Oxford, OH – SCSU coach Bob Motzko experienced the pinnacle of his coaching experience on Thursday winning the Gold Medal vs Canada in the World Junior Championships. On Saturday, he returned to the bench of the SCSU Huskies to witness the end result of perhaps the most disappointing series of the season for his SCSU squad. After a frustrating 3-2 loss on Friday getting beat by Miami’s power play, the Huskies could not conjure up any success in six man-advantage chances in the rematch and fell to unranked Miami 4-1. The sweep by Miami lifted the RedHawks into a tie for fifth place in the NCHC standings with the Huskies pending the outcome of the UND vs Omaha Saturday night game. The weekend losses dropped the Huskies extended road trip record that began on December 29th to 1-3-0. They now return home for a quick week of practice before meeting up with #1 ranked UMD in Duluth next weekend.
The Huskies appeared to take an early lead in the contest when first-year defenseman Dennis Cholowski drilled a shot from the point past Miami’s Ryan Larkin at 3:36 of the opening period. However, it was ruled Jack Poehling deflected the shot with a high stick and it was waved off. A high sticking penalty to Miami’s leading scorer Anthony Louis at 10:09 put SCSU on the advantage but it backfired when an ill-advised pass by Mikey Eyssimont along the blue line was intercepted by Kieffer Sherwood who raced down the ice and beat SCSU starter Jeff Smith one on one for his 10th goal of the season and a 1-0 RedHawk lead. The Huskies were to have two more unsuccessful power play opportunities the balance of the period and Jack Poehling was stoned by Larkin on a turn-around shot in the slot with 52 seconds remaining to keep the score 1-0 in favor of Miami. SCSU outshot Miami 11-10 in the period.
A scoreless second period included two additional unsuccessful SCSU man-advantage opportunities for a unit that was close to 20% entering the series. The Huskies once again outshot Miami 9-6 but continued a trend of some rather sloppy play, errant passes and an offense that wasn’t creating a lot of opportunities.
The third period began on the worst possible note with Miami’s Gordie Green beating Smith just 1:02 into the period to extend the RedHawk lead to 2-0. Another Miami penalty to Grant Frederic for slashing at 8:21 was once again not capitalized on leaving the Huskies 0 for 6 on the power play for the game. Finally, Jake Wahlin (Schuldt) gave the Huskies some life with a goal at 13:58 to once again make it a one-goal game. Jimmy Schuldt left a drop pass for Wahlin who beat Larkin with a shot from the back of the left circle. This was Wahlin’s 4th goal of the season but only his first goal since October 28th vs Alabama-Huntsville. But, a tripping call on Ryan Poehling at 14:46 was quickly capitalized on by Miami as a shot from the point by Louie Belpedio was deflected by Josh Melnick for his third goal of the weekend and 3-1 RedHawk lead. An Empty net goal by Grant Hutton at 19:17 sealed the 4-1 win and sweep for the RedHawks. SCSU once again outshot Miami 9-6 in the period.
The Huskies outshot the RedHawks 29-22 for the game but the telling statistic was the failure of the SCSU power play that was unable to score in six opportunities. Miami did convert one of their three power plays in the game. SCSU goaltender Jeff Smith stopped 18 of 21 Miami shots on goal in the loss. His record falls to 3-5-0. Miami’s Ryan Larkin turned aside 28 of 29 SCSU shots on goal to earn the win and see his record improve to 6-6-5. The Huskies conference record falls to 4-7-1 with the weekend losses.
As mentioned, the Huskies hit the road once again for a NCHC series Duluth with #1 ranked UMD.
Stars of the Game: Kiefer Sherwood (Miami) Ryan Larkin (Miami) Anthony Louis (Miami)