St. Cloud, MN – The eighth-seeded Miami RedHawks pushed hard but were unable to overcome a strong third period by the SCSU Huskies dropping game one of the NCHC quarterfinals 5-2 at the HBNHC on Friday, March 15. The Huskies received scoring from five different players including two third period goals to pull away from the RedHawks in the three goal win. For Miami, it’s either win on Saturday or their season ends for 2018-19. The win continued the Huskies undefeated streak at home this season to seventeen games. A win on Saturday would conclude an undefeated season on home ice and would also send the Huskies to the semi-finals of the NCHC Frozen Faceoff in St. Paul, MN next weekend.
The contest started off well for the Huskies staking a 1-0 lead just 3:43 into period one on a goal by Nick Poehling ( Ahcan | J Poehling) for his sixth goal of the season. Ahcan pitched the puck from the blue line and Poehling who was parked in the slot got a piece of it sending it past Miami goaltender Ryan Larkin for a 1-0 lead. However, it wasn’t an easy period as the RedHawks played determined hockey and did their best to pressure the Huskies defense and throws pucks on goal. SCSU’s David Hrenak was up to the task and was given a two-goal margin to work with after a power play goal by Robby Jackson (Brodzinski | B Lizotte) at 14:30. With Miami’s Ryan Siroky whistled for cross-checking, the Huskies went to work with some nice puck movement on the man-advantage. Ryan Poehling found Blake Lizotte down low who fed Easton Brodzinski who got a partial shot off but the puck found its way to Jackson who tapped it past Larkin from the left crease for a two goal advantage. This was Jackson’s 16th goal of the season. Despite a solid period of play by Miami, the Huskies outshot the RedHawks 12-10 and carried a 2-0 lead into period two.
The Huskies were able to kill off an early period penalty to Easton Brodzinski for tripping but Miami was finally able to find the back of the net at 11:18 on a goal by Ben Lown. A shot from the point by Alec Mahalak was tipped through traffic by Lown to narrow the advantage to 2-1. The goal seemed to stir up the Huskies and a nice shift by the Poehling brothers resulted in the game-winning goal by Ryan Poehling ( N Poehling | Jack Poehling) at 14:30 of period two. Nick Poehling gloved the puck from over his head and wristed the puck towards the net from the top of the right circle. Ryan Poehling tipped it past Larkin from the right paint to once again increase the SCSU lead to two goals 3-1. A more energetic period by the Huskies had them outshooting Miami 14-6.
With no intent to yield the game to the Huskies despite the 3-1 lead, the RedHawks scored just 24 seconds into the third period to narrow the lead to 3-2. Miami won an offensive zone faceoff and sent the puck back to River Rymsha whose full slap shot from the blue line beat Hrenak for their second goal of the night. However, the goal seemed to fire the Huskies into their typical third period overdrive mode and they once again gained a two-goal lead at 3:57 on an unassisted goal by Jack Ahcan, his 5th of the year. Ahcan curled around the back of the Miami net and unloaded a shot from the right dot that beat Larkin low stick side for a 4-2 SCSU margin. Easton Brodzinski (Fitzgerald | J Lizotte) followed it up with his 13th goal at 16:12. Fitzgerald carried the pick into the zone and made a beautiful cross ice pass to Brodzinski who one-timed it past the stick side of Larkin for the Huskies fifth goal and 5-2 final score.
SCSU had a 37-25 advantage in shots on goal but Miami had the advantage in faceoff wins 28-24. David Hrenak stopped 23 of 25 shots to earn his 21st win of the season and see his record improve to 21-3-2. Miami’s Ryan Larkin turned aside 32 of 37 shots in his 15th loss of the season. Both teams were penalized twice and SCSU was 1 for 2 on the power play while the RedHawks were 0 for 2.
Nine players hit the score sheet for SCSU with Jack Poehling ( 0-2-2), Easton Brodzinski (1-1-2), Jack Ahcan (1-1-2) and Nick Poehling (1-1-2) all having a multiple point night.
Three Stars of the Game: #1 N Poehling (SCSU) #2 Ahcan (SCSU) #3 J Poehling (SCSU)
The teams return to the ice at 6:07 PM CT on Saturday for game two of the playoff series.