydqvist has dressed in eight straight.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Largely due to injuries, the nightly lineup changes are many for this late into the season, meaning there’s competition for those last few lineup slots. And for the younger players, that could mean long-term full-time jobs.
That’s what the balance of the regular season is about at this point: Development. Getting ready for the NCHC Tournament and the team’s only shot at a successful season, and more importantly, grooming players for success the next couple of seasons.