For the first time this season, Miami hockey ended a weekend without a win. And it wasn’t pretty.
Third period goals and an unsuccessful power play plagued the RedHawks (9-6-1).
The ’Hawks spent the holidays in Durham, N.H. and tied the University of New Hampshire Wildcats 3-3 on Friday night before losing 4-1 on Saturday night. UNH’s tying Friday night goal came with 33.2 seconds left to play, and the Wildcats (2-6-4) scored three goals in the final 10 minutes of Saturday’s game to win the series.
The weekend was supposed to be a non-conference breather for the RedHawks who play St. Cloud State, the No. 1 team in the country, Friday and Saturday.
Instead, the tie and loss snapped a four-week stint in the USCHO.com’s top-20 poll, where the RedHawks had been ranked 19th or 20th. The weekend highlighted Miami’s inability to score on the power play, as its man-advantage finished 1-for-7. And, the ’Hawks’ record reads 1-4-1 when they don’t score first.
As the RedHawks grind through the first half of the season, they struggle for consistency. The power play finished 1-for-2 on Friday night, but went 0-for-5 on Saturday. On Friday, Miami was outshot 38-27 but came back to outshoot the Wildcats 34-28 on Saturday. Three goals from three different lines capped the tie on Friday, but the top line had the RedHawks’ only goal on Saturday.
Regardless of inconsistencies, a Monday without practice gave Miami players a chance to rest and regain the energy that is propelling the team to its best pre-Christmas start since the 2014-15 season.
And a weekend spent at home should spark consistency from the RedHawk bench, as the bench continues to prove its depth weekend-to-weekend.
Senior forward Josh Melnick scored a goal both nights and was the only RedHawk who had a multi-point weekend. But Melnick’s solo show meant 10 other ’Hawks tallied points against the Wildcats, and only three Miami players haven’t registered a point this season (only nine haven’t scored a goal).
At the other end of the ice, junior goaltender Ryan Larkin continues to prove his worth as he survived an onslaught of 38 shots on Friday night and stopped 35 of them. Larkin holds a 1.76 goals against average and a .939 save percentage, good for eighth and fourth in the country, respectively.
Larkin got to rest on Saturday, as senior goaltender Jordan Uhelski started his third game for the RedHawks. Uhelski wrapped the weekend with 24 saves off 28 shots.
The Brotherhood looks forward now to this weekend and resumes National Collegiate Hockey Conference play.
Miami hasn’t swept a series since Oct. 27 and hasn’t swept an NCHC opponent since Jan. 2017. It looks to do so when it hosts the St. Cloud State Huskies (11-1, 4-0 NCHC). Puck drop is 7:35 p.m. on Friday night and 7:05 p.m. on Saturday night.
*Due to travel, the team could not be reached for comment.