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Hockey ’Hawks smashed, lose opening series to North Dakota

<p>Sophomore forward Monte Graham battles for the puck during a 4-4 tie against New Hampshire on Oct. 12 at the Goggin Ice Center.</p>

Sophomore forward Monte Graham battles for the puck during a 4-4 tie against New Hampshire on Oct. 12 at the Goggin Ice Center.

“Always look on the bright side of life.”

Eric Idle’s famous lyrics are probably what most Miami University hockey fans are saying to themselves after watching the RedHawks this past weekend. 

A dismal opening weekend to National Collegiate Hockey Conference play equated to being outscored 12-5 in two games with the North Dakota Fighting Hawks (7-1-1, 2-0-0 NCHC) and Miami’s senior goaltender being pulled for a second time this season.

As the jumble of hawk-named teams took the ice, a few key takeaways emerged:

Sixty minutes

The biggest issue that has come up time and again is the ability (or lack thereof) to play a complete hockey game, win or lose, start to finish. 

It doesn’t help when the team can’t seem to get its footing in the early moments of the game. Whenever an opposing team has scored first this season, the RedHawks have either lost or tied. 

Getting outshot implied more than just extra pressure on the goaltenders this past weekend. The ’Hawks continued to get barraged on the defensive end, giving up breakaways and relying on a goaltender to bail them out after miscommunications.

If Miami can’t figure out how to maintain steady play for an entire game, fans could be in for another rough season.

Miami’s power play: still M.I.A.

Fiftieth out of 58. 

That’s where the RedHawk power play sits after nine games, converting on just four of 37 total attempts. For any non-math majors out there, that comes out to 10.8 percent.

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Capitalization of an enemy’s mistakes once again slipped through the grasp of the RedHawks, as the team went one for nine last weekend. 

It’s starting to look like the ineffective power play is seeping into five-on-five play and causing further offensive frustration. Hopefully, there is an end in sight for this ineptitude, before the two-game skid Miami is on gets longer. 

Ryan Savage strikes again

Most people can’t relate to having an NHL player as a dad. Freshman forward Ryan Savage is trying to earn the respect of Miami fans like his father, Ryan, did in the early 1990s.

Savage 2.0 dropped two points (1 G, 1 A) in the Saturday match against North Dakota, taking one step closer to his dear old dad’s total of 109.

The Canadian freshman will have big shoes to fill if he is to match Brian Savage’s 109 points in 106 games, but one achievement is in sight: only three more goals to match his pop’s freshman year total and plenty of time (more than 25 games) to do it.

Savage and the rest of the team will look to regather themselves for a weekend series at the Goggin Ice Center against Minnesota Duluth. Puck drop Friday and Saturday is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.