Miami did not trail for the first five periods of its weekend series at UMass Lowell.
But after tying the score, the River Hawks ran off three straight goals in the first 12-plus minutes of the final stanza on Saturday as they handed the RedHawks their first loss of the season, 4-2 at Tsongas Center.
That snapped Miami’s three-game unbeaten streak, its longest in four years.
The RedHawks are off next weekend before heading to Buffalo, where they will take on Canisius on Oct. 21-22.
RECAP: Miami’s Ryan Savage jammed home a loose puck on the power play at the 6:53 mark of the first period to make it 1-0 early.
But UMass Lowell tied it with 10:36 left in the middle frame when Marek Korencik wristed a shot from the blue line that hit a body and deflected past Miami goalie Ludvig Persson.
Carl Berglund gave the River Hawks the lead 34 seconds into the third period when he shoveled home a feed through the top of the crease by Brian Chambers seconds after a Miami power play had expired.
Ninety-four seconds later, UML made it 3-1 as Filip Fornaa Svensson stepped into a wrist shot from the top of the faceoff circle that beat Persson low to the far post.
With 7:58 remaining, Berglund roofed a one-timer from the slot to extend the River Hawks’ lead to three.
Miami trimmed its deficit to two 1:07 later when P.J. Fletcher beat Gustavs Davis Gringals with a low wrist shot from the high slot, but the RedHawks could pull no closer.
STATS: Savage led Miami with two points on a goal and an assist, his first of each on the season and his first multi-point game since Nov. 26.
It was also the first time in 2022-23 Fletcher found the net.
— Matthew Barbolini picked up an assist, extending his points streak to a team-best four games, and Red Savage notched a helper as well. Both have four points this season.
— Jack Clement recorded the other assist, point No. 1 of the campaign.
–The third period was the first this season Miami allowed multiple goals.
THOUGHTS: The two main differences between Friday and Saturday were that the puck luck gods did not favor MU for a second straight night, and the River Hawks were able to silence the RedHawks’ potent second line.
But like the opener, UML put itself in position to benefit from favorable bounces.
The River Hawks’ first goal hit a Miami skate and deflected in, but that wouldn’t have happened had the RedHawks made a relatively easy clear on the penalty kill seconds earlier, which was a recurring theme in the series that finally cost them on the scoreboard.
The second UML goal was essentially a power play goal since it occurred seconds after a Miami penalty had expired, and the third was on an actual man-advantage. The fourth came when the RedHawks allowed too much space in the slot on a rush.
Barbolini, Joey Cassetti and Max Dukovac, who combined for 13 points in the first three games, were limited to a Barbolini assist, and the latter two were both held without a shot on goal.
— The outcome could have been completely different had Grigals not robbed Chase Pletzke on a rebound shot from the side of the net late in the first period. That would’ve given Miami a 2-0 lead, but instead the next time the RedHawks scored they were down by three.
— Overall, the first period was solid and the second was going fine as well, but UML fed on the momentum of the game-tying goal and dominated the second half of that stanza. Then we know what happened in the third.
Miami didn’t play particularly well from about midway through the second to the same point in the third period but showed plenty of life late.
— It was the first time the RedHawks allowed more than two goals, but Persson was still solid in net. The first shot was deflected, and the second was on a tap-in after a high-quality pass through the slot, and UML’s fourth goal was on a point-blank one-timer.
The third one he probably would’ve wanted back, as it found the corner of the net from the top of the faceoff circle and was not deflected.
— 3-for-6 on the power play for the weekend despite losing their top power play quarterback from last year, having a key D-man playing that role get injured early Friday and playing three freshmen on the second unit. Very nice.
— Turnovers, especially in the defensive zone, were an issue Friday but were elevated to crisis status in this game. If the RedHawks had any more turnovers late in the second period they could’ve opened a bakery.
There was a shift in which Clement and Zane Demsey were caught on the ice for more than two minutes, as the RedHawks could not clear the zone.
— Shots-on-goal differential by game: Plus-14, minus-4, minus-10, minus-15.
— Hate to mention officiating because it comes across as petty, but if Cassetti and Barbolini are both called for penalties, you can’t let Red Savage getting boarded go. Calls certainly didn’t affect the outcome but they were definitely inconsistent.
LINEUP CHANGES: Dylan Moulton did not play after getting injured on Friday, which hurt Miami on defense. He’s also one of the power play quarterbacks on the RedHawks, who don’t have many natural power play quarterbacks.
Michael Feenstra dressed in his place, but other than that move Miami dressed the same skaters as Friday, and of course Persson logged every minute in net for the 21st straight game.
STANDINGS: It was the first loss of the young season for Miami, but the RedHawks are seventh in the NCHC in win percentage at .625. What a conference.
Duluth, North Dakota, St. Cloud State, Colorado College and Denver are all 2-0, and Western Michigan won two of its first three. Omaha has taken losses in both of its games.
In other bizarre news, MU slipped from No. 1 to seventh in the PairWise.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Saturday obviously didn’t go as Miami had hoped, but splitting on the road against a ranked team is still a good weekend. Especially when you won seven games last season.
The RedHawks were 0-9-1 in their previous 10 games away from Oxford and were outscored, 50-15 in those contests.
Minutes 31-51 in this game were disappointing, though, especially after such inspired play all weekend to that point. Lowell scored four times during that span while Miami couldn’t seem to do anything right.
Even great teams lose by two on the road all the time — especially to quality opponents — and the RedHawks are trying to break in a handful of freshmen and others adjusting to new roles.
We knew Miami wasn’t going to go undefeated this season, so with the team having played four games, taking three steps forward and one back is still a major net positive.