Oxford, OH – Saying that there is suspense when the Huskies face the Miami RedHawks is an understatement. After Saturday’s game, the two squads have had four consecutive overtime games. Although this game was a polar opposite of Friday nights contest, the result was the same as the two teams skated to a 2-2 overtime draw – at least for NCAA purposes. On this night, Miami earned the satisfaction of the extra league point as Josh Melnick, always tough on the Huskies scored the three on three overtime winner for the extra point and a split of the weekend series with both teams earning three league points. To say the #1 ranked Huskies had difficulty with the RedHawks was an understatement. Although they never once led in the two-game series, the resilient RedHawks always managed to find a way to rally and pull themselves even with the Huskies. On Saturday, December 1, they did so for the second straight game and sent the Huskies back home knowing they have to do a better job shutting the door on a team when they have a third period lead. And, for the RedHawks, they now can be confident in their “backup” goaltender as graduate transfer Jordan Uhelski filled in magnificently for the injured Ryan Larkin shutting down the Huskies to 4 goals in the two contests and stopping 59 of 63 shots on goal in the two games. It was a tough series but that is to be expected in the NCHC.
In contrast to Friday’s contest, the RedHawks were the aggressor early on in period one outshooting the Huskies 4-1 in the first four minutes of play. In a period full of attacks from both teams, Nick Poehling was stopped at the doorstep by Miami’s Uhelski and likewise Hrenak had to make a big save on the other end. Additionally, Brodzinski was stopped at the goal mouth and Spencer Meier was unable to convert on a clean shot from the point. Uheski made another nice stop on a backhand in close by Robby Jackson. A major penalty to Miami’s River Rymsha at 14:28 as a result of a cross check to the head of Jack Poehling gave the Huskies the man-advantage for essentially the rest of period one. They converted quickly on a goal by Blake Lizotte (Brodzinski | R Poehling) just 21 seconds into the power play. A shot by Brodzinski rebounded to a wide open Lizotte and he buried it from the left slot for a 1-0 SCSU lead. However, the Huskies were unable to gain much traction after that and it was Miami who provided some tense moments with several short-handed rushes at the tail end of the period. Nick Perbix missed an open net to end the power play with 50 seconds remaining. Miami outshot the Huskies 8-6 in the period and the Huskies were 1/1 on the man-advantage.
The second period started pretty much like the first period ended only this time it was the Huskies at the disadvantage. 1:08 into the period, Jon Lizotte was tagged for a five-minute major and game misconduct for boarding and as applied to Miami’s Rymsha in period one was disqualified for the balance of the game. The Huskies did a nice job killing off the penalty with several quality saves by Hrenak but couldn’t outlast the RedHawks as they finally converted with 22 seconds left in the penalty. Casey Gilling, who scored the game-tying goal on Friday captured the puck in a scramble at the goalmouth and with some deft stick-work put it past Hrenak to tie the game at 1-1. At 6:38 the RedHawks were whistled for too many men and despite a huge save on the Huskies it was the only shot on goal in the man-advantage. An additional penalty to Grant Hutton for cross-checking at 16:13 put the Huskies on the advantage again but the 2nd ranked power play in the country was unable to convert and Hrenak was called on to make another save on a short-handed break maintaining a 1-1 tie by periods end. SCSU outshot the RedHawks 11 to 10 in the period.
It was a positive start for the Huskies in period three as Easton Brodzinski netted his 7th goal of the season 22 seconds into the third period to give SCSU the one-goal advantage. Brodzinski (Meier | Newell) lifted the puck over Uhelski from the right slot to give SCSU their second lead of the game. Again, there were opportunities on both ends of the rink as the RedHawks were unable to convert a 2 on 1 three minutes into the period and Robby Jackson was stopped at the doorstep after stripping Miami’s Daschke of the puck less than 2 minutes later. But, it was Josh Melnick who has a reputation as a clutch scorer and a thorn in the side of the Huskies to create the tying goal at 11:00 of the third. Melnick wristed a shot from the left circle that rebounded off the post and Scott Corbett who had a key goal Friday was there to bury it to tie the game at 2-2. Corbett nearly won it for the RedHawks as he was turned away on a breakaway with 4:43 left in the contest. As was the case on Friday, the teams skated to a regulation tie and headed to overtime after a 11-5 shot advantage by SCSU in the third.
In the overtime session, Uhelski made a big save on a point-blank opportunity by Kevin Fitzgerald with 2:52 remaining and another nice save in traffic with 1:16 remaining to preserve the 2-2 regulation tie. SCSU was outshot 4-2 in the official extra session.
Melnick then gave the RedHawks the extra session overtime 3×3 win at 3:35 of the session.
Coaches comments: “I think tonight was a really good hockey game from both teams ” said Miami coach Blasi. “Both teams played well and both teams played hard. Goaltending was really good. We played as good a game as we’ve played all year. We seem to respond well to adversity. Uhelski played an outstanding game. He stood tall and did what he had to do. I give our leadership group a ton of credit.”
In a tough conference battle, the Huskies outshot Miami 30-27. Both goaltenders were solid with SCSU’s Hrenak stopping 25 of 27 shots on goal and Miami’s Uhelski 28 of 30. SCSU was 1 for 4 on the man-advantage and Miami was 1 for 2. SCSU won the faceoffs 21-19 and blocked 12 shots while Miami blocked 15. This was the fourth straight overtime game between these two squads as they both earned 3 points on the weekend. The game ends officially as a 2-2 tie.
Stars of the Game: #1 Uhelski (Miami) #2 Hrenak (SCSU) #3 Brodzinski (SCSU)