OXFORD, Ohio — The Miami RedHawks and St. Cloud State Huskies concluded their two-game opening season set Saturday night at Steve Cady Arena. After prevailing in overtime last night, the No. 4 ranked Miami RedHawks picked up where they left off, scoring two third period goals to defeat the No. 13 ranked St. Cloud State Huskies 2-0.
Both teams got off to a slow start in the first period, with Miami attempting only eight shots on net to St. Cloud’s four
Chances in the first period were few and far between, with the first shot being registered by Miami nearly five minutes into the contest. Huskies’ freshman netminder Mike Lee made five key saves on a RedHawks’ power play late in the first period to keep the game scoreless. A defensive first period saw nine penalties between the two teams, but no goals, as the game headed into the second period scoreless.
The second period brought more shots, but no goals still as goaltenders Mike Lee and Connor Knapp stood strong throughout the period, both fending off eight shots apiece. Both the RedHawks and Huskies were unable to produce on the power play, each managing four shots. Both coaches had called the power play crucial to their team’s successes throughout the season.
St. Cloud State started the third period strong on the power play after a Miami penalty for kneeing was given to senior winger Jarod Palmer at 19:45 of the second period. The Huskies pounded Miami netminder Knapp with four quick shots in the first two minutes, but none found the back of the net.
After a St. Cloud penalty 3:41 into the third period, Miami finally put a puck past Huskies’ goaltender Mike Lee, giving them their second power-play goal in two games against SCSU. After passes from Andy Miele and Riley Smith found him in front of the net, Palmer turned around and flicked a shot past Lee, who let in his first goal as a collegiate goalie.
Miami continued to pressure and less than a minute after the first goal, the RedHawks added a second when freshman Devin Mantha scored his first goal for Miami. Palmer assisted on the goal, finding sophomore defenseman Will Weber at the blue line, who passed it to a wide-open Mantha, who put the puck past Lee for the second goal of the night.
St. Cloud State produced good scoring chances in the third period, but Knapp stood strong and earned his first shutout of the season, saving 20 Huskies’ shots.
One of Miami’s strengths is being able to kill off the penalty, which they did all weekend. They did not allow a single Huskies’ goal to be scored on the power play.
“It has always been one of our stronger points, being able to kill off the power play,” said Miami coach Enrico Blasi. “Hopefully it will continue to be like that throughout the year. We blocked a lot of shots and our boys played well on the kill tonight. When they broke down, we had Connor back there. It’s exactly how you draw it up.”
St. Cloud State coach Bob Motzko, who served as an assistant coach at Miami from 1991-1993, was pleased with his team’s effort, but wanted a little more production from the power play.
“I thought we deserved better results than what happened this weekend because we played extremely hard and well,” said Motzko. “I thought it was two great games; we just lost the special teams’ game. Our power play did not score a goal all weekend, and they got one each night. In a tight game like this, that is the difference.”
Miami heads to New Hampshire next weekend before their first CCHA games against Michigan State October 23 -24. St. Cloud State plays host to Union College next weekend.