Miami played a swarming, fearless defense at Schneider Arena Saturday night, beating Providence 2-1 while featuring 10 freshmen whom coach Enrico Blasi said “were not afraid to make mistakes.”
With sophomore Kiefer Sherwood’s goal at 11:35 of the third period, the RedHawks avenged a one-goal loss to the same Friars on Friday night and left Rhode Island “feeling good about themselves.”
There are actually 14 freshmen on the Miami roster (and six sophomores) and the 10 in the lineup Saturday benefited from the close loss Friday night.
“They were not tentative and they played hard and on their toes,” Blasi said. “We came out more determined tonight; we played with more intensity. We got a lot better tonight and this season will be a learning process.”
Jared Brandt, a freshman from St. Peters, Missouri, said his classmates all met in Ohio for six weeks during the summer and they all got to know each other as they prepared physically for the season ahead.
“We worked out together, but we really didn’t skate very much. I had never played with any of these guys before and it was very useful getting to know them.”
“Winning a game like this one shows these kids the rewards we talk about when we coach them,” Blasi said. “It is now easier to get them to buy into what we are trying to teach. If we had lost tonight, you might have found them thinking that what we were saying wasn’t really the way to play winning hockey. We now have believers.”
As for Providence, coach Nate Lehman saw the game from a different perspective and said his team was simply “outworked tonight; give Miami credit.”
Providence also has a lot of new players, with seven freshman dressing for the game Saturday night.
“We have a lot of guys in new roles too,” he said, “but they struggled with it tonight.”
Statistically, Providence should expect a lot of scoring from the point, specifically from junior All-American Jake Walkman. He had a few open shots Saturday night, but Miami goalie Ryan Larkin (another of those freshman) got in the way of them all. As a matter of fact, Miami was blocking Providence shots all night long.
“We were just losing all the battles down low and that is why we weren’t getting the puck back to the points,” Lehman said. “We were just outplayed.”
Penalties again disrupted the flow of Saturday night’s game, as referees and players alike struggled with adapting new guidelines for this year. Miami spent 25 minutes in the penalty box over the first two periods and Providence only served 12. In the final period, however, Providence caught up in the infraction department and it was a five-on-three advantage that resulted in Sherwood’s winning goal, a bullet from the top of the left circle.
“I told our guys in our meeting this morning that we had to avoid penalties,” Lehman said. “It was the first thing we discussed. Sticks have to stay down and feet have to keep moving. We have to develop a better power play and do you realize all five of the goals that Miami scored this weekend were on the power play?”
Hockey East results
Alabama-Huntsville 0, at Connecticut 4
Rob Nichols recorded his second consecutive shutout as Connecticut beat Alabama-Huntsville, 4-0. Spencer Naas had two goals for the Huskies.
Boston University 6, at Colgate 1
Patrick Harper scored two goals and mates Bobo Carpenter and Brandon Hickey added two assists each as Boston University flew past Colgate 6-1.
Rensselaer 2, at Maine 4
Maine scored three third-period goals to overcome Rensselaer 4-2. Blainer Byron, Daniel Perez, Mitchell Foster, and Chase Pearson (an empty netter) scored for the Black Bears.
Arizona State 2, at Notre Dame 4
Anders Bjerknes scored twice and Dylan Malmquist had a goal and two assists as Notre Dame avoided an upset at the hands of Arizona State Saturday night, 4-2.
Northeastern 2, at Quinnipiac 5
Second-ranked Quinnipiac beat No. 15 Northeastern 5-2 Saturday night. Tim Clifton had two goals for the winners.
Colorado College 7, at Massachusetts 4
Colorado College completed a split weekend series with Massachusetts Saturday night, winning 7-4. Branden Makara had two goals for the visitors.
Minnesota-Duluth 1, at Massachusetts-Lowell 1
Minnesota-Duluth and Lowell tied for the second time this weekend Saturday night, 1-1. Connor Wilson scored in the first period for Lowell and Neal Plong waited until 3:54 remained in the third for the tie.
Bentley 5, at New Hampshire 1
Bentley easily beat New Hampshire Saturday night, 5-1. Max French had three assists for the victors.
Clarkson 3, at Vermont 2
Clarkson broke a 2-2 tie at 6:08 of the third period to even a weekend series with Vermont. Ben Dalpe’s short-handed goal was the winner at 6:08 of the third period.
Boston College at Denver
David Cotton scored a game-winning goal for the Eagles at 14:05 of the second period and freshman goalie Joe Woll made 40 saves to give the visiting Eagles a 3-1 win over Denver in the consolation game of the Icebreaker Tournament.