Miami men’s hockey was swept this weekend by the the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs — the second seed in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference. The RedHawks lost in overtime 5-4 on Friday, and 5-3 on Saturday.
The series sweep eliminated Miami from the NCHC tournament and ended its 9-20-7 season. Minnesota improved to a 23-6-7 overall record as they advance to the next round of the NCHC playoffs.
Friday night’s contest ended in overtime when UMD’s senior forward Dominic Toninato scored a goal 7:24 into the period. The overtime loss was Miami’s first of the season.
The RedHawks began the game with intensity, aggression and the first three shots on net. However, the Bulldogs drew first blood when a turnover in front of the Miami net allowed sophomore forward Parker Mackay a point-blank shot on freshman goalie Ryan Larkin. The goal was scored 5:20 into the first period.
The Red and White answered 30 seconds later when a fortunate breakout pass to freshman forward Gordie Green started a 2-on-1 rush. Green carried the puck into the Minnesota zone and passed it to sophomore forward Zach LaValle. LaValle skated across the crease, past two Bulldog defenders and slid the puck past the sprawling goaltender to tie the game at one.
Miami scored another goal 35 seconds later after junior defenseman Scott Dornbrock broke his stick on a blue line shot that slid towards senior forward Anthony Louis who pushed the puck near the crease. Freshman forward Carson Meyer tipped the puck away from freshman goalie Hunter Miska and shot the puck as he dove into the net to take the lead 2-1.
The RedHawks were outshot 7-6 in the first period, but maintained a 2-1 lead.
Early in the second, Larkin went down when a Minnesota player tripped and slid into the crease. He was pulled from the game for an assumed injury, and freshman goalie Chase Munroe was forced to make his first appearance in net since Dec. 10.
The Bulldogs tied the game 3:44 into the second period when freshman forward Riley Tufte buried the puck past Munroe from a shot off of the back wall.
A scrum after the whistle late in the second period sent two players to the penalty box and began 4-on-4 play. With 4:04 left in the second, an offensive zone faceoff win for Miami allowed sophomore defenseman Grant Hutton to receive a pass and carry the puck down the far-side boards and behind the net for a feed to Green. Green capitalized in the slot for a wrist-shot goal.
Miami’s lead lasted only 43 seconds as senior forward Alex Iafallo carried the puck from his own zone, into Miami’s zone, up the wall and around Munroe for a backhand goal to tie the game at 3-3.
The second period ended with the game tied at 3-3. Miami was again outshot 7-6 in the period.
A couple of Miami penalties stifled any momentum it had through the first half of the third period, but the score remained unchanged. The RedHawks once again took the lead with 8:42 remaining in regulation when sophomore forward Ryan Siroky took a turnaround shot from the wall that was headed wide but ricocheted off Miska’s left pad and slid into the goal.
The Bulldogs tied the game 1:12 after Miami’s last goal when Tufte scored his second of the night with 7:30 to play.
Regulation ended in a 4-4 tie and sent the game into sudden death overtime. Miami was outshot 18-7 in the third period.
During overtime, Minnesota dominated play and outshot Miami 9-3 in the period. The Bulldogs ended the game when an offensive zone faceoff win to Iafallo gave him room to skate behind Miami’s net and feed Toninato for a one-time goal 7:24 into the period.
Both teams failed to convert on any power plays during Friday’s game. Minnesota outshot Miami 41-22.
Saturday night’s game would allow Minnesota to move on to the next round of the playoffs and would end Miami’s season.
The RedHawks came out on their heels in the first period and allowed Minnesota to take the first ten shots on net and the lead with a goal from senior defenseman Brenden Kotyk 2:49 into the contest.
The score remained 1-0 for the remainder of the period. Miami was outshot 16-4 during the first 20 minutes of play.
Minnesota scored with 10:59 left in the second off of a point shot through traffic from freshman defenseman Nick Wolff.
Miami found the back of the net 10:42 into the second when senior forward Justin Greenberg scored on a rebound from Hutton’s shot from the top of the far circle. Greenberg’s second goal of the season cut Minnesota’s lead in half.
The score remained unchanged for the remainder of the period. Miami outshot Minnesota 12-10 during the middle stanza.
Miami killed the remaining seconds on UMD’s carryover penalty from the second and began a 3-on-2 rush that created a rebound chance for sophomore forward Kiefer Sherwood. Sherwood hammered the puck home to tie the game at two goals apiece with 18:35 left in regulation.
Miami took its first lead of the night when Louis fired a shot toward the net that deflected off of Kotyk and in for the go-ahead goal with 16:39 to go.
Miami was able to hold off Minnesota’s attack until a long offensive possession for the Bulldogs ended with a tying goal from junior forward Jared Thomas with 6:29 left to play. The Bulldogs again took the lead after Iafallo made a transition move in the Miami zone to get free and snipe the puck into the top right corner with 4:23 remaining.
The RedHawks dumped the puck to allow Munroe to get off the ice for an extra skater late in the third, however, Toninato was able to score on the empty net on a breakaway with 1:05 left in regulation.
UMD won the game 5-3 and claimed an NCHC Conference Playoff series win. Miami was outshot 36-24 during the game, although shots were even at 20 apiece for the last two periods.
Miami had its worst overall record since the start of the decade. The 2017-2018 campaign will begin on Friday, October 6 against Providence College in Oxford.