Oxford, OH – Entering this weekend’s series with the Miami RedHawks, the Huskies had won 10 straight games going back to 2018. On Friday, the hospitable RedHawks served up five power-play opportunities to the Huskies but the visitors declined this generosity going scoreless on the man-advantage and yielding three goals in the third period in a 3-2 loss at Steve Cady Arena.
The RedHawks on the other hand, were undermanned, with regular forwards Ryan Savage and Joe Cassetti out of the lineup and senior forward Chase Pletzke injured during the game reducing their roster to 10 forwards. Nevertheless, the Huskies allowed them to hang around for two periods before the league’s seventh-ranked offense scored their flurry of goals in the third period to steal a win from the #6-ranked Huskies.
It was an overall sleepy effort by the Huskies whose league-leading power play sputtered and the penalty kill failed them at a crucial point in the game. Problems with on-ice discipline late in the game and an inability to win key faceoffs were also factors that exacerbated things for the Huskies who have now lost two straight games.
To top it off, it was a perfect opportunity for the Huskies to leap by first-place UMD who led the Huskies by two points in the standings but suffered a 4-0 loss to Western Michigan earlier in the evening. Ultimately with North Dakota defeating Denver, the Huskies remain in third-place four points behind the Fighting Hawks and two points behind UMD. Omaha has crept to within two points of the Huskies.
The Huskies applied pressure early on first-year goaltender Ludvig Persson with saves in the low slot on Kevin Fitzgerald and a big save on a shot from the top of the right circle by Veeti Miettinen. But, exactly five minutes into the period they met with success with a goal by captain Spencer Meier (Hammer), his third goal of the season. Rushing up ice to get into the offense, Meier retrieved a lateral pass over the blue line from Will Hammer and what looked like a routine shot beat Persson five-hole for a 1-0 SCSU advantage.
A minute and a half later, the Huskies failed on a two-on-one opportunity between Nolan Walker and Chase Brand and that seemed to set the tone of frustration for the next period and a half.
Hrenak wasn’t tested much but made a key save in traffic with 9:15 remaining in the period and the Huskies maintaining a slight shot advantage of 8-5.
A penalty to Seamus Donahue for boarding at 12:36 didn’t generate many opportunities for the RedHawks but did spring Will Hammer with a short-handed breakaway but he couldn’t quite stretch out enough to poke the puck past Persson.
The Huskies held on to a 1-0 lead outshooting Miami 12-8 for the period.
The RedHawks repeatedly got in trouble in period two with three penalties starting with a holding call on Robby Drazner just 1:14 into period two. But, they failed to take advantage getting perhaps two shots on goal with the best chance a shot from the high slot by Nolan Walker that was saved by Persson.
After the penalty to Miami expired, the teams traded opportunities with Chase Pletzke denied at the doorstep by Hrenak, and a give and go between Joe Molenaar and Jack Johnston had Johnston’s backhand partially stopped by Persson.
The RedHawks found themselves short-handed again at 10:03 after a tripping penalty to Jack Olmstead but a totally ineffective SCSU power play did not generate a shot on goal. 24 seconds after Olmstead’s penalty expired they were back in the penalty box after a tripping call to Dylan Moulton. Again, the Huskies generated little going 0 for 3 on the man-advantage in the period.
Miami took a timeout at 14:47 to regroup mainly to get through the balance of the period clinging to a 1-0 deficit.
A late period interference call on SCSU’s Will Hammer gave the RedHawks the advantage, but again, it turned into an opportunity for the Huskies with Jared Cockrell failing to convert a pass in the low slot from Kevin Fitzgerald off a two on one and Persson making a big save.
With forty seconds remaining in the period, the Huskies had one final grade-A opportunity with Krannila dropping a pass to Micah Miller who wristed a shot from the high slot that was saved by Persson.
SCSU outshot the RedHawks 13-7 in a period full of opportunity to stretch their lead in the game.
The RedHawks continued to gift opportunities to the Huskies by way of penalties with Brian Silver called for interference at 3:20 and Dylan Moulton for tripping at 9:55. But, as was the case all game, the Huskies were generating little with the man-advantage in addition to losing faceoffs requiring them to re-group. The best opportunity was perhaps a point-blank save on Joe Molenaar in the low slot. But, at best, the Huskies may have had six shots total between the two power-play opportunities.
You had to know the RedHawks who had been hanging around all game despite taking five penalties would finally get a break. They finally knotted things up at 9:55 of the period on a goal by Alec Capstick who started and ended the play. Capstick carried the puck from his blue line and weaved through a maze of Huskies in the middle of a line change. With the Huskies defensively out of sorts, Capstick fed Matthew Barbolini who returned the pass to a waiting Capstick at the back door who buried it past an out of position David Hrenak.
The offensive challenged RedHawks, scoring less than two goals a game, converted again just 13 seconds later with a goal by John Sladic, his third of the season. Miami won the faceoff, carried the puck into the Huskies zone and Scott Corbett placed a shot on Hrenak from the left circle. A big rebound ended up on Sladic’s stick and he beat Hrenak with a quick shot from the mid slot to take a 2-1 lead over the stunned Huskies.
Clearly a wake-up call for the Huskies, they responded 10 seconds later with Jami Krannila’s 8th goal of the season. The Huskies won the center ice faceoff and Spencer Meier, who was deep in the SCSU zone found Krannila down the ice and he got behind the Miami defense sliding the puck under Persson to tie the game at 2-2.
But, poor discipline on the part of Huskies put them at the disadvantage and it cost them. Seamus Donohue was whistled for boarding with an additional two minutes for roughing along with Miami’s Brian Silver but the net result was a two-minute advantage for the Redhawks and they cashed in 31 seconds later on the power play. A deflected pass ended up on the stick of Matthew Barbolini at the Huskies blue line and he fed Casey Gilling streaking in the zone and he beat Hrenak with a wrist shot over his right shoulder for Miami’s first lead of the game at 3-2.
Suddenly, it was desperation time for the Huskies but their efforts were derailed by a boarding call to Nolan Walker at 15:12. They killed the penalty but it ran further time off the clock and they pulled Hrenak for the extra attacker with 1:37 remaining. They were able to sustain some pressure and with 15 seconds remaining Walker had an open net to shoot at but placed the puck wide short side as the RedHawks hung on for the one-goal win.
For the game, SCSU outshot the RedHawks 38-23 while going scoreless in five power-play opportunities while Miami was successful on one of their four opportunities. David Hrenak allowed 3 goals on 23 shots to see his record fall to 9-7-0. Miami’s Ludvig Persson turned aside 36 of 38 shots to improve his record to 5-8-2.
The Huskies were outdueled in the faceoff circle 27-24.
Spencer Meier (1-1-2) had a multi-point game for the Huskies. Jared Cockrell led the team with 6 shots on goal.
Stars of the Game – #1 Matthew Barbolini (Miami) #2 Ludvig Persson (Miami) #3 Spencer Meier (SCSU)