St. Cloud, MN – with their back against the wall, the Miami RedHawks relied on their offensive leaders to steer them to a 3-2 overtime win in game two of the NCHC playoffs at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center. Entering overtime tied 2-2 the RedHawks were facing a season ending game if they were to lose in the OT session. Defenseman, Grant Hutton made sure they lived to play another game with the game winner 7:10 into overtime in a deflating loss for the #1 ranked Huskies. This was Hutton’s second goal of the game and 13th of the season and combined with a first period goal by Josh Melnick was all that was needed to advance to game three. Melnick, who has prospered over the past three years vs the Huskies has now scored seven goals in 12 games continuing to be a thorn in the side of the Huskies. Dominating the second and third period of the game, the Huskies found themselves down 2-0 for the second time in three games and had to claw their way back to force the game to overtime. It now comes down to game three to determine whether it’s Miami or SCSU that earns its way to the Frozen Faceoff next weekend at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
A slow start to the hockey game for the Huskies found them down by a goal less than two minutes into period one. Josh Melnick’s tip in goal at 1:54 gave the RedHawks their first lead of the series. Unable to capitalize on a man-advantage after an interference penalty to Louie Belpidio at 7:17, the Huskies found themselves fending off the attack of an energized RedHawk squad until they struck again at 17:33. This time it was Grant Hutton with his first of two goals in the contest. Hutton beat David Hrenak with a shot from the point that beat him stick side top shelf for a 2-0 RedHawk advantage. In a period with limited shots on goal, the Huskies outshot Miami 6-4.
A check from behind to Nick Poehling at 5:56 by Chad Switzer gave the Huskies a five-minute man-advantage to work with and they converted within the first two minutes with a goal by Ryan Poehling (Eyssimont | Jackson) at 7:20 of period two. A nice three-way pass had Jimmy Schuldt feeding Robby Jackson who sent a cross-ice pass to Mikey Eyssimont who found Poehling in the slot for a one-timer that beat Miami’s Larkin. This was Poehling’s 13th goal of the season and 6th goal in the last 8 games. In a period dominated by the Huskies, they outshot Miami 13-7 and seemed to get stronger as the period progressed.
Period three had Josh Melnick whistled for tripping just 54 seconds into the session and the Huskies took advantage with Blake Winiecki (Ahcan | B Lizotte) re-directing a shot by Jack Ahcan past Larkin at 2:43 to tie the game at 2-2. This was Winiecki’s 8th goal of the season and had the RedHawks fighting to maintain the tie for the balance of the period. In another period dominated by the Huskies they outshot Miami 11-7 and had ample opportunities to take the lead were it not for some strong play by Miami’s netminder Ryan Larkin.
The overtime session once again found the Huskies on the attack but it was the RedHawks who ended the contest on another goal by defenseman Grant Hutton. Louie Belpedio fed Hutton at the point and he fired a shot through traffic that got past Hrenak for the 3-2 overtime win. The winning goal was scored on the only recorded shot of the session.
Miami’s Ryan Larkin had an outstanding game stopping 30 of 32 SCSU shots in earning the win. The Huskies David Hrenak stopped 17 of 20 Miami shots and suffered his first loss in the past 10 games. For the Huskies, this snapped a 12 game undefeated streak and the loss was only their third of the season on home ice. Further indication of the dominance of the Huskies in this game were 78 shot attempts by SCSU vs 36 for Miami. the Huskies were 2/4 on the power play with 16 total shot attempts. Miami had one man-advantage and was only able to produce one shot on goal. Miami blocked 19 SCSU shots and were edged in faceoffs 30-25.
The teams return for game three of the series on Sunday at 7:07 PM CT and the right to participate in the Frozen Faceoff next weekend.
Stars of the Game: #1 Hutton (Miami) #2 Sherwood (Miami) #3 R Poehling (SCSU)