BUFFALO, N.Y. – At the end of the first period, it appeared Miami’s 6-0 all-time record vs. Canisius may be in jeopardy.
But the RedHawks erased a 1-0 deficit by running off five straight goals in a 27-minute span and held on for a 5-3 win over the Golden Griffins in their first-ever game at Lecom Harborcenter on Friday, keeping their 16-year winning streak intact.
The victory was the 750th in Miami history and the third of 2022-23, the earliest the RedHawks have reached that mark in four years both by date and games played.
The series concludes here at 4 p.m. on Saturday.
RECAP: Canisius (2-4) took lead with nine minutes left in the first period when Ryan Miotto fired a shot from the inside edge of the faceoff circle it over sprawled-out MU goalie Ludvig Persson off a cross-ice feed by Randy Hernandez with 9:20 left in the first period.
Miami (3-1-1) tied it at the 4:08 mark of the second period at the end of a man-advantage on a slap shot by Axel Kumlin in the high slot that was tipped in at the top of the crease by Ryan Savage.
Four minutes later, P.J. Fletcher gave the RedHawks their first lead when he stole the puck at center ice, went in for a breakaway, juked at the threshold of the blue paint and tucked the puck in on the backhand.
Just 43 seconds into the final frame, Miami’s Jack Clement wristed a shot from the blue line that hit a skate and caromed to Matthew Barbolini at the side of the net, and he powered home the loose puck to make it 3-1.
With 9:46 left in regulation, Artur Turansky fired a point-blank shot that hit Canisius goalie John Hawthorne up high, and Turansky collected his own rebound and roofed it short side to extend the RedHawks’ lead to three.
Miami went up by four 65 seconds later, as a shot by Barbolini was deflected to a wide-open Joey Cassetti, who skated in front of the net and lifted a backhander over Hawthorne, blowing the game open.
Cody Schiavon and Jackson Decker notched late goals for the Golden Griffins, cutting the final deficit to two.
STATS: Fletcher, Barbolini and Cassetti all finished with two points, with each notching a goal and an assist.
Cassetti has five points in three games and leads the team in goals (4) and points (7).
Barbolini (who is from the Buffalo suburb of Williamsville and had numerous family members in attendance) extended his points streak to five games (3-3-6), and Fletcher found the net for the second consecutive contest.
Forward John Waldron and defenseman Axel Kumlin both made their Miami debuts and each picked up a helper.
Miami has scored in the third period in all of its five games and has netted power play goals in four straight.
THOUGHTS: This game came down to momentum.
Canisius had plenty of it after taking the early lead, but rather than fall behind by two, Miami seized it and looked like a different team after generating the equalizer.
The Golden Griffins had no answer for the BCD (Barbolini, Cassetti and Max Dukovac) line, and the imposing Fletcher was able to bull his way to scoring chances all game.
— Miami was shorthanded for seven minutes due to penalties in the second period and not only killed them off but took the lead on the Fletcher goal.
— The additions of Kumlin and Waldron were immediately noticeable. Both logged time on the first power play of the game, and that decision reaped dividends as a Kumlin shot was tipped in by Savage for Miami’s first goal. Waldron showed off his high-end stickhandling skills and held the puck in the zone seemingly forever before picking up the primary assist on Turansky’s goal. On a related note…
— All of the top three lines recorded goals, including the newly-formed third line of three freshmen – Turansky, Waldron and William Hallen. That represents a huge improvement in depth a season after Miami could not buy a goal from anyone not named Savage, Barbolini or Fletcher.
— The two negatives for the RedHawks were a lethargic final 10 minutes of the first period and some sloppy play late. Canisius missed some shots late in the opening stanza that NCHC teams will not, and having defensemen behind the Golden Griffins’ net with a three-goal lead late is not a good look.
— Lecom is extremely cool, both figuratively and literally. It’s on the seventh floor and provides spectators great views from every seat. But at press level the temptation was to use the pages of the end-of-period stats to start a fire. Fortunately drinks actually got colder as the game progressed.
LINEUP CHANGES: With Waldron finally healthy, Kumlin eligible and Frankie Carogioiello back in the lineup, that meant three RedHawks had to sit.
Brian Silver and Jack Olmstead did not dress up front, and Michael Feenstra was scratched on defense.
Defenseman Dylan Moulton also missed his second straight game with an injury, although he is expected back soon.
STANDINGS: In another edition of the way-to-early-to-take-PairWise-seriously, Miami is currently ranked No. 8 in that all-important ranking system. If the season ended after Friday’s games, the RedHawks would play Ohio State to open the NCAAs.
FINAL THOUGHTS: What a luxury that Miami has added two freshman skaters in Waldron and Kumlin, who are instant contributors that look like they’ve played regular shifts for the RedHawks for years.
Not only do the RedHawks have three lines that can score, Chase Pletzke and Blake Mesenburg on the fourth line have been solid on the penalty kill. That’s huge because the RedHawks’ key offensive players don’t have to burn tons of energy doing something that doesn’t create much offense.
And the defensemen for Miami are solid from one to seven for the first time in years.
That depth up front and on the back end will be seriously tested very soon, but so far the RedHawks are in the enviable position of winning games while also gaining much-needed experience.