By Steve Perkins, staff writer
The Miami University hockey team split its first road series of the season against St. Lawrence University this weekend. After winning 1-0 on Friday night, Miami couldn’t complete a third period comeback and fell short to the Saints 5-3.
After a scoreless first period, freshman forward Jack Roslovic struck on a power play in the second frame to give the RedHawks the lead. Roslovic’s fourth goal of the season stood as the game winner in the 1-0 contest.
Senior forward Sean Kuraly picked up his first point of the season on the goal with the first assist to Roslovic. Junior forward Anthony Louis earned the second assist. It was his second of the year.
Miami’s penalty kill ultimately decided the game, as they successfully killed off the Saints’ man advantage seven times. Five of those advantages came in the third period, when St. Lawrence registered eleven power play shots. Senior goaltender Ryan McKay was equal to the task each time.
Head coach Rico Blasi tipped his cap to the Miami special teams.
“The third period was all penalties,” Blasi said. “It was just a matter of going through some adversity and dealing with them.”
McKay saved all 26 SLU shots Friday, earning his first shutout of the season. The netminder added another 26 saves Saturday in his first loss of the year. After the weekend, he improves to 3-1-1 with a 9.35 save percentage and a 1.71 goals against average.
Blasi said both McKay and SLU sophomore goalie Kyle Hayton looked good after Friday’s contest.
“I thought it was a good hockey game, both goaltenders played well,” Blasi said. “We made one play on the power play.”
Saturday proved to be a tougher challenge for the RedHawks after they found themselves trailing for the first time in over 200 minutes of play. At the end of the first period, St. Lawrence held a 1-0 lead.
Senior defenseman Christ Joyaux put Miami on the board at the 10:24 mark in the second frame, but by the end of the frame, the Saints extended their lead to 3-1. SLU took a 4-1 lead just five minutes into the third.
Halfway through the final frame, senior defenseman Matthew Caito found twine on the power play for his first goal of the season.
Forty-eight seconds later, Miami struck again. Senior forward Alex Gacek buried his first goal of the year, reducing SLU’s lead to 4-3. Sophomore defenseman and alternate captain Louie Belpedio picked up assists on both third period goals, which brought him to three assists and four total points on the year.
Gacek’s goal was MU’s last of the game, as the ’Hawks couldn’t finish in the final nine minutes and eventually gave up an empty netter to seal the loss at 5-3.
Roslovic picked up an assist Saturday, putting him at seven points on the season.
Blasi spoke to the skill of the Saints after Saturday’s loss.
“Give them credit, that’s a good team over there and they deserved to win,” Blasi said. “They did a lot of really good things tonight. From start to finish I think they were the better team.”
Miami opens conference play this weekend on the road against St. Cloud State University.