Miami hockey returned to Steve ‘Coach’ Cady Arena this past weekend for a National Collegiate Hockey Conference series against St. Cloud State.
The RedHawks fell short in both games, losing Friday night, 2-1, and Saturday night, 5-2.
Friday’s game opened slowly, as both teams got a feel for the speed and physicality that followed.
Each team possessed the puck well and generated scoring chances, but St. Cloud State scored first halfway through the first period.
Junior goaltender Grant Valentine showed the goal did not phase him, as he went on to stop two clear scoring chances to keep Miami in the game.
Physicality was a point of emphasis in the second period, as both teams tried to gain control of the game. Both teams had chances on the power play, but the score held at 1-0, Huskies.
MU junior forward Casey Gilling tied the game at 1-1 in the third period. Assists were credited to senior forwards Karch Bachman and Gordie Green.
The game became relatively uneventful after Gilling’s goal, as both teams’ defenses dictated the action.
St. Cloud State broke the tie with 25 seconds left in the period with a pass across the face of goal leading to a strong one-time shot. The goal was reviewed for a possible offsides penalty, but the officials confirmed the original call.
With little time for Miami to mount a comeback, St. Cloud State held on to win, 2-1.
Coach Chris Bergeron was disappointed by the lack of discipline he felt Miami displayed throughout the game on Friday.
“It was not even close to our best game. We were not good with the puck in our own zone. We wanted to defend better in our own zone. It was not a good night for us,” Bergeron said.
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Saturday night’s game started with the same intensity Friday ended with. Both teams scored a goal in the first period. Freshman forward Chase Pletzke recorded Miami’s.
The RedHawks were forced to spend a good portion of the second period shorthanded.
St. Cloud State took advantage of bad Miami penalties, scoring on one of its two power-play opportunities. Miami had plenty of chances to tie the game back up but could not find the back of the net. The Huskies held a 2-1 lead after two periods.
Then, the scoring party started.
The third period was full of goals, as both teams found ways to put the puck in the back of the net. Miami’s two goals were scored by junior forward Christian Mohs and Gilling, while St. Cloud’s goals were scored by sophomore forward Sam Hentges and senior forward Jack Poehling.
The game ended in a 5-3 loss for Miami, as the Huskies completed the sweep.
“It was not a five-goals-against game for us, but it was five goals against. We want to be a disciplined team, and we want to be hard to play against, but we are taking unnecessary and undisciplined penalties,” said Bergeron. “It was a night where I thought we had some jump. We were on the wrong side of too many plays, particularly in the third period.”
The RedHawks hope to turn things around in the second half of their season, starting with their next game Dec. 30 at Bowling Green State University.