OXFORD, Ohio – Ryan Larkin stopped 33 shots and four different Miami hockey players recorded multiple points in a 5-0 victory over Maine on Saturday night.
Saturday’s big win extends Miami’s (2-1-2) unbeaten streak to four games as it claims a series win for the weekend.
The RedHawks fired three shots on goal in a meat and potatoes shift by the line of Conor Lemirande, Carter Johnson and Alex Alger as the first two used their size to get to the front of the net and cause havoc. Rob McGovern, fresh off a busy night on Friday, was able to make each stop to keep it scoreless in the early going.
Miami drew the game’s first penalty 10:09 into the contest, giving its power play a chance to go to work. Chances were tough to come by as the Black Bears (3-2-1) were aggressive up ice to challenge RedHawk zone entries. Ultimately, MU only fired one shot on goal, which McGovern stopped to keep it scoreless.
At the 12:59 mark, the Black Bears went on their first power play of the evening, though the RedHawks were able to kill off their 24th straight penalty to leave it scoreless. With the rest of the period being played at even strength, Miami found the net with 2:42 to go as Carson Meyer and Jared Brandt played a two-man game in transition, with Meyer feeding Brandt in the slot for a shot which was blockered aside McGovern before Meyer roofed a shot from a sharp angle. Maine challenged the play and upon replay, officials determined Miami entered the offensive zone offside and waved the goal off. With that tally off the board, the contest remained scoreless after 20 minutes with Miami owning a 12-9 edge in shots.
One night after putting a ton of pressure on the Maine net, Miami’s offense broke out with a big second period. Anthony Louis tallied his third goal of the weekend 3:42 into the middle stanza as Alex Alger started a transition rush for he and Josh Melnick, who played a two-man game with the puck eventually ending up on the senior’s stick in the slot for a wrist shot that popped in and out to make it a 1-0 game. The Red and White weren’t done there as after drawing a penalty shortly thereafter, Louie Belpedio wristed home a point shot to make it two goals in a 25-second span on assists from Louis and Meyer. Belpedio struck again on another power play at the 9:18 mark as Sherwood fed him in the middle and he walked in with another well placed wrister to give MU a 3-0 lead after 40 minutes of play with Kiefer Sherwood and Meyer drawing assists.
“The power play really jump started us in the second period,” head coach Enrico Blasi said. “Once we got the third goal, our boys really fed off each other from shift to shift.”
Penalties and subsequent chances came early and often in the third period as both sides took half of their game total of minors in the final 20 minutes of play, combining for nine penalties. The ice opened up with some 4-on-4 play early in the period and that created some space for the speedy RedHawks. Meyer fed Sherwood behind the defense, who was joined by Scott Dornbrock for a 2-on-0. Sherwood fed a tape-to-tape pass to Dornbrock for his second goal of the season to make it a 4-0 game with 13:19 left. Sherwood then got into the scoring himself on another transition chance, with Karch Bachman feeding him on his off wing during a 2-on-1 where he wired a shot home to bulk the lead to five.
With more than enough offense to secure a series win, that left 10:46 left to maintain Larkin’s clean sheet. The freshman goaltender faced a couple of strong bids by the Black Bears, turning aside a Nolan Vesey breakaway midway through the frame. Maine went on three power plays and fired 12 shots in the final regulation period. With under a minute to go in the game, the Black Bears created one more golden chance as Patrick Holway was the recipient of a pass on a 3-on-1 rush turned breakaway and Larkin made one more pad stop to secure the shutout.
Miami outshot Maine 40-33 overall, its second-straight game with at least 40 shots on goal. While Larkin was a perfect 33-for-33, McGovern stopped 28 of 32 shots before being lifted for Stephen Mundinger, who made seven saves on eight shots in the final 13:19. Four Miami skaters recorded multiple points with Meyer (three assists) and Sherwood (one goal, two assists) notching three and Belpedio (two goals) and Louis (one goal, one assist) chipping in two apiece.
The RedHawks wrap up their five-game home stand next weekend with a home series against in-state rival Bowling Green. Friday’s opener begins at 7:35 p.m. and is televised on Fox College Sports and Time Warner Cable.