OXFORD — The Miami RedHawks played some of their best hockey of the season, against the highest-ranked opponent on their schedule, on the same weekend they honored the man who was instrumental in getting the program started.
Miami battled with No. 2 North Dakota, falling 5-4 in overtime on Friday and 4-1 in front of a sellout crowd on Saturday in Steve Cady Arena at the Goggin Ice Center.
The RedHawks celebrated former coach Steve Cady’s involvement at the university — specifically with hockey — with a gritty two-game performance against one of the top teams in the nation.
“I’ll take that effort all day,” RedHawks fifth-year coach Chris Bergeron said. “That’s what we need. I wish we were a little more opportunistic around the other team’s net. Full marks to North Dakota.
“But I thought our effort was really good. I thought we went toe-to-toe with one of the best teams — if not the best team — in the league, in the country over the course of two games.”
The Fighting Hawks are 15-1-1 in the last 17 meetings against the RedHawks. North Dakota defeated Miami 6-4 and 5-1 in November in Grand Forks.
“The two games at North Dakota were not like that,” Bergeron said.
The RedHawks have lost six straight and are 7-17-2 overall, 1-14-1 in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.
Albin Nilsson, who has made a noticeable impact after recently returning from an injury, crashed the net and scored on a power play in the second period to give Miami its lone goal on Saturday. PJ Fletcher and John Waldron collected the assists.
“That’s where you score the most goals,” Nilsson said of his goal that pulled the RedHawks to within 2-1. “The dirty area is in front of that. It’s something we’ve been working on for the entire team throughout the past three weeks.
“Unfortunately, today we couldn’t get more than one goal. But I believe in this team. We have it in us. If we just stick to what we do and keep fighting, I think we’ll have momentum going into the last 10 games.”
Logan Britt scored two goals for North Dakota, which moved to 20-6-2, 11-4-1 NCHC.
On Friday, the RedHawks led 1-0 and 4-2 before the Fighting Hawks came back both times. North Dakota scored with under a minute left to play in regulation to force overtime.
The Fighting Hawks closed it out on Jackson Blake’s game-winning goal.
“The past four games is what we want to do,” Nilsson said. “We want to fight. We want to keep building on what we believe in, and get pucks into the net.”
HONORING A LEGEND
The RedHawks honored Steve “Coach” Cady, who recently retired from the university after 48 years, in the arena bearing his name Saturday night.
Cady was one of the main forces behind the growth of hockey at Miami in 1976 and has been synonymous with the program to this day.
“I met Coach Cady in 1989. He’s been part of my life ever since,” Bergeron said. “He’s been part of so many people’s lives. It was a great celebration for him — 40-something years of Miami service.“Miami hockey at this level doesn’t exist without Steve Cady.”
Cady served as senior associate athletic director beginning in 1998 and was elevated to the position of assistant vice president for finance and business that same year.
He served as the head coach of the Miami hockey team for nine seasons — including its first seven years of varsity status from 1978-1985 — while also serving as head coach of the men’s soccer program from 1978-1980.
Cady compiled a 121-126-11 record in seven varsity years of ice hockey and a career mark of 157-147-12, while taking the program to the Central Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs in 1983 and 1985.
Bergeron said 85 hockey alums were in attendance to join Saturday’s festivities.
“I joked with some of them before the game,” Bergeron said. “I think at the time, some of them didn’t realize how much of an impact he was making because he sometimes carried a big stick — figuratively — and was demanding. As he should have been.
“They now know what he meant to them, and what he was trying to do was to get them to be the best version of themselves. That’s what it’s all about.”
Cady was recognized for his hard work and dedication in bringing college hockey to Southwest Ohio by receiving numerous awards and recognitions.
Steve Cady Arena at the Goggin Ice Center opened in July 2006.
HOME, SWEET HOME
Miami finished up the first series of a four-game homestand and will host St. Cloud State next weekend.
The RedHawks saw their largest sell-out crowd of 3,101 at Cady Arena on Saturday since Nov. 12, 2021.