OXFORD, Ohio — Six days after knocking off then top-ranked Denver at Amsoil Arena in Duluth, sixth-ranked Minnesota Duluth was the team getting upset 3-1 by the unranked Miami RedHawks at Goggin Ice Center in Oxford, Ohio.
Miami senior goaltender Ryan Larkin made 35 saves and sophomore defenseman Derek Daschke scored the game-winner for the RedHawks with 3:58 left in regulation.
Sophomore wing Tanner Laderoute had the Bulldogs’ lone goal off a centering feed by junior defenseman Scott Perunovich on the power play.
Below are Friday’s thumbs up, thumbs down and three stars from News Tribune college hockey reporter Matt Wellens
Thumbs up to the Bulldogs’ blue liners stepping up in Samberg’s absence
If someone just looked at the scoresheet from Friday’s 3-1 loss to Miami and saw junior defenseman Dylan Samberg was absent, I wouldn’t blame the person if they chalked the loss up to a depleted Bulldogs blue line.
Since sophomore Hunter Lellig was lost for the foreseeable future with a leg injury, the Bulldogs have played just 4-5 defensemen a night. Take away Samberg — who didn’t make the trip due to injury — and the UMD is left with four.
But that wasn’t the case at all Friday. Not one bit.
“I thought the D did a hell of a job today,” UMD senior defenseman and co-captain Nick Wolff said. “We had good structure in the defensive zone. We came up with the rush. We had to simplify our game a little bit more, we played more ice time.
“I think our D are stepping up and have to fill a big role.”
Senior Jarod Hilderman and sophomore Jake Rosenbaum did much more than suit up and step on the ice once or twice each, like they had previously in games this season. On Friday, they rotated in and out with Wolff and Perunovich — who took their normal shifts together in addition to shifts with 12 and 27. Meanwhile, we saw juniors Louie Roehl and Matt Anderson step up their game — and ice time — with Anderson having his best game of the season by far after an up-and-down start.
The Bulldogs blue liners were the least of UMD’s problem Friday. It was a great step in the right direction for that battered and bruised group.
“They did fine, they did fine,” UMD coach Scott Sandelin said of the defensemen. “I thought they did a good job. We got minutes out of those guys, Rosenbaum and Hilderman. All the other guys were fine.”
Thumbs down to the Bulldogs 'making it easy' for Miami
Sandelin said during the week that Miami “Scares me a little bit.”
That probably made a few of you chuckle considering the RedHawks had just two wins this season and one win in its previous 18 games against UMD.
Larkin was indeed scary good on Friday, making saves we hadn’t seen out of the goaltender since he was a freshmen. Miami senior wing Karch Bachman, a Florida Panthers prospect, made a scary move to score his shorthanded goal in the second as well to put the Bulldogs down 1-0.
But the real scary thing about Friday was how this Bulldogs team approached this game, just six days after beating No. 1-ranked Denver to take four of six points in the NCHC-opening series.
Now they’re fighting just to get three from Miami going into Saturday’s series finale.
“We didn’t make it hard on them. We turned the puck over and we retreat. There was no puck pressure on guys,” Sandelin said. “We weren’t a hard team to play against. We made it easy for them and the bottom line is the result.”
Matt’s Three Stars
3. MU senior wing Karch Bachman: The Panthers’ prospect scored shorthanded in the second to put Miami on top 1-0.
2. MU sophomore defenseman Derek Daschke: A heads-up play by Daschke allowed him to score the game-winner with under four minutes to play.
1. MU senior goaltender Ryan Larkin: The cousin of future Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin lived up to his family name stopping 35 of the 36 shots he faced, including eight of nine on the penalty kill.