OMAHA, Neb. – A difficult second period was too much for the No. 8 Miami hockey team to overcome in Friday night’s 6-3 loss at Omaha.
The loss is MU’s second straight and drops it to 7-5-1 overall and 2-3 the National Collegiate Hockey Conference. UNO is now 7-6 and 4-1 in NCHC play.
An interference penalty by UNO at 2:37 of the first gave the RedHawks an early power play opportunity, one that it looked dangerous on. MU officially only had one shot on goal in a scoreless two minutes, but moved the puck well and created strong chances that were not on goal. Austin Czarnik in particular had the puck sent to him on his off wing with an opening, but his shot just missed the net.
The Mavericks’ disrupted the RedHawks in their own end and drew a penalty with 10:20 remaining in the opening frame. MU held UNO to only one shot attempt to kill off the man advantage past the midway point of the first.
A hard hit from behind of Blake Coleman sent the Red and White to their second power play with 7:19 remaining in the opening frame. After the first opportunity showed promise, the second got results. Bryon Paulazzo, playing his first game since Nov. 1, pounced on a loose puck after Riley Barber’s shot through traffic landed at the top of the crease. The senior reached while falling forward and swung the puck into the net for his second of the year. Barber and Czarnik each assisted on the goal that made it 1-0.
Each team got one more power play opportunity following the goal, but neither side cashed in. The RedHawks skated to intermission with a 1-0 lead after outshooting the Mavericks 8-6 in the opening 20 minutes of play.
The Mavericks turned the game around in the second period, scoring five times. UNO scored twice in the first 2:08. Dominic Zombo tied the game 22 seconds into the period after the Mavericks killed off a carryover RedHawk on a 2-on-1 chance. Less than two minutes later, the Mavericks took their first lead of the night when Johnnie Searfoss scored after Zahn Raubenheimer fed a pass across the middle down. Searfoss one-timed the shot in to put UNO up 2-1 with 17:52 left in the second period.
UNO opened up a two-goal lead at the 7:21 mark with another transition goal. Austin Ortega got the puck on a back-door feed from Jake Guentzel off a 3-on-2. That tally put the RedHawks down by two goals for the first time since Oct. 26 at Providence.
The RedHawks got a power play opportunity with 11:19 left in the second, but were unable to get a goal on their two shot attempts (one on net). MU had another opportunity shorthanded when Czarnik got free behind the defense and got pulled down for a penalty shot, but Ryan Massa made the stop.
The Mavericks weren’t done yet, getting goals from Brock Montpetit at the 14:10 mark and another tally from Ortega with 2:25 left in the period to go up 5-1 on the strength of five unanswered goals.
Just as it appeared the game was getting out of reach for Miami, the team responded in the final minute of the period. Sean Kuraly netted his third of the year on the power play off an assist from Barber with 24 seconds left in the period to cut the deficit to 5-2. The RedHawks pulled even closer 19 seconds later when Kevin Morris jammed in a loose puck with 4.3 seconds remaining in the period. Despite the five-unanswered goals by Omaha, Miami entered the locker room for intermission still in the game down 5-3.
The Red and White got a golden opportunity to pull within a goal right away as the Mavericks took a penalty 21 seconds into the frame. MU attempted three shots, two of which were on goal, but Massa stood tall to keep it a two-score game. Shortly after the power play ended, the RedHawks had to kill a penalty at the 3:44 mark. The RedHawks generated some chances as Czarnik got a clean breakaway. Like the penalty shot, Massa was again able to stand his ground and keep the score 5-3.
UNO put the contest away when Josh Archibald scored a power play goal with 8:46 left, making it a 6-3 game to cap the goal scoring.
The Mavericks outshot the RedHawks 37-32 overall and went 1-for-5 on the power play. Miami went 2-for-7 with the man advantage in its own right.
Jay Williams started in goal for MU, his first since Nov. 2. He stopped six of eight shots in 22:07 on the ice. Ryan McKay played the final 37:53 and stopped 25 of 29 shots. UNO’s Ryan Massa stopped 29 of MU’s 32 shots.
The RedHawks and Mavericks finish out the weekend series on Saturday, opening faceoff is at 9:07 p.m. ET.