ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Trailing 2-1 after two periods, the No. 3 Miami hockey team scored three unanswered third-period goals en route to a 4-3 victory over No. 6 Michigan Saturday night at Yost Ice Arena, earning a weekend split. The victory was just the sixth in program history for Miami (4-1-1, 1-1-0-0 CCHA) in 53 games at Michigan (3-2-0, 1-1-0-0 CCHA).
Freshman goaltender Jay Williams made a career-high 37 saves to earn his third win of the year, as the RedHawks were outshot, 40-35. Sophomore Austin Czarnik dished out two assists, including on the game-winner by senior Curtis McKenzie, while freshman Riley Barber notched a goal and an assist.
The Wolverines nearly scored in the opening minute but Williams made a tough kick save off the toe of his skate robbing A.J. Treais of a goal on a Michigan 2-on-1 rush.
The RedHawks then seized momentum and for the second straight night scored first as Barber notched his fourth goal of the year 3:44 into the game. Czarnik gathered the puck in mid-ice and fed Barber on the right side, where he deked a Wolverine defender with fancy stick-work and beat UM netminder Jared Rutledge glove side for a 1-0 RedHawk lead.
The Wolverines pulled even with 3:33 remaining in the opening period. After Williams made a kick save, Derek DeBlois grabbed the rebound along the boards and fed a cross-ice pass through the Miami defense to Travis Lynch, who was camped at the far-post for the one-timer tap-in to make it a 1-1 contest.
Both teams had chances on the power play, but neither team could score. Miami went 0-for-2 a man up in the first frame while the Wolverines failed to score on their lone man advantage as the teams went into the first intermission even at 1-1.
Miami applied good pressure to start the second as senior Marc Hagel had a point-blank chance early in middle period but Rutledge made a shoulder save. The game was fast-paced, end-to-end for the next several minutes. After Miami just missed a one-timer in front of the net, the Wolverines countered with a 2-on-1 rush the other way. Lynch carried the puck into the offensive zone and dished to Alex Guptill, who beat Williams top-shelf for a 2-1 Michigan lead 9:10 into the second stanza.
The RedHawks continued to attack as Czarnik fired two more close-range shots but couldn't beat Rutledge. With time winding down in the second period, the teams skated 4-on-4 and Miami again had opportunities in front of net courtesy of sophomore Cody Murphy but the second period ended with UM clinging to a 2-1 advantage.
Freshman Alex Gacek tied the game for Miami just 3:48 into the third frame. Classmate Kevin Morris won a faceoff in the offensive zone back to Gacek, who quickly fluttered a shot on goal and it beat Rutledge for his first career goal and point to make it a 2-2 contest.
The RedHawks then snatched control with two goals in a span of 18 seconds. First, sophomore Jimmy Mullin gloved a clear attempt by Michigan just inside the blue line and quickly dropped it to himself. He skated along the boards and worked his way toward net, getting inside the Michigan defense and slamming it past Rutledge to give Miami the lead on his first score of the year 6:11 into the final frame. On the goal, the Wolverines were whistled for holding giving the 'Hawks a power play. On the man advantage, Czarnik made a perfect two-line pass down the middle to McKenzie, who was alone on the blue line. He then skated in on a breakaway and beat Rutledge back-hand, top-shelf to give Miami a 4-2 lead with his first tally of the year.
The Wolverines did not go quietly however, turning up the pressure in the closing minutes. Lindsay Sparks scored off a feed from Mac Bennett with 2:05 remaining to cut their deficit to one. With 51 seconds on the clock, Michigan pulled Rutledge for the extra skater and kept the puck in the offensive zone the remainder of regulation but the RedHawks hustled blocking four shots while Williams made two saves to close out the 4-3 win.
Miami finished 1-for-5 on the power play while denying the Wolverines on both of their power play opportunities. Rutledge totaled 31 saves in defeat.
The RedHawks remain on the road next weekend, facing No. 18 Ferris State Friday and Saturday at Ewigleben Ice Arena in a two-game CCHA series. Both games are set for 7:05 p.m.