GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Sean Kuraly’s goal with 29.5 seconds remaining in the third brought the Miami hockey team within a goal, but North Dakota held off a late charge to defeat the RedHawks 3-2 on Friday night.
Miami falls to 10-14-3 (4-12-1-1 National Collegiate Hockey) with the setback.
An early UND (15-9-3, 10-7 NCHC) shift saw back-to-back shots fired on Jay Williams, but the sophomore tracked both attempts down and kept the contest scoreless. The RedHawks’ best opportunity in the opening moments came roughly three minutes in when Alex Wideman intercepted a pass in his own end and brought the puck up the left side. His shot from the left faceoff circle was stopped by Clarke Saunders, but a long rebound came off his shoulder on the opposite side. Miami, however, was in the middle of a line change and could not catch up to the loose puck.
A Miami turnover lead to a dangerous opportunity in the slot for Luke Johnson, but he sent it wide midway through the period. UND did get on the board at 12:38 when a turnover behind the MU net caught Williams out of the crease. The puck was worked to Michael Parks, who scored on the open net to put the Red and White down 1-0.
MU found itself shorthanded immediately after the goal. After a clear, Austin Czarnik picked UND goalie Clarke Saunders’ pocket and brought the puck in front for a crack at an open net, but Saunders recovered to make the save. During the second half of the North Dakota power play, Mark MacMillan scored on a rush from the left dot to make it a 2-0 contest at 14:09. The RedHawks switched goalies from there and put Ryan McKay in net for the remainder of the contest.
The Red and White were outshot 10-7 in the opening 20 minutes of play, but McKay made a big stop in the waning seconds of the period as Rocco Grimaldi moved behind the MU defense and crashed the net. McKay stood his ground to keep Miami within two shots at the first intermission.
Miami took the first four shots on goal on its first two shifts of the second period, including consecutive attempts by Anthony Louis with traffic in front. None of the attempts found the back of the net as Saunders steered each try aside. UND’s shot came on a redirected centering feed where the puck was tipped right in front of McKay. The sophomore stood his ground and made a quality pad save to keep the score at 2-0.
North Dakota extended its lead to 3-0 at the 6:04 mark. McKay made a nice stop on a Drake Caggiula breakaway, but Mark MacMillan crashed the net and put in the rebound.
A slew of penalties ended up favoring Miami, giving the Red and White an extended chance with a 4-on-3 power play. Saunders proved tough to beat, however, making saves on a Riley Barber one-timer, an Austin Czarnik chance from the slot and two Anthony Louis shots from in close. With the power play turning to a 5-on-4 advantage, Cody Murphy finished a pretty passing display at 9:25 as Alex Wideman fired the puck to Max Cook in the corner, who then fed Murphy for his fourth goal of the season. His tally cut the deficit to 3-1 just before the midway point of the game.
The Red and White went short-handed 30 seconds later, but managed to kill off the opportunity with McKay turning away two shots. UND pinned MU in its defensive zone immediately after the power play expired and forced Miami to take another penalty. The RedHawks special teams came up big once again and the score remained at 3-1 after two periods of play.
North Dakota went on its fifth power play of the night just 1:56 into the third period, but Miami held tall and allowed a single shot on goal in its fourth-straight successful kill. The RedHawks were once again forced to kill a penalty with 13:30 left, but a UND penalty 15 seconds into the shorthanded situation brought the teams to 4-on-4 hockey for 1:45, but only one shot was taken by either team.
With about eight minutes remaining in regulation, Anthony Louis fed the puck to Ben Paulides as he moved in from the right point for a one-timer. His blast beat Saunders, but rang off the posts to keep MU down two.
Miami nearly drew closer with under four minutes remaining as Sean Kuraly held the play in at the offensive blue line and moved in on goal. He dropped a backdoor feed to Barber, but a UND defender tied up his stick before he could send it in.
With time winding down, the RedHawks drew closer as Kuraly finished a feed after Justin Greenberg swung Austin Czarnik’s pass to Kuraly at the top of the crease with 29.5 seconds remaining, cutting the deficit to 3-2.
The RedHawks won the ensuing faceoff and sent the puck into the UND zone, but an errant whistle disrupted the opportunity to get set up and ate valuable time off the clock. MU eventually gained entry into the zone, but was unable to get the puck into a shooting position as UND held off the Miami charge.
The RedHawks ended up with a 33-30 advantage in shots on goal, including an 11-4 edge in the third period. Miami finished 1-for-3 on the power play while went 1-for-6 with the man advantage.
McKay posted a strong relief outing for MU, stopping 21 of 22 UND shots in 43:55. Williams made six saves on eight shots in the first 14:09. UND’s Saunders turned aside 31 of the RedHawks’ 33 shots.
Miami and North Dakota wrap up this weekend’s series on Saturday night. Opening faceoff is at 8:07 p.m. ET.