ESTERO, Fla. – Maine Coach Tim Whitehead said his team is used to having travel issues when making the annual trip south for the Florida College Hockey Classic. With the way his team played against No. 6 Miami of Ohio on Wednesday night, Whitehead might want to play up the jet-lag excuse in the future.

The No. 8 Black Bears fell 4-1 to the RedHawks and are now just 2-4-1 in their last seven games after opening the season 6-1-3.

“I was really impressed with (the RedHawks) at all three positions,” Whitehead said. “They’re an elite team and they showed why tonight. They outplayed us in every aspect of the game.”

The game couldn’t have started much worse for Maine, which just couldn’t seem to get a handle on the puck in the first two periods. In the first period, Maine attempted five shots, four on target. Miami goalie Cody Richard turned away all four.

The RedHawks were clearly the aggressor in the opening period, firing 17 shots on goal. Maine goalie Dan Sullivan did his best to keep Miami off the board, but a charging Justin Vaive converted a terrific chance into the game’s first goal at the 19:11 mark. Vaive was set up beautifully by defenseman Cameron Schilling.

“It just seemed like they were one step ahead of us,” Whitehead said. “Our conditioning level clearly isn’t where it needs to be, that’s obvious. You’d think guys could keep themselves in shape over the break but that isn’t the case. We really have some hard practices ahead of ourselves next week.”

Just 45 seconds earlier the Black Bears squandered their best scoring chance of the opening period. Forward Jon Swavely stole the puck near center ice and led a 2-on-1 break with Theo Anderson. After baiting the Miami defender, Swavely put the puck right in front of Anderson, who mishandled the pass and kicked it away.

Things didn’t get much better in the second as Miami once again dictated play.

RedHawks alternate captain Andy Miele got loose on a breakaway and beat Sullivan one on one to give his team a 2-0 lead at 12:47. Maine never really put pressure on Richard in the second, even with 51 seconds of a 5-on-3 power play early in the period. The Black Bears attempted just one shot during the power play.

Miami padded its lead at 3:22 of the third period when Miele scored again. The two goals give him 33 points (10 goals, 23 assists) on the season, which trails only teammate Carter Camper for tops in the country.

“Momentum is a funny thing,” Miami Coach Enrico Blasi said. “Once we got that first goal, our guys felt pretty good and they did a good job of sustaining things.”

the time the Black Bears finally started to show signs of life in the third period, first in a four-man scuffle and then by scoring a goal, there just wasn’t enough time to come back against a team of Miami’s caliber. Maine’s only goal of the game came when Robby Dee took a pass from Gustav Nyquist and fired it by Richard at 7:50. Miami added a late goal for the 4-1 margin.

Maine will play in the third-place game today at 4:05 against Cornell, which lost 4-3 in overtime to St. Cloud State. Miami will play St. Cloud State in the final at 7:35 p.m.