The similarities between the two games in this weekend series are remarkable.

The bottom line is for the second straight night, Miami was blown out and blanked by Denver by an identical 7-0 score at Magness Arena on Saturday.

The RedHawks were outscored, 14-0 on the weekend, their worst series since being throttled, 19-1 at St. Cloud State on Jan. 21-22. The last time they were shut out in both ends of a weekend set was on Jan. 18-19 vs. Minn.-Duluth.

Miami, which has allowed 19 goals in three games, heads to Omaha next weekend.

RECAP: After a scoreless first period, Tristan Broz gave Denver the lead 69 seconds into the middle frame.

Rieger Lorenz, Sean Behrens and Casey Dornbach added second-period markers in the next eight minutes to give the Pioneers a 4-0 lead.

Broz recorded a natural hat trick in the third period, giving him four goals on the game, to blow it open.

STATS: Amazingly, not only was the score the same both nights, Miami and Denver finished with identical shot totals (20 and 39, respectively).

And the first period was scoreless both nights, with the Pioneers netting four goals in the middle stanza in this game and six the night before.

— This was Miami’s 10th straight loss to Denver.

THOUGHTS: The first period seemed to be even more one-sided toward Denver than on Friday, and inevitably the Pioneers started getting rewarded for their dominance once the middle frame began.

Despite the late loss on New Year’s Eve, things seemed to be going well for Miami overall heading into 2023, with a clutch win at North Dakota and a lopsided home win vs. St. Cloud State on its recent resume.

This was obviously a huge disappointment, especially when a game is televised, and it’s hard to write a couple of bad games off as an aberration when the RedHawks struggled in every facet of the game. The forwards did little, the defensemen were sub-par and the goaltending wasn’t up to standard.

Hardest to digest is the poor first period in this game. Miami has been a better Game 2 team in weekend series this season, and after a 7-0 loss on Friday it was expected that the RedHawks would come out fighting early in this contest, and instead we saw Miami get outshot, 14-6 in the first 20 minutes.

And then the Friday the 13th, Part II script begins and before the nine-minute mark of the second period, it’s 4-0. At that point most Miami fans were grabbing their remotes and praying a “Small Wonder” marathon was airing.

It would be easier to accept getting outscored, 14-0 in a weekend set if we hadn’t seen what this Miami team is capable of when it’s on its game.

Hopefully we see that 2022-23 team next weekend in Omaha.

— This is a Miami-centric site, but Denver deserves a ton of credit for the scoring disparity. The Pioneers put on a scoring clinic in the second period on Friday and seemed to take advantage for every miscue all weekend.

LINEUP CHANGES: Up front, Brian Silver played on the fourth line and Frankie Carogioiello did not dress.

On defense, Zane Demsey — who had skated on the top pairing for the last several games — was scratched. Fellow Dubuque graduate Michael Feenstra replaced him in the lineup.

STANDINGS: Miami dropped to 2-9-1 in NCHC play and has seven points at the midway point of the conference schedule. All eight teams have played 12 league contests, and North Dakota is currently seventh with 12 points.

The RedHawks are ranked No. 44 out of 62 Division I teams in the all-important PairWise rankings, which determine at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament.

SUMMARY: There’s no sugarcoating it or taking any positive away: This series was a major step back for a team that earlier in the season was a major win away from earning national top-20 votes.

Did the bad ending on New Year’s Eve carry over to this series? The team definitely appeared to play with less confidence most of this weekend.

The poor defending absolutely did, as Niagara generated three breakaways and a 2-on-1 against a RedHawks team that had done very at squelching odd-man rushes the first 2 1/2 months of the season.

Miami plays Omaha at Baxter Arena next weekend, and since MU is in the J-term, the team is going to travel straight to Omaha rather than return to Oxford, so hopefully that extended road bonding time will work to the RedHawks’ advantage.


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