Miami might want to consider moving scheduled home games off campus.
Michigan State scored three times in the first period and rode that lead to a 5-3 win at Cady Arena on Friday.
The RedHawks are stuck on one win on home ice this season, and that victory came on Oct. 2 vs. Ferris State. They are 0-4-1 in Oxford since that series.
The teams wrap up their weekend series at 5:05 p.m. on Saturday.
RECAP: Michigan State took the lead just 2:32 into the first period, as Tanner Kelly stole the puck in the high slot and shoveled it ahead to Jesse Tucker, who backhanded it through Miami goalie Ludvig Persson.
Miami’s Jack Olmstead went in for a breakaway with 8:46 left in the opening frame and beat goalie Dylan St. Cyr low to the stick side, tying the score.
Cole Krygier ripped a slap shot from the top of the faceoff circle that beat Persson just 1:41 later to put the Spartans ahead, 2-1.
And with 3:20 remaining in the frame, Jeremy Davidson blasted a one-time feed through the crease by Nicolas Muller to extend the MSU lead to two.
Miroslav Mucha made it 4-1 with a snipe over the left shoulder of Persson with 9:02 left in the second period.
Miami’s Matthew Barbolini cut the deficit to two four minutes later on the power play when he carried the puck from the blue line into the slot and pitchforked a backhander past St. Cyr.
The RedHawks dominated play late in that frame and appeared to have the momentum heading into the final 20 minutes, but 23 seconds into the final stanza, Davidson corralled a loose puck behind the Miami net, carried it through the crease and backhanded it past a sprawling Persson.
John Waldron cut the final Miami deficit to two when he toe-dragged around a defender and wristed one into the far corner with 9:48 left in regulation.
STATS: Two of Miami’s three goals were unassisted: Olmstead’s on the breakaway and Waldron’s tally late.
The RedHawks had only scored three UAGs in their first 14 games.
— Both Barbolini and Waldron scored for the second straight game. Barbolini extended his points streak to five games and has picked up points in 12 of 13 games, and Waldron netted his third goal of the season.
Olmstead has points in consecutive games.
— P.J. Fletcher earned an assist on the Barbolini goal, his first point in six games.
— Miami surrendered just two first-period goals in its first eight games but has allowed nine markers in the opening 20 minutes in its last seven contests.
— The RedHawks have scored in six consecutive periods for the first time in 2022-23.
— MU was 1-for-4 on the power play and perfect on five PKs, including a major.
THOUGHTS: It was evident Miami was in for a long night from the first shift, which Michigan State dominated.
Three minutes in the Spartans were already up one and heading to the power play.
The RedHawks, who have improved markedly on D since March, seemed lost in that realm the first 20 minutes. Twice in that frame Michigan State scored from close enough in that Persson could identify each course of the Spartans’ pre-game dinner.
After that, Miami was fine. MU was down two after one period and was down two at the final horn.
Coach Chris Bergeron has said repeatedly after losses that the RedHawks have not played competitive hockey for a full 60 minutes. This game was yet another example.
— That third-period goal by Davidson 23 seconds in was an absolute killer. Miami played some of its best hockey in the final minutes of the second period and seemed to have momentum heading into the intermission. But that goal made it 5-2 and essentially killed any chance the RedHawks had of making this a competitive game.
— Axel Kumlin has made major strides in previous weeks in every aspect of his game and appears to be the top power play QB. He led all skaters with seven shots and was excellent in his own end as well.
— The unsung play of the night goes to defensemen Alex Murray, who crushed an MSU skater at the red line to squelch the Spartans’ near-certain bid for an empty netter.
LINEUP CHANGES: Fortunately for the RedHawks, Red Savage and Alex Dukovac returned after missing time last weekend due to injury, although neither were a major factor.
Frankie Carogioiello and John Sladic were scratched in their place.
In a battle between two former Dubuque D-men, Michael Feenstra dressed ahead of Zane Demsey for the second straight game.
Nick Donato — a key defensive cog in the team’s blueline corps — missed his second straight game.
STANDINGS: Miami, now 1-7-1 in its last nine games, slid to No. 35 in the PairWise rankings.
FORWARDS: C. Barbolini and his line are apparently good for at least a point a game, and the fourth line continued to crank despite the change in personnel, as Olmstead converted on his breakaway. Fletcher has just one point in six games, and Joey Cassetti has been MIA the past three weekends and finished with zero shots, zero points and a penalty. William Hallen, Dukovac and Fletcher all finished minus-3. Michigan State was able to create far too many offensive chances because Miami forwards were caught up ice. Miami finished with 32 shots but only 17 came from this corps.
DEFENSEMEN: B- Kumlin was excellent, and the trio of him Jack Clement, Hampus Rydqvist combined for 15 SOG and an assist. Michigan State finished with 35 shots, but many were from the perimeter.
GOALTENDING: D. Persson would’ve likely wanted two of the first-period goals back. He had no chance on the 2-on-1 resulting in MSU’s third goal, the fourth one was an NHL-quality snipe and the fifth was the result of poor defending in front of the net. Persson allowed rebounds he normally controls, and he was extremely late reacting to a delayed penalty in the second period. He’s a stud but even studs have off-nights.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Miami has more talent than in past seasons, no doubt, but it simply isn’t good enough to show up late for a game against a ranked opponent and expect to win.
The RedHawks have been largely OK on the road, but they can’t have any kind of long-term success winning 1-of-7 home games to start a season.