Entering Friday’s contest against the Cornell Big Red (6-3-1), the Miami RedHawks hadn’t won a hockey game in 34 days. Make that 35.
What began as a promising 2-0 advantage for The Brotherhood quickly turned to a 4-2 deficit thanks to four consecutive Big Red scores – three of which arrived in the final twenty minutes.
35 days ago, it would’ve been difficult to foresee the RedHawks’ current struggles. After their last victory – an overtime thriller over Bowling Green – Miami sported a respectable 3-1-2 record and showed signs of a young team trending in the right direction. Now, they’ve fallen to 3-7-4, begging the question: can Miami string together three periods of quality hockey?
Miami’s first period was certainly quality. 5:54 into play, Josh Melnick and Anthony Louis fed Carson Meyer in the high slot, treating the freshman forward to an early goal in honor of his return to the lineup. From there, both teams traded power plays and entered the first intermission at 1-0.
Miami’s Grant Hutton began second period scoring, netting a high slot shot of his own by way of Ryan Siroky and Justin Greenberg. Defensemen have accounted for nine Miami goals this season with Hutton accounting for four. Miami increased their lead to two, but it wouldn’t last long.
Cornell roared back 1:50 before intermission as Noah Bauld deked Grant Frederic from the right circle and reduced the lead to one. The score remained 2-1 into the second intermission with the Red and White doing something they rarely do: outshooting their opponent.
Anthony Louis nearly notched a third Miami goal around the 6:00 mark of the final period, but Hutton dislodged the net right before the shot. Officials confirmed the goal was null upon video review, leaving the RedHawks to wonder what could’ve been. Just over four minutes later, Beau Starrett snuck a backdoor cross behind a sweeping Ryan Larkin to tie the score 2-2.
Then, the floodgates opened. It took only 1:13 for the Big Red to take a 3-2 lead on another point blank finish - this time credited to Anthony Angello. Next, a tripping penalty handed Cornell a power play at the 14:53 mark, and just five seconds later, Trevor Yates turned the ensuing faceoff into Cornell’s fourth and final point.
The RedHawks managed to bring the score to 4-3 with left-handed forward Karch Bachman’s first career goal, coming off Hutton’s pass across the crease. But the RedHawks weren’t able to establish the necessary momentum to mount a game-tying, eleventh hour charge. Despite losing the shooting margin 31-25, Cornell extended their winning streak to four at the RedHawks’ expense.
It’s hard to win hockey games by handing your opponent six power plays. It’s even harder to win hockey games when your opponent only hands you two. Miami began the season as special teams superstars, but like that Bowling Green victory, superstardom seems to be forever ago.
Or, at least 35 days ago.
The RedHawks will suit up Saturday night for game two of this non-conference series. Puck drops again in Lynah Rink at 7:00.