OXFORD, Ohio -- There was a lot to dissect in the University of North Dakota's 4-4 tie with Miami in Goggin Ice Center on Friday night, Jan. 17.
You could start with UND giving up a goal in the opening 65 seconds of the weekend for the third Friday in a row or the fact that the Fighting Hawks trailed by two goals just 89 seconds in.
You could continue with the goaltending questions after sophomore starter Adam Scheel was lifted for Peter Thome after 20 minutes. Scheel, who was pulled one time all of last season, has been yanked twice in the last eight days.
You could look into the continued brilliant season of Jordan Kawaguchi, who added another goal and two primary assists to his National Collegiate Hockey Conference-leading point total of 33.
There's also the way UND rallied from down two goals to pull out a tie, despite not having two of their best players in the lineup -- Shane Pinto, who was serving a one-game suspension for an illegal hit, and captain Colton Poolman, who didn't make the trip.
There was Grant Mismash scoring the shootout winner and Thome denying Miami's two attempts to hand UND an extra point in the standings.
And, of course, there was that strange play in the final 30 seconds of regulation where UND junior Collin Adams scored an apparent go-ahead goal, but it was waived off due to a high stick. The play -- which involved a shot grazing the stick blade of Adams, bouncing off his body, deflecting off of the stick of a Miami defender and trickling into the net -- was so uncommon that even some members of coaching staffs were sent digging through the NCAA rulebook.
In the end, NCHC officials Sterling Egan and Joe Sullivan made the correct call to disallow the goal. According to Rule 87 A.R. 6: "A1 deflects the puck above four feet when contact is made with A1's stick. The puck then deflects off B1 and enters Team B's goal. Ruling: The goal should be disallowed."
So, UND was left to digest a roller coaster of a tie with the RedHawks, who used four-point nights from linemates Casey Gilling (two goals, two assists) and Karch Bachman (four assists) to grab a point from No. 1-ranked UND.
In addition to three-point games from Kawaguchi and defenseman Matt Kiersted (three assists), UND also received goals from Westin Michaud, Mismash and Cole Smith.
UND moved to 17-2-3 overall and 8-1-2 in NCHC play, where the Fighting Hawks remained in first place, five points ahead of Minnesota Duluth. Miami moved to 6-11-4 and 3-6-1, sitting in a fifth-place tie.
"A slow start is a common theme for the past three weekends," Kiersted said. "You know, we're saying all the right things. We're saying that we have to come out better. We have to start doing it and I think we'll see that tomorrow."
UND and Miami conclude their two-game series at 6:05 p.m. Central on Saturday.
There will be a lot of question marks for UND, including who starts in net. Scheel has started all 22 games this season for the Fighting Hawks, but his numbers have dipped since Christmas break. Before break, Scheel had a .927 save percentage and a 1.56 goals-against average. In the five games since break, Scheel has a .810 save percentage and a 3.10 goals-against average.
Thome, a junior, has a .909 save percentage in just over 70 minutes of ice time this season.
"We're going to sit here a little bit, watch video here a little bit," UND coach Brad Berry said. "But, you know, it's one of those things here, where Peter put himself in pretty good position to get a start, but we've got to look at the game film here a little bit, then we'll make a decision here later tonight."
UND's defenders also made some costly mistakes that led to goals.
Miami's first goal came off of an Ethan Frisch turnover in the defensive zone. The third goal came after a puck hopped over the stick of Andrew Peski in the neutral zone, starting a two-on-one rush that Gilling finished.
The Fighting Hawks battled back, starting by clamping down defensively.
They gave up eight shots on goal during the first 20 minutes of the game. They allowed just seven shots on goal in the second and third periods combined.
"I think we started slow," Adams said. "We gave up two quick ones. But we responded to that very well and battled back."
UND grabbed its first lead of the game with just 4:08 left in the third period, when Smith buried a Gavin Hain feed. It appeared like that could be the winner. But Jasper Weatherby was called for tripping just 60 seconds later and the RedHawks capitalized on their fifth power-play chance of the game, when John Sladic threw a no-look backhand five-hole on Thome.
The Fighting Hawks, who extended their road unbeaten streak to six games, will get Pinto back in the lineup for the series finale. But Berry is more concerned about other things.
"The biggest thing is the first five minutes," Berry said. "It hasn't been a trend of a tendency other than the last few games, starting the second half of the season. And we have to make sure we have our first-half-of-the-season mentality of starting games and not chasing games. It's one of those things where we have to get better at. Our guys know it. We have to make a commitment to be accountable to each other going forward."
UND 4, Miami 4
UND gets extra point with shootout win
First period -- 1. MIA, Casey Gilling 6 (Karch Bachman 13) 1:03; 2. MIA, Gordie Green 10 (Bachman 14, Gilling 12) 1:29; 3. UND, Westin Michaud 9 (Jordan Kawaguchi 21, Matt Kiersted 13) 15:47 (pp); 4. MIA, Gilling 7 (Bachman 15, Rourke Russell 6) 17:10; 5. UND, Grant Mismash 7 (Kawaguchi 22, Kiersted 14) 17:27
Second period -- 6. UND, Kawaguchi 11 (Kiersted 15, Jacob Bernard-Docker 12) 7:23 (pp)
Third period -- 7. UND, Cole Smith 8 (Gavin Hain 7); 8. MIA, John Sladic 6 (Gilling 13, Bachman 16) 17:26 (pp)
Overtime -- No scoring
3x3 overtime -- No scoring
Shootout -- Kawaguchi, UND, saved; Green, MIA, saved; Mismash, UND, goal; Bachman, MIA, saved
Penalties -- Jack Clement, MIA, tripping, 2:20 first; Andrew Sinard, MIA, tripping, 15:23 first; Monte Graham, MIA, slashing, 5:44 second; Green, MIA, holding, 6:35 second; Kiersted, UND, hooking, 7:38 second; Cole Smith, UND, slashing, :49 third; Kiersted, UND, roughing, 5:40 third; Jasper Weatherby, UND, tripping, 16:52 third; Weatherby, UND, goaltender interference, 2:28 overtime
Goalie saves -- UND: Adam Scheel 5-x-x -- 5 (3 GA); Peter Thome x-4-2-1 -- 7 (1 GA); MIA: Ryan Larkin 7-11-11-4 -- 33
Penalties-minutes -- UND 5-10, MIA 4-8
Power plays -- UND 1-4, MIA 1-5
Referees -- Sterling Egan and Joe Sullivan
Linesmen -- Eric Frank and Joe Hutek