Melnick's Overtime Tally Caps Dramatic RedHawk Comeback

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Nov. 3, 2017

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OXFORD, Ohio -- Trailing 2-1 late, the Miami hockey team scored in the final minute and struck again in overtime to top Colorado College 3-2 in its National Collegiate Hockey Conference opener on Saturday.

The victory is the RedHawks' (4-3, 1-0 NCHC) third in a row.

Both teams traded chances in the first minute as the Tigers (5-4, 1-2 NCHC) hit a post while Zach LaValle was fed in close, but got stopped by Alex Leclerc. Miami was whistled for a penalty with 1:44 gone by, putting CC on an early power play. The RedHawks were able to kill off that man advantage to keep the game scoreless in the early going.

The Red and White created another good scoring opportunity with active sticks in the neutral zone causing a turnover. Karch Bachman fed the wing and got fed in close, but Leclerc's pad got the deflection and he covered it up. CC had a bid for its first goal off a neutral zone turnover as well with Westin Michaud getting fed in transition, but Ryan Larkin calmly snagged his shot from the slot to keep it 0-0.

MU went on its first power play of the night with 8:30 gone by and created several good looks, but Leclerc kept Miami off the board as the contest remained scoreless into the late stages of the frame. The RedHawks got one more power play late in the frame, but nothing went on the board as the teams remained scoreless at the break.

After CC killed off the remaining 30 seconds of MU's carryover power play to start the second, it got a man advantage of its own 2:36 into the middle stanza. The Red and White were once again able to hold the Tigers at bay and keep it a 0-0 contest. That all changed with 12:34 left in the period as Louie Belpedio took the puck away from a Tiger player in the defensive zone and lugged the puck up ice, weaving through traffic and into the zone before using a defenseman as a screen for a wrist shot just inside the blue line that went off the crossbar and in for his fourth goal of the year.

The Tigers went on one more power play midway through the second and the RedHawks once again kept them off the board. Immediately after getting out of the penalty box, Bachman was sprung on a partial breakaway, but Leclerc got a shoulder on the attempt and kept it a one-shot contest. CC later created a flurry of chances in close to Larkin, but the sophomore goaltender was able to stick with the puck and keep MU in front after 40 minutes.

A couple early penalties in the third allowed Colorado College to get set up offensively. MU was under siege when it took a penalty 1:42 into the period, but weathered the storm thanks in no small part to Larkin's goaltending as a successful kill included a sliding kick stop on a backdoor one-timer by Nick Halloran.

The RedHawks were unable to escape their next penalty as Trevor Gooch redirected a point shot past Larkin and in to even the score at 1-1 with 6:09 gone by in the frame.

CC fired the first seven shots on goal of the frame to draw even on the scoreboard. Matching minor penalties opened the ice for 4-on-4 play with 10:05 left in regulation and MU got a good surge going as a cycle in the zone eventually opened up Belpedio for a one-timer that whistled by Leclerc, but rang off the post. Belpedio got another good look later in the shift, but Leclerc stopped the Miami captain's shot from the slot.

The Tigers added another power play goal as Christiano Versich went to the net and scored on a backhand to put them ahead 2-1 with 4:40 to go.

With time winding down, Miami pulled Larkin for an extra attacker and with under a minute left, Gordie Green held the zone on a clearing attempt and found Casey Gilling in a soft spot inside the left circle, where his one-timer tied the score at 2-2 and sent the game into overtime. The goal was reviewed to determine if the play was offside, but the call stood as MU played past 60 minutes for the first time this season.

After withstanding a bit of a surge by the Tigers at the beginning of the frame, the RedHawks settled down in the overtime period. Midway through the extra five minutes, Ben Lown forced a turnover in the neutral zone and moved ahead up ice, where Josh Melnick charged up the middle and was fed. The junior redirected the centering feed from atop the crease and put away his third career overtime goal to put MU over .500 for the first time this season.

After allowing the first seven shots on goal of the third period, the RedHawks outshot the Tigers 12-3 the rest of the way, though CC did finish with a 30-29 shot advantage. Colorado College went 2-for-6 on the power play while Miami went 0-for-2 with the man advantage. Larkin made 28 saves on 30 shots to pick up his third-straight victory while Leclerc stopped 26 of 29 shots at the other end.

These teams wrap up their weekend series on Saturday. Puck drop is at 7:05 p.m.