RedHawks Keep Season Alive in Overtime

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March 10, 2018

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ST. CLOUD, Minn. – Grant Hutton’s goal 7:10 into overtime kept the Miami hockey team’s season alive as it topped No. 1 St. Cloud State 3-2 in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference Playoffs on Saturday night.

Hutton’s goal was his second of the evening as the RedHawks (12-19-5) evened up their playoff series at a game apiece.

After spending a good portion of the last month playing catchup in games, the RedHawks jumped out front early as Josh Melnick redirected a shot from Alec Mahalk and in with just 1:54 gone by. Kiefer Sherwood also assisted on Melnick’s 10th goal of the season.

Miami nearly added another goal a few minutes later as Gordie Green got fed atop the crease and worked the puck on his backhand around David Hrenak. However, the backhand shot slid a hair wide of the frame as it remained a one-goal game.

The Huskies (23-7-6) drew the evening’s first power play at the 7:17 mark, but the RedHawks were up to the task and maintained their advantage by denying quality looks in the middle. Some 4-on-4 play late in the period opened the ice up some and Hutton padded the MU lead by wristing home a shot with 2:27 left until the horn to give it a 2-0 lead at the break. Sherwood and Mahalak both drew their second assists of the night on the tally as Miami held that lead into intermission.

Sherwood nearly got on the board himself early in the second as a neutral zone turnover sprung him and Green with a 2-on-1. Green fed Sherwood for a one-timer, but Hrenak made a pad stop to keep the lead from growing.

A major penalty on Miami put St. Cloud State on a prolonged power play with 14:04 left in the second period. Extended possession led to a Ryan Poehling goal with 12:40 remaining in the second and 3:37 showing on the major penalty. The Red & White did kill off the remainder of the major penalty with a 2-1 lead in hand. Green nearly added to the lead as Sherwood fed him in front on a mini 2-on-0, but Hrenak got his pad over to stop him from in tight.

The RedHawks got their first power play with 5:44 left in the second, but could not extend their lead. Still, the teams entered the dressing room with MU still in front.

Another St. Cloud power play allowed it tie the score with 17:17 left as Jack Ahcan’s point shot was redirected in by Blake Winiecki to make it a 2-2 contest. St. Cloud State outshot Miami by an 11-7 margin in the third, but Ryan Larkin was able to keep it from getting a lead as the game wore on into overtime.

Both teams traded some rushes in the early going. With 7:10 gone by, Phil Knies tipped a puck to Louie Belpedio at the point, who fed his partner Hutton at the left side. After faking a slap shot, Hutton walked it in and buried his second goal of the night to make the RedHawks a winner.

Final shots for the night were 32-20 in favor of St. Cloud State as SCSU also went 2-for-4 on the power play while killing MU’s lone man advantage. Larkin stepped up with 30 saves while Hrenak made 17 stops at the other end. Hutton (2g) scored Miami’s final two goals while Sherwood and Mahalak dished out two assists apiece.

Sunday’s decisive game three begins at 8:07 p.m. ET.