OXFORD, Ohio – Miami hung with No. 12 Western Michigan for the first two periods, but an early Broncos surge in the final frame sealed the RedHawks’ fate.
WMU scored twice in the first three minutes of the third period and three times overall in that stanza en route to a 5-1 win over Miami at Cady Arena on Friday, handing the RedHawks their fourth straight loss.
Colt Conrad finished with a goal and two assists and Trevor Gorsuch stopped 22 shots to pace the Broncos (19-13-1).
RECAP: WMUs Jade McMullen carried the puck along the boards before sending a one-time pass to Corey Schuenemanwho ripped it by Miami goalie Ryan Larkin to open the scoring 9:11 into the game.
Conrad extended the Broncos’ lead 3:41 into the second period when he skated across the blue line on a 3-on-2 rush and wired a shot past Larkin on the power play.
Phil Knies cut the RedHawks’ deficit to one on a one-timer from the right wing faceoff circle off a pass by Brian Hawkinson that snuck through Gorsuch with 6:04 left in the middle frame.
But Lawton Courtnall batted home a loose puck in the slot to make it 3-1 WMU at the 1:53 mark of the third period, and 41 seconds later, Cam Lee stole the puck in the offensive puck and centered one to a streaking Dawson DiPietrowho directed the puck into the net.
Wade Allison tapped in an empty netter with 6:29 left to seal it.
STATS: Knies scored his sixth goal of the season and his third in the last six games.
– Hawkinson’s assist extended his points streak to four games, the longest of his career.
– Jonathan Gruden also picked up a helper on that goal and has points in three straight contests.
– Miami has struggled mightily in the third period, as the RedHawks have been outscored, 20-4 in the final 20 minutes of their last 12 games.
– MU reached the 20-loss mark for the third straight season.
THOUGHTS: This was not an entertaining game to watch.
Western Michigan really did not play that well. Miami (11-20-4) was awful.
There was no flow. Icings and faceoffs halted play continuously in the opening minutes, and there were so many penalties in the second period the referees’ arms needed to be iced down at intermission from all the delayed calls.
It was 2-1 for about eight minutes and Miami did lead in shots through 40 minutes but it never really felt like the RedHawks had a chance.
Too many turnovers, no transition, trouble completing passes, substandard compete level, mediocre goaltending, weak power play is not going to win many games in the NCHC.
FORWARDS: D. This corps simply did not create enough quality scoring chances and finished with 13 shots by 13 skaters. Knies scored but that line went minus-5. Josh Melnick: 2 shots. Gordie Green: 1 shot. Karch Bachman: 0 shots.
DEFENSE: C-. Generated some shots but most were low percentage from the outside. More turnovers than usual, especially along the wall. Derek Daschke did have SOG and Grant Hutton four.
GOALTENDING: D-. Larkin should’ve stopped the first two goals, as they were from outside with no traffic, as both beat him to the glove side. The third was kind of fluky, the fourth was on a net crashing situation and the fifth was an empty netter. He made 19 saves for an .826 save percentage.
LINEUP CHANGES: Scott Corbett returned up front but did not look 100 percent. He missed the last four games with an upper-body injury.
Christian Mohs was also back in the lineup after sitting for the last two.
Out were Carter Johnson – who scored last Saturday – and defenseman Andrew Sinard as the RedHawks went with 13 forwards rather than the usual seven defensemen.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The point of this weekend was to play better hockey and build momentum heading into the postseason.
This game did nothing to move toward that goal.