OXFORD, Ohio – In the first game of the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference, No. 6 North Dakota came into a sold out Steve Cady Arena and handed No. 1 Miami a 4-2 loss Friday night. Despite outshooting UND (2-0-1, 1-0-0 NCHC) by a 37-25 margin, the RedHawks’ (2-1-0, 0-1-0 NCHC) 23 penalty minutes proved to be pivotal as North Dakota used a late power play goal to put the game away.
Early on, Miami did not have an answer for North Dakota’s Brendan O’Donnell and Michael Parks, who combined to put their team ahead 3-0 within the first 20:14 of the game. Parks opened the scoring with his first goal of the season at 7:55 of the first period on an assist from O’Donnell. Parks returned the favor just over 10 minutes later when he fed a pass to O’Donnell who sent a shot past Miami sophomore goaltender Jay Williams with 1:57 left to play in the opening period. Just 14 seconds into the second period, Parks again found O’Donnell for the 3-0 North Dakota lead.
The RedHawks battled back later in the second period when sophomore center Sean Kuraly took a pass in front of the crease from his classmate, defenseman Taylor Richart and muscled it past UND goalie Zane Gothberg to cut the deficit to 3-1 with his second goal of the season at 8:25 of the second. Junior forward Alex Wideman earned the second assist on the play.
With less than two minutes left in the second frame, freshman forward Anthony Louis took a pass from sophomore defenseman Matthew Caito deep in the offensive zone and looked for an open teammate. When he couldn’t find a linemate in front of the goal, he took the shot himself, surprising Gothberg with the second goal of his career and pulling Miami to within one of North Dakota at 18:18 of the second period.
The RedHawks continued to pour on the offensive pressure early in the third period, putting four shots on goal in the first four minutes, but were unable to sustain the pressure after junior forward Blake Coleman went hard after a puck the defensive corner to Williams’ right and checked a North Dakota player near the boards. The play resulted in a five-minute major and game misconduct penalty for Coleman. Miami killed off the major penalty, but for 4:10 they played with a one-man disadvantage, preventing a sustained offensive attack. The UND power play ended early when Luke Johnson took a penalty for elbowing 50 seconds before Miami returned to full strength.
As the RedHawks tried to put together sustained pressure in the offensive end, sophomore defenseman Michael Mooney and UND’s Rocco Grimaldi got tangled up pursuing a loose puck, resulting in a tripping penalty to Mooney.
On the power play, North Dakota deflated the Miami momentum with a long shot off the stick of Nick Mattson that found its way through traffic and lit the lamp for the 4-2 lead at 12:45 of the third period.
The RedHawks finished 0-for-3 on the power play with five shots on goal with the extra attacker. They were 3-for-4 on the penalty kill and totaled 23 penalty minutes. Williams made 21 saves to fall to 1-1 on the season while his opposite number, Gothberg made 35 saves to move to 2-0-1.
Miami and North Dakota will face-off again on Saturday at 8 p.m. in the series finale at Steve Cady Arena as the RedHawks look for their first win in the new league. Live stats will be available here and live streaming video will be here (subscription required).