No. 5/11 Friars Hold Off Late RedHawk Surge

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Oct. 6, 2017

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OXFORD, Ohio - A third period flurry saw the Miami hockey team outshoot No. 5/11 Providence 14-6, but the Friars used a late second and early third period tally to prevail 3-1 on Friday night.

The Friars (1-0) scored with 1:06 left in the second to snap a 1-1 tie and struck again 50 seconds into the third to pick up the opening night win.

Play was fairly back and forth in the early going, though about five minutes in the Friars did start to string a little more pressure in the RedHawks' (0-1) end. A loose puck was eventually scooped up by Ryan Tait as he snuck a shot past Ryan Larkin to put PC up 1-0 with 7:57 gone by.

A Miami penalty put Providence into a position to extend its lead, but three big Larkin saves kept it a one-shot game. MU got a power play shortly after its own minor expired, but the RedHawks were held off the board.

Despite not connecting on that power play, the Red and White started pressing matters offensively and extended zone time by the line of Casey Gilling, Conor Lemirande and Karch Bachman caused havoc and eventually drew a Friars' minor with 4:43 left in the opening frame. With the man advantage, a trio of freshmen provided a spark as Austin Alger fired a loose puck from the slot past Hayden Hawkey just as the penalty expired with Phil Knies and Gilling each drawing assists for their first career points. More importantly, the tally evened the score at 1-1 with 2:43 to go, a score that remained intact at the break with MU holding an 11-10 edge in shots.

The RedHawks continued to pour on pressure at the start of the second period and eventually went on their fourth power play of the night nearly five minutes into the middle stanza. While Miami put together some strong scoring opportunities, Hawkey kept the puck out and a minor penalty late in the man advantage put MU on the penalty kill.

PC managed to control the puck for long stretches of time in the MU end, but the Red and White managed to eventually get a couple big clears and kill off the man advantage.

A penalty laden period continued with Miami getting a brief power play before a slash negated that and sent the teams to four aside before an equally brief Providence man advantage. With the Miami penalty expiring, Gordie Green scooped up a loose puck and skated up ice for a breakaway. His shot got past Hawkey, but rang off the crossbar to keep the score tied. The Friars finally put together a strong scoring chance off a RedHawk turnoverled to a close range breakaway that Larkin made a big stop on to it a 1-1 hockey game.

With time winding down in the frame of an evenly matched contest, Providence forced a neutral zone turnover that sprung Greg Printz for a breakaway goal with 1:06 left in the period to put MU on the wrong end of a 2-1 score after 40 minutes.

The Friars extended their lead to 3-1 just 50 seconds into the third period as Josh Wilkins corralled a loose puck after a poke check in the neutral zone, stepped across the blue line and fired a shot top corner to put the RedHawks down two. It appeared Miami answered that just 23 seconds later when Kiefer Sherwood drove the net and put the puck in with a delayed penalty in progress, but the officials waved the tally off with 1:13 gone by in the final period.

Nevertheless, Miami did go on its sixth power play of the evening, but Providence held the man advantage at bay again to maintain the two-shot lead. The Red and White went on another power play shortly thereafter and created a good scoring chance for Green down low, but the Friars managed to clear before he pulled the trigger and kill off the man advantage.

The RedHawks ultimately finished the third period with a 14-6 shot advantage and generated several good opportunities. Shortly after the sixth power play ended, Knies got free down the left side for a shot from the circle that Hawkey turned aside. With under five minutes left, Green caused havoc on the forecheck and chipped a loose puck in the slot just a hair wide of the left post. While MU got a couple more power plays on the evening, it ultimately could not draw any closer despite the consistent pressure in the PC zone.

Miami's third-period possession put the final shot count 32-30 in its favor. Neither team converted on the power play with MU going 0-for-9 with the man advantage while PC went 0-for-3. Larkin stopped 27 shots in goal for the RedHawks while Hawkey finished with 31 stops for the Friars.

These teams wrap up their weekend series on Saturday night with puck drop coming at 8 p.m.