OXFORD, Ohio — Miami was less than four minutes away from a signature season win, leading by two against the eighth-ranked team in Division I.

Red Savage (photo by Cathy Lachmann/VFTG).

But Western Michigan scored twice with an extra attacker and again 36 seconds into overtime as the Broncos foiled the RedHawks’ upset bid, 5-4 at Cady Arena on Saturday in the teams’ regular season finale.

Miami (8-22-4) earned one league point for advancing to overtime. MU finished last in the conference with 14 points, 11 behind seventh-place Colorado College.

The RedHawks head to top-seeded Denver for a best-of-3 series to open the NCHC Tournament.

RECAP: Miami took the lead 2:33 into the first period, as Max Dukovac skated the length of the ice and had his shot stopped by Western Michigan goalie Cameron Rowe, and Red Savage was there to bat home the rebound.

The Broncos (23-12-1) tied it with 10:16 left in the opening period on the power play, as Dylan Wendt tipped home a shot by Aidan Fulp at the top of the crease.

With 5:46 remaining in the middle stanza, Western Michigan took the lead on a blast from the high slot by Cole Gallant that beat Miami goalie Logan Neaton high to the stick side.

The RedHawks tied it 72 seconds later when Jack Clement juked a defender along the half wall, skated to the goal line right of the net and centered a pass that a streaking Jack Olmstead was able to tap in.

Miami regained the lead, 3-2 with 14:48 left in regulation when Red Savage fired a puck in on net from the left point that Rowe fought off, with the loose puck popping into the air and trickling into the net behind Rowe.

The RedHawks extended their lead to two when Frankie Carogioiello fed Dylan Moulton, who took a stride forward and buried a wrister from the left faceoff dot.

But with 3:21 to play and the extra attacker on, Wendt backhanded a pass to Max Sasson, who whipped it past Neaton.

Exactly a minute later, Sasson tied it when multiple Western Michigan players jammed at a loose puck, and the rebound found Sasson’s stick in the slot, and he was able to fire it past Neaton.

Thirty-six seconds into overtime, Sasson seized another loose puck off a rebound, and this time found Jason Polin at the right side of the net for the tap-in game-winner.

STATS: Red Savage scored twice for the third time in his Miami career and the first time this season.

Savage has three goals in his last three games.

Dylan Moulton (photo by Cathy Lachmann/VFTG).

Moulton also finished with two points, recording a goal and an assist, giving him his second career multi-point game. He notched three points — all assists — vs. Mercyhurst on Jan. 4, 2022.

Moulton, who nearly scored on Friday, had not found the net this season, with his last goal coming on Feb. 11, 2022 vs. Omaha.

— Olmstead’s goal was his third of the season, snapping an 11-game drought, and was his first in NCHC play.

— Dukovac picked up his 12th assist and is second only to Matthew Barbolini in that category.

Ryan Savage, Carogioiello and Clement also earned helpers.

— Miami dropped to 0-8-13 in overtime over the past four seasons.

— It was the RedHawks’ second overtime loss in five games, during which they have played a total of 54 seconds and did not possess the puck once. They fell to Omaha 18 seconds in during their last homestand.

THOUGHTS: So we went from Miami Template Loss No. 1 on Friday (blowout) to Miami Template Loss No. 2 (UFC-fighter-punch-to-the-Adam’s-apple-devastating-last-minute implosion) a night later.

Some perspective is necessary here.

Blowouts happen, even to good teams. Really brutal late losses happen too, even to good teams. And both happen even more often against excellent teams like Western Michigan, which appears poised to make a run at a national championship.

But not all the time. Not nearly at the clip Miami is currently ending up on the wrong side of both scenarios.

This team was 6-13-1 when leading or tied heading into the third period last season and 3-5-1 WHEN LEADING with 20 minutes remaining.

Miami has been blanked seven times in 2022-23, tied for the most times in team history.

The RedHawks were outscored, 32-2 in January and suffered their worst home loss in 27 years vs. North Dakota in January.

For the most part, MU played outstanding hockey in this game. Its effort was commendable.

But the moral victories cliche doesn’t cut it moving forward. Next week, the RedHawks can’t pull a no-show in the series opener and can’t break down in the closing minutes in Game 2, when the games truly matter again.

Miami was blanked, 7-0 and 7-0 in Denver earlier this season.

— This was a ‘9’ on a 10-point scale of devastating losses which fans have become way too accustomed to, and as a long-time follower of the program I felt like vomiting out every functioning organ.

This is where selling beer at Miami hockey games could generate a ton of revenue. Hard liquor would be better, especially for the third period.

— It was one of the weirder nights in terms of goals.

It’s unclear what part of the body Red’s first goal went off of, and it’s also uncertain what part of Rowe’s body his second one went off of.

The goal that appeared to be Clement’s was awarded to Olmstead.

— Once again this brings up the subject of conditioning. Shots were 14-14 in the first period, 16-9 Western Michigan in the second and 17-7 in the final 20 minutes and overtime. Again, coach Chris Bergeron uses his fourth line as much as any coach in college hockey.

LINEUP CHANGES: Olmstead and John Sladic were back in the lineup for senior night, as Blake Mesenburg and Artur Turansky sat.

Neaton replaced Ludvig Persson.

STANDINGS: Miami finished with 14 points, 11 back of Colorado College. It’s the third straight season the RedHawks have finished last in the conference standings and the fifth time in six campaigns.

The RedHawks actually improved to No. 44 in the PairWise.


Logan Neaton (photo by Cathy Lachmann/VFTG).

FORWARDS: B. The top forwards, especially the veterans, played like the top forwards. Both Savages and Dukovac were outstanding together on the top line, and Olmstead scored the other goal from this corps. The bottom six exuded energy all game.

DEFENSEMEN: C-. Tough to grade this group. Clement was largely responsible for a goal, Moulton was entirely responsible for one, yet Western Michigan finished with 47 shots on goal and this corps allowed too many high-quality chances. Clement, Moulton and Robby Drazner all had solid weekends.

GOALTENDING: C. Neaton looked completely dejected moments after the WMU overtime winner, but he certainly wasn’t the reason Miami lost. He made several big-time saves, including a sprawling glove stop on a point-blank one-timer. Of his five goals against, none were weak, and Neaton controlled his rebounds well, but a goalie in game-stealing mode would have denied at least one of the Broncos’ high-percentage chances.

SUMMARY: In terms of standings, this weekend didn’t mean jack for Miami.

It’s all about beating Denver in Denver, twice in a three-game series. Then winning the conference tournament. Has been for multiple weeks.

No confidence was instilled on Friday, and seeing the RedHawks give away a two-goal lead late in Game 2 probably didn’t help the team psyche heading into Magness Arena either.

The effort in this game, which was outstanding, is what Miami should take into their sisyphean series next weekend.


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