Normally, it's arguable the first goal in a game carries a bit of significance. Obviously, there are instances where it doesn't matter at all, but more often than not it sets a tone and has an impact on how the game flows from there.
Consider this: UMD is 15-4-2 when scoring first this season. Only once, Feb. 5 here against Colorado College, has UMD overcome giving up the first goal in a game to win (5-3 that night).
Obviously, this stat is wrought with problems. Like Friday, when UMD fell behind 4-2 through 40 minutes in a game where it actually scored first.
But on this night, as we approach 24 hours since Miami went from a 1-0 series lead the the precipice of doom in 20 hockey minutes, the first goal could mean everything.
If UMD can get off to a good start in this game, there's a chance the Bulldogs bury the game early and make their way to Target Center for the NCHC Frozen Faceoff on Friday. If Miami hangs around, a prideful group that includes some talented and hard-working seniors (personally, I'm a big fan of Sean Kuraly and can't wait to see what he does in pro hockey, and I've always liked defenseman Matthew Caito's game) could very easily bring us back here for a deciding game Sunday night.
(Also impressive for the RedHawks on Friday were Anthony Louis and Jack Roslovic. The latter didn't get on the scoresheet, but I felt it was the best he has played against UMD this season.)
For both teams, Friday night was a microcosm of the season to this point. Miami started slow, got hot in the second period, and couldn't get anything going in the third. UMD started well, had a poor second period (too many turnovers, missed coverages, and a glaring missed clear on the PK that led to Louie Belpedio's goal that made it 4-2), and came on like gangbusters in the third, especially after Kasimir Kaskisuo stoned Anthony Louis on a short-handed breakaway to jumpstart the rush that led to Adam Johnson's goal. That cut the lead to one and the rally was on from there.
So far, UMD hasn't run out of time after a slow start to the season. The Bulldogs didn't run out of time Friday. Is this the night Miami's time runs out?
(If not, we'll see ya Sunday night.)
Iafallo - Toninato - Johnson
Farley - Cameranesi - Kuhlman
Osterberg - Thomas - Mackay
Sampair - Decowski - Young (Austyn)
Welinski - Pionk
Soucy - Raskob
Corrin - Kotyk
Kaskisuo - McNeely - Deery
Lemirande - Siroky - Schmit
Morris - Greenberg - LaValle
Sherwood - Kuraly - Roslovic
Louis - Melnick - Gacek
Caito - Joyaux
Hutton - Richart
Dornbrock - Belpedio
Williams - McCarthy