Not exactly a memorable road trip for Miami.
The RedHawks, who have spent the past week and a half away from Oxford, concluded their four-game road slate by getting blanked for the third time on the trip, falling 2-0 to Omaha at Baxter Arena on Saturday.
MU (7-15-2) was outscored, 20-1 in the two series. Denver beat Miami by identical 7-0 scores back-to-back nights last week, and the RedHawks lost 4-1 to the Mavericks (13-9-2) on Friday.
Miami, which has lost five straight, returns home to host North Dakota on Jan. 27-28.
RECAP: The game was scoreless through two periods, but Omaha took the lead 3:59 into the final frame when Nolan Sullivan was able to one-touch a pass through the slot to a wide-open Jimmy Glynn, who punched it into the net from the right side of the cage.
UNO’s Cameron Berg sealed it by firing a shot into the empty net from behind the red line with 24 seconds remaining.
Miami freshman forwards John Waldron and Max Dukovac both had excellent chances to score late but were denied by goalie Simon Latkoczy.
STATS: The last time the RedHawks were shut out three times in four games or fewer was Feb. 10-17, 2018 when they were blanked in three straight contests.
This was the fifth time this season Miami has failed to score and the seventh shutout it has suffered in its last 31 games.
The RedHawks were only blanked five times in coach Chris Bergeron’s first three seasons combined.
— Logan Neaton started for Miami and stopped 33 of 34 shots, raising his season save percentage to .903.
It was just the second start and fifth appearance of 2022-23 for Neaton.
THOUGHTS: Miami was much better overall but still not as good as Omaha. The scoreboard reflected both halves of that sentence.
The RedHawks’ best scoring chances came after they fell behind early in the third period.
The obvious question is: What’s going on with the offense? 0.25 goals a game in 2023…with that scoring pace, who would’ve guessed an 0-4 start to the new year?
It seems like all of team’s top scoring threats have gone dormant at the same time.
A quick look at the highlights:
|Matthew Barbolini||2 pts. in six games after recording 18 in his first 16.|
|Joey Cassetti||7 pts. first five games, 3-0-0 in 19 games since.|
|Red Savage||No goals in last nine games, 0-2-2 in last eight.|
|P.J. Fletcher||19-game goal drought, 0-7-7 in that span.|
|Ryan Savage||Three goals in first six games, 1 in his last 18 contests.|
|Max Dukovac||Six points in his first five games as a RedHawk. Two since.|
|John Waldron||5-2-7 in final 4 games of 2022, 0-0-0 on the road trip.|
— Playing Neaton turned out to be an excellent move by Bergeron, as his only goal against he had no chance on. UNO’s other marker was an empty netter.
Despite the loss this was probably the best move for both goalies.
That said, it seems like Neaton had two opportunities to come out in the final 90 seconds to create an even-strength situation, as Miami possessed the puck in the Omaha zone multiple times on the penalty kill.
He finally left for the bench with about 35 seconds left when the puck was in the neutral zone, and an empty netter sealed it.
LINEUP CHANGES: Up front, Jack Olmstead was scratched in place of Artur Turansky.
Alex Murray dressed in place of Robby Drazner on defense, and Neaton stepped in between the pipes for starter Ludvig Persson.
STANDINGS: Miami fell to 2-11-1 in league play and now trails seventh-place North Dakota by eight points in the NCHC standings.
The RedHawks slipped to No. 46 in the PairWise rankings, as they were passed by Enrico Blasi-coached St. Thomas.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Looking at the last few chances Miami had to tie the score — and there were a couple of very near-misses — it was the freshmen and not the veterans generating those opportunities.
That in itself is an issue: College hockey teams need veteran leadership, and at least up front, Miami’s upperclassmen forwards were largely AWOL on this trip.
The RedHawks didn’t even come close to earning a single point of the 12 available on this road trip and now face a sisyphean task of trying to climb out of the crevasse they’ve created.
As luck would have it, that second-to-last place team in the conference is coming to Oxford next weekend, giving Miami a chance to close that margin.
That would be North Dakota.