Miami Hockey Heads to Minnesota Duluth

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Feb. 13, 2018

Game Notes (PDF)

Live Stats
NCHC.tv:  Friday | Saturday
Live Audio: Friday | Saturday

Games 29-30
Friday, Feb. 16 • 8:07 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 17 • 8:07 p.m.
AMSOIL Arena (6,756) • Duluth, Minn.

Miami RedHawks (10-15-3, 5-11-2-0 NCHC) at No. 11/12 Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs (14-13-3, 8-10-0-0 NCHC)
TV/Stream: NCHC/tv
Radio: Miami IMG Network/Tune In Radio (Greg Waddell-pbp)

MATCHUP
The RedHawks head to Minnesota Duluth for a road series with the Bulldogs as they try to reverse their recent fortunes in AMSOIL Arena.
THE SERIES: Miami split its series against UMD back in November and the Bulldogs are 13-4-2 all-time against the RedHawks.

PUCK POINTS
• Miami is 9-5-2 when scoring three or more goals this season, but 1-10-1 when netting two goals or fewer.

• The RedHawks are 8-6 on Friday nights this season, but have won just twice (2-9-3) on Saturdays.

• Miami’s power play went 0-for-8 against St. Cloud State, marking the first time it had not scored a power play goal in two-straight games since going four games without scoring from Nov. 3-11.

• With 26 points (9g, 17a) in 28 games, Louie Belpedio is sixth nationally among defensemen with 0.93 points per game. His nine goals are also one shy of teammate Grant Hutton’s national defense lead.

Ryan Larkin has started 60 of the RedHawks’ 64 games in net since the start of last season.

Gordie Green has notched 44 points (19g, 25a) in his last 47 games dating back to last season.

LAST TIME OUT
Facing No. 3/4 St. Cloud State at the end of its four-game home stand, Miami dropped a pair of contests to the now first-place Huskies. MU fell behind 3-0 before Friday’s opener was 10 minutes old, but clawed back into the contest with second period goals from Gordie Green and Phil Knies to pull to within 3-2 following 40 minutes. However, SCSU added an insurance tally in the third and later withstood a five-minute major penalty, including a minute of 5-on-3 time to add an empty netter to pull out a 5-2 win. Miami started much stronger on Saturday and ultimately outshot St. Cloud State 30-21. Trailing 1-0 after two periods, MU eventually fell into a 2-0 hole and was unable to connect on a late power play as SCSU scored a pair of empty net goals to secure the weekend sweep.

COACH BLASI
Enrico Blasi (Miami ’94) is in his 19th season behind the RedHawk bench. He is a five-time CCHA Coach of the Year and was named National Coach of the Year in 2005-06. He stands 385-281-70 at his alma mater, where he has led Miami to 10 NCAA Tournaments, including two Frozen Four berths, a National Championship game appearance, a trio of CCHA regular-season titles and two conference tournament titles (2011 CCHA & 2015 NCHC). Blasi is the the winningest coach in school history.

ABOUT MINNESOTA DULUTH: The Bulldogs (14-13-3, 8-10-0-0 NCHC) were idle last weekend, but enter the weekend on a three-game losing streak while dropping four of their last five outings after getting swept at Denver two weeks ago. Prior to that skid, UMD was on a six-game unbeaten streak with conference sweeps over Colorado College and North Dakota. Freshman blue liner Scott Perunovich leads the Bulldog attack with 25 points (7g, 18a) while sophomore Riley Tufte’s 13 goals top the team. UMD’s middle of the pack offense (29th nationally at 2.93 goals per game) is aided by the nation’s 10th-best power play unit (23.2 percent) while they rank 16th in scoring defense (2.47) with Hunter Shepard (2.31 GAA/.915 SV%) getting the bulk of the action in the crease. Miami is looking to snap an eight-game winless streak (0-7-1) in AMSOIL Arena this weekend.

COMPARING THE GOOD AND BAD: A 4-3 win over defending national champion Denver on Jan. 5 had spirits high for Miami as it moved to 9-8-2 and cracked the top 15 of the PairWise, but it has struggled to get that momentum back since.

1st 19 Games Last 9 Games
Record 9-8-2 1-7-1
G/Gm 3.00 2.89
GA/Gm 2.79 4.78
PP% 26.8% 22.9%
PK% 83.7% 71.1%
Shot Diff./Gm +0.89 +0.33

SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER (the bad kind): One of Miami’s struggles this season has been an inability to finish its weekend series on a high note. While the RedHawks are a respectable 8-6 in Friday night series openers, the next night has been a different story as they are 2-9-3 on Saturdays this year. Miami’s last Saturday victory came on Nov. 18, when it posted a 3-2 victory over Minnesota Duluth. Since then, MU is 5-3 on Friday and 0-6-2 on Saturday.

RARE MISFIRES: Two weeks ago, Miami boasted the nation’s top power play unit and entered last weekend’s series against St. Cloud State having netted at least one goal with the man advantage in six-straight games. SCSU managed to hold MU to 0-for-8 on the power play and that marked the first time it went consecutive games without scoring a power play goal since going four-straight without a power play tally from Nov. 3-11.

TOUGH SLEDDING FROM HERE: Playing in the NCHC, high caliber competition is expected every weekend and the RedHawks’ final six games are no exception. Looking at the PairWise entering this week, Miami’s last four series come against teams above the NCAA Tournament cut line in Minnesota Duluth (No. 11), North Dakota (No. 12) and Denver (No. 2). To this point, 18 of Miami’s 28 games have come against teams that are listed 13th or higher in the PairWise and MU has gone 5-12-1 against those teams. In fact, the RedHawks’ only games against teams sitting lower than 24th in the PairWise was their Oct. 27-28 home series against UConn (No. 31).

HARD SINCE THE HOLIDAYS: While Miami sat in the middle of the pack in terms of goals allowed the first half of the season, the trends have not been where it would like since December. Through the first two months, MU was the toughest team to generate shots against in the country, but it has struggled to control the puck consistently since.
Oct.-Nov. Dec.-Present
Record 6-6-2 4-9-1
SOG/Game 29.21 (35th) 25.07 (56th)
SOG Allowed/Game 23.57 (1st) 29.29 (28th)
Net SOG/Game +5.64 (9th) -4.21 (45th)
Goals Against/Game 2.79 (t-26th) 4.07 (57th)

MELNICK’S CONSISTENCY: Junior forward Josh Melnick has been a consistent source of offense for the RedHawks this season. While he already ranks third on the team with 25 points (8g, 17a), what has been most notable this season is how he has avoided long scoring lulls. Melnick has not gone more than two games without recording a point this season, which has only happened three times and just twice since opening weekend.

BLUE LINE WITH A PUNCH: Miami has relied on its blue line to contribute offensively this season and they have come through to this point. The RedHawks’ defensemen have chipped in 21 goals this season, a total that’s tied for sixth most nationally. The RedHawks’ have also gotten 69 points and 2.48 points per game (14th nationally) from the blue line.

CAPTAIN’S CONTRIBUTIONS: Senior defenseman Louie Belpedio has been contributing at the offensive end of the ice on a consistent basis this season. After going scoreless in the opening series against Providence, the Skokie, Ill., native has recorded at least one point in 16 of 24 games and is second on the team with a career-high 26 points (9g, 17a). His 1.00 points per game is the second best total among all NCAA blue liners and his nine goals are one shy of Grant Hutton for the most in the country among defensemen.

HUTTON FOR GOALS: Grant Hutton has turned his breakout sophomore campaign into even bigger gains as a junior. After finishing with just five assists in his 2015-16 freshman season, he poured in a defense-leading nine goals and 18 points last season and leads the MU blue line 10 goals and is second with 20 points this season. Hutton has six multi-point games, eclipsing his 2016-17 total and his 10 goals are the most among NCAA defensemen. The junior is the first Miami blue liner since Dan Boyle (14 in 1997-98) to score at least 10 goals in a season.

GOING GREEN: Sophomore forward Gordie Green has kept his midseason improvement from last year going into this season. The Ann Arbor, Mich., native leads Miami with 28 points (12g, 16a), which surpasses his freshman total of 21 last year. The sophomore posted a five-game point streak that ran from Oct. 20 through Nov. 3, during which he recorded four multi-point games. In his last 47 games dating back to last season, Green has 44 points on 19 goals and 25 assists.

STARTS AT YOUR OWN END: Miami has been at its best when its played a stellar defensive game. When the RedHawks made eight-straight NCAA Tournament appearances from 2006-13, their worst rank in scoring defense was 17th as they finished in the top 10 in defense seven times with six top-five performances, including two seasons as the nation’s top defensive team. While joining the highly competitive NCHC has put the RedHawks up against more high-octane offenses, the fact remains that they have been at their best when keeping the puck out of their net consistently.
Season: Scoring Defense Rank (Figure; Record)
2005-06: 2nd (2.03; 26-9-4)
2006-07: 17th (2.55; 24-14-4)
2007-08: 1st (1.86; 33-8-1)
2008-09: 8th (2.17; 23-13-5)
2009-10: 1st (1.95; 29-8-7)
2010-11: 4th (2.18; 23-10-6)
2011-12: 3rd (2.10; 24-15-2)
2012-13: 2nd (1.74; 25-12-5)
2013-14: 41st (3.03; 15-20-3)
2014-15: 31st (2.50; 25-14-1)
2015-16: 29th (2.69; 15-18-3)
2016-17: t-41st (3.14; 9-20-7)
2017-18: 54th (3.43; 10-15-3)

THE LAST MEETING
No. 14/15 Minnesota Duluth2
Miami3
November 18, 2017
Oxford, Ohio
RedHawks Rally Past Bulldogs to Earn Split
OXFORD, Ohio -- After falling behind in the first period again, the Miami hockey team rallied to exorcise some demons against No. 14/15 Minnesota Duluth.