With the game still scoreless, the Michigan hockey team came out of the locker room to start the second period with 1:06 remaining on a power play.
By the end of the penalty, Miami’s Nathan Davis had scored, to put the Wolverines behind, where they would stay for the remainder of Friday night’s 4-1 loss to the ninth-ranked RedHawks at Yost Ice Arena.
Coming off a 6-3 win over the RedHawks Thursday night, No. 5 Michigan (1-1-0 CCHA, 3-1-0 overall) hoped to make a statement by completing a sweep of the defending conference champions. Instead, the RedHawks sent a message on Friday night, beating Michigan in nearly every facet of the game.
“(Miami was) a different team tonight (than Thursday), and we have to be honest about Michigan – we were a different team,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “We didn’t come out with the fire that we needed to, and they did.”
Later he added: “We weren’t going to beat anyone with that effort tonight.”
The RedHawks (1-1-0, 4-2-0) beat the Wolverines to loose pucks, against the boards and on special teams. Miami’s penalty killers out-shot and out-scored (2-1) the Michigan power play and controlled the pace of play whenever the Wolverines had a man-advantage.
At even strength, the RedHawks kept the pressure on the Michigan defense, preventing the breakaway opportunities that propelled the Wolverines victory on Thursday night.
“We got out-worked out there,” senior captain Matt Hunwick said. “We got out-hustled, people were out-muscling us all over the place.”
Senior Tim Cook said that his team did not come out with the desire or mentality needed to complete the sweep of Miami.
“Everyone – myself included – has got to make that mental decision that we are not going to get out-worked, that we are going to battle through it, that we are going to be the hardest working guys on the ice, that we are going to get every loose puck,” senior Tim Cook said. “If we make those decisions, we’ll be good.”
The Wolverines didn’t make those commitments on Friday night. After Davis gave Miami the lead, RedHawk defender Alec Martinez delivered the eventual game-winner when a shot from the point passed a screened Michigan goalie Billy Sauer. Almost two minutes later, Davis scored his second goal of the night, poking a rebound into the net.
Following consecutive hat tricks in Michigan’s two previous games, forward Chad Kolarik had a golden opportunity to put Michigan on the board in the second period.
Taking a loose puck in the neutral zone, Kolarik and linemate Andrew Cogliano skated towards Miami goalie Jeff Zatkoff on a two-on-none breakaway, but Kolarik’s shot sailed over the net.
Davis completed his hat trick more than halfway through the third period with his second short-handed tally of the evening.
After Michigan failed to keep the puck in Miami’s zone, Davis took the loose puck on a breakaway and put it through Sauer’s five-hole for Miami’s final score.
Michigan got on the board with a power-play goal late in third when senior T.J. Hensick found defenseman Jack Johnson for a one-timer.