Miami men’s hockey was swept by the St. Cloud State Huskies on the road this weekend. The RedHawks lost both games, 4-2 on Friday and 3-1 on Saturday, at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.
The series left Miami with a 9-13-6 overall record, a 5-9-4 record in the NCHC and a 3-9-3 record on the road. SCSU is now 15-14-1 overall, 9-10-1 in the NCHC and 7-6-0 at home.
When Miami and St. Cloud last met in January, the RedHawks won both games to sweep the Huskies at home. Friday night’s contest was hard fought, but ultimately ended in a St. Cloud victory.
Freshman Ryan Larkin would start both games in net.
Miami outshot St. Cloud 10-7 after the first period but both teams had scoring chances. However, neither team was able to put one in the back of the net before the first 20 minutes ended.
The second period began with aggressive play from Miami that was matched by the Huskies. This culminated in both goalies making goal-saving grabs early in the second as Miami applied offensive pressure. Play was stopped 2:48 into the second period when SCSU was penalized for hooking.
Miami’s powerplay unit controlled the puck for the majority of the two minutes. Freshman forward Gordie Green gathered the rebound from junior defenseman Louie Belpedio’s blue-line shot and put the puck away for his sixth goal of the season. Sophomore forward Kiefer Sherwood assisted on the play as well.
Following the goal, Miami took two penalties within two minutes of each other, which gave SCSU a 30-second 5-on-3. The RedHawks were able to kill off the first penalty and get a fourth skater on the ice, but St. Cloud’s freshman forward Ryan Poehling was able to deflect a shot from the slot for a powerplay goal.
The second period ended with Miami and St. Cloud tied with one goal apiece. The Red and White outshot the Huskies to put the shot totals at 19-16.
The final period began as both teams looked to score the go-ahead goal. The tie was broken when SCSU’s sophomore forward Mikey Eyssimont toe dragged through the center of Miami’s zone and sniped a shot into the top right corner with 17:25 left in the game.
The Huskies scored another goal a minute later with a redirection from sophomore forward Robby Jackson.
St. Cloud took a few penalties in the third, but Miami was not able to capitalize on the man advantage until the last 30 seconds of the game. Sherwood scored on a one-timer from Belpedio and senior forward Anthony Louis.
Miami battled to tie the game, though the Huskies were able to finish with an empty net goal with 13 seconds remaining in the game. This secured the 4-2 win.
Miami managed to outshoot St. Cloud 32-30 in the loss.
Saturday night’s game was not much different for the RedHawks. The first period began with great pace from both teams. Both Miami and SCSU were called for penalties in the first, but neither team capitalized on their power plays. The period ended scoreless but unlike Friday, St. Cloud outshot Miami 14-5.
Miami came out in the second period with heightened intensity that resulted in an early second period goal. Sophomore forward Josh Melnick scored on a wrist shot with 5:46 gone in the period. The goal was assisted by Green and freshman forward Carson Meyer.
St. Cloud tied the game a few minutes later after freshman forward Willie Knierim took a penalty and the Huskies capitalized on a slap shot from the point. Miami took four penalties in the period but were able to keep the score tied at 1-1.
The tie was broken by St. Cloud for the second night in a row. The Huskies went up 2-1 with 2:37 left in regulation. The goal was scored on a heads-up deflection by freshman forward Jake Wahlin off a tremendous feed to the front of the crease from freshman forward Nick Poehling.
Larkin was pulled from the net with one minute left to get an extra Miami skater on the ice. The RedHawks turned the puck over in St. Cloud’s zone and allowed sophomore forward Jacob Benson to score a point blank, empty-net goal to finish the game at 3-1.
Miami was outshot 13-6 in the final period. The RedHawks’ lack of discipline lead to several unnecessary penalties and less time on offense.
St. Cloud’s series sweep adds two losses to Miami’s total. The team has lost four of their last five games. There are only six games remaining in the season.
The RedHawks’ next game will be at home against Denver, the top ranked team in the NCHC and number two in the nation (ncaa.com). The first game of the weekend series is on Friday at 7:35 p.m. Miami last played Denver in November and tied both games in the series.