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New players shine as Miami splits exciting series against Ferris State

<p>Sophomore defenseman Robbie Drazner takes a shot during a Feb. 13 game vs. St. Cloud State.</p>

Sophomore defenseman Robbie Drazner takes a shot during a Feb. 13 game vs. St. Cloud State.

Miami hockey started its 2021-2022 season with a bang as they beat Ferris State 7-4 last Saturday. 

The teams traded goals to start. Just three minutes into the first period, Ferris scored a shorthanded goal when senior captain Derek Daschke turned the puck over by the side of the net. 

Ferris’s Jake Transit stripped the puck from Daschke and finished in front of the net, beating Miami sophomore goalie Ludvig Persson with a between the legs shot.

But 18 seconds later —  on the same powerplay —  Miami tied it up. Senior defenseman Will Cullen found junior forward Joe Casetti on the half wall. Casetti one-touched the puck to a crashing Ryan Savage. Savage, a junior forward, caught the puck and fired a wrist shot home for the tie. 

After a breakaway goal gave Ferris the lead, Miami tied it again with another powerplay score. Sophomore forward Matt Barbolini knocked a shot on net that Ferris’s goalie Logan Stein stopped but couldn’t freeze. 

Michael Regush, a senior transfer forward from Cornell, found the rebound in the high slot and smacked it home, going down to one knee to place a slapshot over the Stein’s blocker. 

Then, Ferris jumped out to a two goal lead. With less than five minutes remaining in the first period, the Bulldogs took advantage of a transition opportunity and Marshall Moise found the back of the net after a 3-on-2. Then, Sam Skinner scored on the powerplay to extend Ferris’s lead to two.

Head Coach Chris Bergeron let his leaders do their job in the face of this early adversity.

“I said ‘this is the first time we’ve faced adversity as the 21-22 group,’” said Bergeron. “ … and then you rely on your older people to react.”

And react they did.

After the intermission, the RedHawks scored five unanswered goals to take their first win of the season.

Less than three minutes into the second period, senior forward Jack Olmstead fished the puck out of Ferris’s corner after a turnover near the net. He looked up and immediately found senior forward Monte Graham streaking to the net for the goal. 

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Less than a minute later, they tied it up. Sophomore forward Thomas Daskas curled around the net and slung a pass to Cassetti, who took one step and put it over Stein’s shoulder.

Still in the second period, the RedHawks finally took their first lead of the game with Ryan Savage's second score. Savage carried the puck behind the net, and twisted between three bulldogs to the high slot. On his backhand, Savage spun and hurled a low shot that found its way through traffic and into the net. 

The ’Hawks scored once more that period; Senior forward Matt Barry slid a pass cross ice on the powerplay, and senior forward Chase Gresock took a slapshot that Stein didn’t even see. 

Junior forward Chase Pletzke capped off the win with an empty-netter with seven seconds remaining in the third period.

Saturday was the first time Miami has scored seven goals since January of 2018, and the first time the team has won its season opener since 2018-19.

The effort was impressive from a team whose offense looked sluggish for most of last season. The RedHawks were crashing the net with tenacity, finding the open man, and taking high danger shots all night.  

Saturday, Miami started the scoring early. Three minutes into the first period sophomore forward PJ Fletcher caused a turnover in the Ferris defensive zone. Daskas streaked in to corral the loose puck and sent it back to Fletcher, who received it on the far post and buried it. 

Each team scored another goal in the period and Miami entered the first intermission winning 2-1.

After a scoreless second period, Ferris State tied it up early in the third. Antonio Venuto slapped a one-timer past Miami junior goalie Logan Neaton to knot it up. Then, with less than two minutes remaining in the game, Ferris State took the lead. The Bulldogs took advantage of a 5-on-3 powerplay, and it was Bradley Marek who put the puck home.

Still technically shorthanded, the RedHawks managed to tie the score less than a minute later. Gresock picked up a loose puck around the blue line and found Regush in the corner. Regush cut, parallel to the goal line, and found Jack Clement flying to the net. Clement caught the pass and slipped it into the net under the Ferris State goalie. 

The game went to overtime. Two minutes into the extra period, Miami turned the puck over in the Ferris State zone. 

Ferris forward Stephan Pokorny snatched the loose puck and zipped down the boards. He lobbed a shot on net from the blue line, and Neaton couldn’t clear the rebound. Pokorny followed his shot and tapped in his own rebound for the win. 

Next, the RedHawks head to Lansing in two weeks for two games against Michigan State. Then, the team returns home the next weekend for its home opener against Bowling Green on Friday, October 22, at Goggin Ice Center.