OXFORD, Ohio — Miami finally broke through on the scoresheet midway through the third period, but unfortunately for the RedHawks, that goal came after North Dakota had netted four of its own.
The Fighting Hawks rode that offensive outburst to a 4-1 win at Cady Arena on Friday, extending Miami’s losing streak to six games.
Their lone goal was just the RedHawks’ second in five games to start the calendar year — a school-record mark for offensive futility — and Miami (7-16-2) has been outscored, 24-2 in that span.
The teams wrap up their weekend series at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday.
RECAP: North Dakota’s Riese Gaber fired a one-time pass through the slot to Jackson Blake, who blasted it over sprawling Miami goalie Ludvig Persson on the power play, 4:18 into the first period to open the scoring.
Carson Albrecht carried the puck through the neutral zone, skated by a Miami defender along the boards to go in alone and roofed a backhander with 7:47 left in the opening frame, making it 2-0.
The Fighting Hawks’ Tyler Kleven sent a wrister from the top of the left faceoff circle that snuck through less than three minutes into the middle stanza, extending the lead to three.
North Dakota (11-11-4) capped its scoring three minutes into the third period when Owen McLaughlin centered a pass from behind the Miami net to a streaking Matteo Costantini for an easy slam-dunk.
The RedHawks’ lone goal came on a high wrister from the blue line by Hampus Rydqvist through traffic that somehow hit twine with 8:44 remaining.
Two skirmishes broke out in the final minute of regulation, resulting in 34 penalty minutes being assessed. Max Dukovac was assessed a major for kicking and a game disqualification penalty, which accompanies a mandatory one-game suspension in college hockey, so he will not be eligible to play Game 2.
STATS: This is officially the worst offensive five-game stretch in Miami history. The RedHawks had never scored fewer than four goals in a similar span.
|Fewest-ever Miami goals in a 5-game span||Goals|
|Jan. 7-Jan. 27, 2023||2|
|Jan. 18-Feb. 1, 2019||4|
|Feb. 3-Feb. 17, 2018||4|
|Dec. 30, 2000-Jan. 20, 2001||4|
|Jan. 24-Feb. 7, 1991||4|
— Rydqvist’s goal was his second of the season, No. 10 for his career and his first in 13 games.
Fellow Swede William Hallen picked up the primary assist for his feed from along the half boards. It was his third point in eight games after being held off the scoresheet for his first 14.
— Dukaovac also picked up a helper, his second point in three contests.
— Amazingly, Miami held North Dakota to just 20 shots, its fewest SOG allowed since Feb. 28, 2020, a 3-0 win over Omaha in which the RedHawks surrendered just 19.
THOUGHTS: The top rule for playing the Fighting Hawks this season is whatever you do, don’t put them on the power play.
There were a couple others involving bright light, water and feeding them after midnight, but the man-advantage is easily the most dangerous, as UND is ranked second in Division I with a 30.1 percent power-play efficiency rate.
So after an abysmal power play chance of its own, Miami takes a penalty. Forty-three seconds later the puck is in the RedHawks’ net.
Now MU, once again, is playing catch-up before several hundred fans had even secured their seats.
Then Albrecht makes a big-time play (with that skill, that was seriously only his second goal of the season?) and it’s 2-0.
A weak shot gets through, then the RedHawks fall asleep in front of their net and it’s let-me-find-my-keys time for most of the fans at Cady Arena.
— Can’t fault the officiating for this one. Miami had five power plays to North Dakota’s two, and the second UND one was after the coincidental majors with 18 seconds left, long after the outcome had been decided.
— Speaking of which, for the most part it was nice to see the RedHawks show some emotion in the final minute. Hopefully the players are tired of getting smoked every night — it certainly hasn’t been fun to watch for fans of this team.
Matthew Barbolini went at it with Gaber behind the Miami net with 57 seconds left and both were assessed roughing penalties.
Then Kleven threw Miami’s John Waldron down and Dukovac skated out of the corner and tried to tackle him. When Kleven returned to his feet, Dukovac was still on his back and shoved his skate at Kleven, drawing the DQ penalty.
Seconds earlier, Kleven tried to engage Dukovac before, and about 15 seconds prior to that, Hallen laid out a big hit at the blue line.
Two negatives I take are 1) the optics aren’t great when one of the biggest RedHawks engages with one of the smallest Fighting Hawks, although I don’t fault either for trading jabs, and 2) shoving a Ginsu knife attached to your boot toward another player is never acceptable.
That said, I love seeing the guy who was putting up points at will the first half of the season showing he cares when the team hits a slump.
I also love the freshmen sticking up for each other and acting like they’re tired of losing as well. Waldron was ready to fight the entire North Dakota bench when he skated off at the 19:42 mark.
I also liked how the refs handled the late-game issues in terms of assessing penalties. Get agitators off the ice to keep control of the game but don’t start handing out fives and 10s that could result in suspensions for minor-league stuff.
— This was a nationally televised game, and Dave Starman, the CBS Sports color commentator, advocated again for allowing reviews in similar situations after a game is completed to avoid lengthy delays like the ones we saw in this game.
Unofficially I had the game time in this one at about 2:40, with lengthy reviews accounting for over 10 minutes in the final 49 seconds of actual play.
The players in question had been removed from the ice at that point, so can we just get the game over and assess if anything that rises to the level of issuing majors/misconducts that four officials didn’t initially witness should result in supplemental discipline?
— Relative to the past few years, it was a pretty good crowd that was into the action early before the goals against started piling up. Listed attendance was 2,745, including several hundred UND fans.
LINEUP CHANGES: Frankie Carogioiello, Jack Olmstead and Chase Pletzke all returned up front after sitting last Saturday.
Pletze returned after an upper-body injury sidelined him for eight games.
Not dressing in their place were Thomas Daskas, Brian Silver and Joey Cassetti, who is suffering from an undisclosed injury. Daskas had played in 17 of the last 18 games.
STANDINGS: North Dakota remains in seventh place in the NCHC, but Miami dropped 11 points back of the Fighting Hawks.
MU is ranked No. 46 in the PairWise.
FORWARDS: D-. The effort by this corps was mostly positive but no one scored and the group finished with just 14 shots on goal. Despite the losing, Hallen seems to get better every game and was a force in terms of puck possession, winning faceoffs and creating scoring chances, and he played hard until the end, hammering a North Dakota skater in the final minute. His third line, with Artur Turansky and Pletzke, was the team’s best. The forwards had a decent amount of quality chances but every shot seemed to gravitate toward a glob of goalie pads.
DEFENSEMEN: C+. Tough to grade this group. Rydqvist scored the team’s only goal. Lowest shots-against total in almost three years (20). And really, other than the PPG, the semi-breakaway and the five-foot tap-in, Miami limited quality chances and odd-man rushes. Liked the core shut-down guys. But Robby Drazner misplayed North Dakota’s 1-on-1 second goal and it’s unclear why the slot was vacated on the final UND goal, as Axel Kumlin and Dylan Moulton were nowhere in sight, although that may have been Hallen’s man as the center.
GOALTENDING: D. It’s been a great career for Persson, who will hopefully remain a Miami fixture in net for at least another season, but he hasn’t been as sharp as usual lately. The first two UND goals were Grade-As for sure but a goalie on top of his game stops at least one of the two, and the third was on a soft wrister from 50 feet out. In fairness, he had no chance on the fourth North Dakota marker, but he finished 16-of-20 (.800) and didn’t really stop any tough shots. In three years, Persson has shown the ability to snap out of slumps overnight, so hopefully he returns to top form very soon.
SUMMARY: The score was lopsided, as have been all five in 2023, but if there’s one positive to take away it’s that it doesn’t feel like Miami is dead to rights in Game 2.
There’s the weird Saturday-vs.-Friday thing, which played out when these teams met in Grand Forks two months ago.
And there’s the fact Miami played North Dakota pretty evenly most of the night.
Obviously at 3-0 and 4-0 things seemed incredibly bleak for the RedHawks but it’s not like the Fighting Hawks were holding court in the O-zone like other opponents have been to do at times this season.
Especially with another vocal, sold-out crowd expected, if Miami can play at the same level and cut down the critical mistakes it has an excellent chance to salvage a split.