After Friday’s win, Miami looked to finally be taking a step in the right direction when it took down Ferris State (2-1).
On Saturday, the hockey team gambled with a “controlled chaos” approach, and it ended up costing it in the end, as the RedHawks lost 3-1 at the Steve ‘Coach’ Cady Arena.
Back to back games are always difficult, but MU head coach Chris Bergeron knew his team could have done more.
“It was unfortunate, it was right there,” Bergeron said. “It’s a tough one to put your thumb on what went wrong. Not good enough around the other team’s net, for sure. Thirty-four shots on goal, definitely should have been able to come away with more than one goal.”
The only goal came from freshman center Ryan Savage, son of Miami alumni and former NHL player Brian Savage. With his first at Miami, Savage now only has 65 more to go to catch up to his old man.
Before the fans could even take their seats, the penalty boxes had visitors by both teams.
Though the RedHawks (1-3-1) returned to full strength first, Ferris State managed to throw a couple of shots in the direction of senior goaltender Ryan Larkin.
Both teams looked to pressure the opposing goalies right away, crashing the net and repeatedly getting passes in the slot.
The first 12 minutes saw fans continuing to rotate their heads to follow the action, though Miami continued to outshoot the Bulldogs.
Moving past the formality of Friday’s game gave way to a much more physical start. Constant pressure along the wall and contact behind the net showed the grit of old-time hockey.
Miami finally looked to stop the back and forth by establishing residence in the Ferris State zone. Numerous shots on goal complimented strong presence at the blue line and kept pressure on sophomore goaltender Roni Salmenkangas.
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Pressure in the last minute made Larkin’s job a bit more active, but after the first 20 minutes, the affair was scoreless. Miami outshot Ferris State 15 to five in the opening period.
Another quick Ferris State penalty came one minute into the period. The cross-checking minor made all fans hold their breath, as sophomore wing Scott Corbett fell on his head after taking a stick to the back of the neck. He missed only a few minutes.
The power play got a few shots in on Salmenkangas, but the game was still scoreless after the two minutes was served.
Another power play opportunity presented itself to Miami, but for the third time, the ’Hawks came away empty-handed.
The fans inside Cady Arena thought they caught a break after 32 minutes of scoreless hockey. Senior wing Gordie Green tipped a slapshot from the blue line that ended up in the back of the net, only to have it waved off due to a high stick.
Unfortunately, the scoring was broken by the Bulldogs, with junior wing Marshall Boise blazing past the Miami defense to deke out Larkin and slip it in the net.
Miami responded almost instantly with a chance in front of the net for Savage to score his first career goal 30 seconds after Ferris State scored. The goal was assisted by sophomore wing Noah Jordan and redshirt junior wing Christian Mohs.
Things got even more interesting when a chance in the Miami defensive zone ended with a shot on goal and both teams exchanging pushes. Almost every time the puck was frozen, a crowd gathered in front of the net to exchange not-so-pleasantries.
Another breakaway chance was taken advantage of by Ferris State, as a three-on-one break led to junior wing Coale Norris wristing another shot over the blocker of Larkin.
Miami tried to get back into the game quickly once again, putting three quick shots on goal, before an icing call halted the action momentarily.
After two, it was Ferris State leading 2-1.
Larkin was put to the test almost immediately, as he faced two shots right in his grill in the first 20 seconds.
The onslaught continued for Ferris State, and Miami managed to chip the puck out by the zone, but not before a shot rang between the pipes behind Larkin and made all 2,319 fans check their pulse.
The RedHawks looked out of control, having their second minor put pressure on Larkin and the Miami penalty kill.
The penalty kill failed, and the dagger came in the third period, as junior center Lucas Finner put the Bulldogs out in front by two on the power-play goal.
Ferris State was looking for every loose puck, outhustling the RedHawks to break even in shots on goal. The effort showed in the final score, as the Bulldogs beat Miami, 3-1.
“At times, I liked the way we played. I think we had too many passengers tonight,” Bergeron said. “We need, if not everybody, we need most everybody contributing, and that wasn’t the case tonight.”