OXFORD, Ohio – A fast start and a lethal power play paced the No. 5/6 Miami hockey team to a 5-2 win over Canisius at Steve Cady Arena on Saturday.
A sellout crowd of 3,031 witnessed the RedHawks (5-2-1) put the finishing touches on a weekend sweep of the Golden Griffins (1-3). Austin Czarnik (2g, 1a) and Blake Coleman (3a) finished with three points apiece in the win.
MU cracked the scoreboard early thanks to its power play. Czarnik netted his fourth of the year when he found a crack in the defense from his own blue line, worked through the defense and beat Tony Capobianco with a deke and a backhand. The junior picked a corner with his backhand to put the RedHawks up 1-0. Riley Barber and Coleman assisted on the tally.
Canisius was undeterred by the deficit and scored a power play goal of its own for its first tally of the weekend. Ben Danford evened the score when he got free in the slot and fired a shot in to even the score at one apiece with 7:45 left in the first period.
MU didn’t bat an eyelash at CC tying the score and moved back in front for good 10 seconds later. After Coleman won the ensuing faceoff, the RedHawks raced towards the opposing goal and Alex Gacek crashed the goal mouth to chip in a rebound for his first goal of the year. Coleman and Anthony Louis each earned assists on the go-ahead goal.
The Red and White weren’t done yet as Louis cashed in on a transition rush with 1:14 left in the first. After Jay Williams left the puck for Coleman, the junior moved down the right wing side and created an odd-man rush and finally found Louis cutting towards the net. The freshman didn’t miss, knocking home his third goal of the season. His tally capped the scoring in the opening period, one that saw the RedHawks outshoot the Golden Griffins 18-5.
MU’s power play struck again at the 1:44 mark of the second period. Jimmy Mullin the recipient of a nice pass by Czarnik that hit his stick in stride with a step on the Golden Griffins’ defense. The junior moved in towards the net with a clear path and buried his first goal of the season. That was the lone tally of the second, a 20-minute frame that saw MU again finish with an edge in shots (14-11).
The Golden Griffins’ power play gave it a chance to entertain a comeback bid in the first minute of the third. After the RedHawks took a penalty 31 seconds in, Kyle Gibbons’ shot from above the high slot found its way through traffic and into the net 16-seconds later to cut Miami’s lead to 4-2.
CC drew another MU penalty less than a minute later, but the Red and White penalty kill was up to the task. Kevin Morris blocked a couple shot attempts and the RedHawks did not allow a shot on goal in a strong defensive sequence.
With CC still within two goals, MU ended its scoring the way it began, with the play of its captain. After Coleman’s attempt from in close was stopped, the hustle of Riley Barber and Cody Murphy kept the Golden Griffins from clearing the zone. Czarnik pounced on the loose puck and weaved his way through the CC penalty killing unit before scoring right above the crease for his second goal of the night. Barber and Murphy assisted on MU’s third power play goal of the evening.
The RedHawks outshot the Golden Griffins 45-25 with Coleman and Czarnik firing seven apiece. MU also finished 3-for-7 on the power play and killed 5-of-7 CC chances with the man advantage.
Williams contributed at both ends of the rink as he assisted on Louis’ game-winning goal while also stopping 23 of 25 shots for his second win of the season.
The RedHawks jump back into conference play with a trip to St. Cloud State next weekend. Game one is on Friday at 8:37 p.m.