Michigan hockey team drops third straight game and into third place after being shut out, 3-0 at Miami
OXFORD, Ohio - Less than 24 hours after Michigan hockey coach Red Berenson said his team committed too many penalties to win, the Wolverines fell into a similar trap on Saturday night.
The Wolverines committed seven penalties, including two back-to-back in the second period when Miami made the most of a 5-on-3 advantage with its third goal in a 3-0 victory over No. 8-ranked Michigan.
With their third straight loss, the Wolverines (17-9-4, 14-7-1 CCHA) fell into third place while the RedHawks leap-frogged both Michigan and idle Notre Dame into first place. Miami began the night only a point behind second-place Michigan after Friday night's 4-2 win in the series opener.
Michigan will try and get back on track next weekend with a home series against Ohio State.
The Wolverines played from behind all night. Despite out-shooting Miami by a 13-7 margin in the first period, Michigan fell into a 2-0 hole.
Reilly Smith scored both of the RedHawks' goals in the opening 20 minutes, first scoring on a wrap-around goal into an empty net after Michigan goalie Shawn Hunwick slipped while trying to recover.
Michigan's defense didn't do Hunwick any favors, failing to defend Smith on a rebound chance after Hunwick made the initial save on Andy Miele's shot attempt. But with Hunwick again out out of position, Smith had an easy put-back, giving Miami a 2-0 lead with just less than 5 minutes to play in the opening period.
Miami closed the win out in the second period on Pat Cannone's goal with the RedHawks skating with a two-man advantage. For Miami, which started the weekend out of the NCAA Tournament picture, back-to-back wins over the Wolverines could prove to be huge.
"I think it was a closer game than the score. The puck wasn't going in for us," Berenson said. "They got two five-on-five goals and one five-on-three goal. They're a good team. They're playing at home and they're playing desperate. We didn't play well enough to overcome that especially when we get down by two goals."
Michigan's offense never got on track, registering only 10 shots over the final two periods. The Wolverines - who lost for the second straight Saturday night - have now scored three goals in their last three games.
Saturday's loss was the first time since Nov. 5 the Wolverines have been shut out and the first time in a year they have lost three straight games.
With six regular-season games left, Michigan is still has a league championship within reach. The Wolverines play their next four games at home with series against Ohio State and Western Michigan before wrapping up the regular season on the road at Northern Michigan.
Michigan is now a point back of second-place Notre Dame and two points behind Miami, which hosts Western Michigan next weekend.
If Michigan is going to change its ways, captain Carl Hagelin said it has to be a team effort.
"(We have to) be positive, but we need to be more humble," Hagelin said. "We have to make sure that everyone is doing the right thing in practice - defense first. I do think we focused a bit more on defense this weekend than, for example, Alaska. But then we found a way to score in those games.
"(We have to) make sure on all the small things and all the details to play simple hockey. That's what we do when we play our best. Everyone has to chip in."