OXFORD, Ohio – One night after falling to North Dakota in the NCHC opener, top-ranked Miami bounced back with an effort worthy of its No. 1 ranking.
The league’s preseason favorites blitzed sixth-ranked UND with three goals in a span of 2:11 early in the second period, turning a closely-played 2-0 game into a 5-0 lead in an eventual 6-2 Miami victory.
Junior forward Blake Coleman led the RedHawks’ barrage with a hat trick, the last two coming 14 seconds apart in that pivotal second-period stretch. Riley Barber ignited the flurry with his fifth goal of the season just 3:40 into the middle frame. Coleman potted his second goal two minutes later to make it 4-0 and chase UND starter Zane Gothberg to the bench. Coleman than completed the hat trick 14 seconds later when he beat senior Clarke Saunders from a difficult angle, roofing a backhander from along the goal line.
The early five-minute stretch turned a game that had been relatively even through the first 20 minutes. The RedHawks had taken a 2-0 lead into the first intermission, although UND had held a 17-9 edge in shots on goal and generated several scoring chances while carrying much of the territorial play.
“We had real good energy for the first 30 minutes of the game,” said UND head coach Dave Hakstol. “We played with a lot of jump but I think it’s the details in a couple dirty areas that cost us a game tonight.”
UND wasn’t able to beat Miami starter Ryan McKay until the 16:09 mark of the second period, when Stephane Pattyn won an offensive zone draw to Colten St. Clair, and St. Clair found the net with his backhander from the slot.
The two teams traded goals in the third period, UND’s coming on a point shot through traffic by freshman defenseman Gage Aumsus. It was the first collegiate goal for the East Grand Forks, Minn., native.
“We got away from our game a little bit,” said sophomore forward Colten St. Clair. “The little things, that’s really what the game boils down to. It’s little things that we can fix, and we’re going to fix them right away.”
Junior center Stephane Pattyn agreed with his linemate’s assessment of the game.
“We didn’t take care of the small details -- getting pucks deep and forechecking and finishing checks,” said Pattyn. “It was our play that gave them all six goals. It snowballed. It’s going to be a good learning game.”
Despite the loss, UND was able to leave Oxford with a conference split against the nation’s top-ranked team. Hakstol, however, remained unsatisfied.
“We wanted both (wins),” said Hakstol. “The old adage of ‘a split on the road is pretty good’ doesn’t sit well with me. It doesn’t sit well with us. We had a chance to come in here and win two games. I didn’t think we did everything in our power to accomplish that tonight. I think we left something on the table tonight.”
A bright spot for UND once again was the work of the penalty killing unit, which went a perfect 4-for-4 on the night and 7-for-7 on the weekend. UND has now killed 23 consecutive opponent power plays.
McKay finished with 34 saves to earn his second win of the season. Gothberg was tagged with the loss after yielding four goals on 15 shots. Saunders stopped 23 of 25 shots in relief.
UND will host the U.S. Under-18 Team next Saturday in an exhibition game before returning to NCHC action Nov. 1-2 at home against St. Cloud State.